Who are the best snooker players and what sets them apart from the rest?

Collingwood, James and Wright, Mike and Brooks, Roger (2022) Who are the best snooker players and what sets them apart from the rest? PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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Sports analysis is a growing area of research, but snooker has received limited attention, with no systematic analysis of the results or progression of snooker matches previously carried out. The first part of this research considers four different methods of quantifying the relative ability of professional snooker players. Models based on frames won and world ranking points earned are developed alongside two pairwise comparison models using formulations devised by Bradley-Terry and Elo. The predictive ability of the resultant player ratings is evaluated, with detailed analysis of the results produced to assess the relative strengths and limitations of the models. A recent change in the design of the World Championship qualifying rounds is modelled to determine the likely impact on players at different levels of the professional game. The second part of this research evaluates different measures of player performance. Post-match video analysis is used to record every shot played during 734 frames within 46 matches in two top-level professional tournaments. The statistics currently produced contain elements of subjectivity, which limits their reliability and availability. Alternative, objective measures are constructed which are shown to reflect the dynamic nature of the game more effectively and could theoretically be generated from the automated scoring system. Finally, a Monte Carlo simulation model of a snooker frame is developed based on the probability that a ball is potted on different shots, depending on the stage of the frame and the length of the player’s current visit. Simulated frames are shown to accurately reflect the progression of observed frames and examples are provided to show how the model could be used to evaluate the impact of alternative choices of shot. Scaling factors are introduced to demonstrate how different levels of player ability could be represented and what effect this has on the progression of a frame.

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Thesis (PhD)
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29 Jun 2022 08:55
Last Modified:
13 Mar 2024 00:08