Thursday, June 30, 2005
There are two “efficiency curves” that are relevant to playing time and role. One of them is how a player’s performance varies based on how much he’s put in. The other is how his performance varies based on how much he’s asked to do.
At the one extreme, it’s hard to be effective playing every 10th point. At the other, too much play leads to fatigue or pacing and a similar decrease in effectiveness. You want your team to be at a sweet spot where your stars play as much as they can without losing effectiveness while getting your role players enough time to be effective, while maintaining the flexibility to ride one or the other a little more due to a hot or cold hand or an injury.
The first graph shows what I’m guessing a typical curve is for a stud and a role player, and a replacement player. (You can think of the x axis as either “readiness” or “points played”.) I think the shape of the curve is about the same for everyone, with the exception that well-conditioned athletes won’t drop off as quickly with lots of play.
So, the question for subbers is, can you incorporate this model into your subbing scheme? How much does a player have to play in order to be near his peak effectiveness? How much is too much before you start to see fatigue-related errors? Have you experimented with designating some role players to “on” one game (maybe they’ll play 8 points) and “off” the next (0-2 points) instead of being half-on (5 points) for both? Do players rebel against this?
The other curve shows how a player can bear a load when he’s in. On offense, if a player’s full job was to cut for goals, he’d be more effective than if he also had to work the disc. On defense, a player might be able to prevent the third handler from doing a lot, but would be toasted by the star cutter.
A good role player will actually be better than the stud at the subordinate tasks like filling or clearing or reacting to the poach, but the reason that the stud is the stud is that he will be effective when it’s his job to be the first cutter or to break the mark or to cover the top cutter.
Anyway, I’m not really sure what you’re supposed to do with this, but I’ve been thinking about it and wanted to write it up, so there.