Data, Diet and Better Set Pieces: Seeking Soccer’s Future

Now, of course, all those ideas have been embraced at clubs of far greater scale, of far richer history. Where Midtjylland has gone, Europe has generally followed. Danish academies train every day. The large bulk of teams throughout Europe are committing large resources to constructing groups of statisticians and analysts and physicists. Thomas Gronnemark, the throw-in coach, now works for Liverpool.That is the fate of the pioneer, naturally: Once the path has been blazed, everyone and anyone is free to follow it. Concepts created in Herning have actually been embraced and adapted and sometimes raised wholesale. All Midtjylland can do is what it has actually constantly done: attempt, as soon as again, to see what the future appearances like, so that everybody else might, as soon as again, follow.Low-Hanging FruitIn the days after the death of Diego Maradona, Ankersen found himself– thus lots of others– trawling through grainy video of the maestro at work. He would not have been alone in discovering that Maradona appeared to be a Technicolor player in a black-and-white world. “In those clips from the 80s and 90s, the game seems so sluggish,” he said.What is important, however, is that it did not seem that way at the time. “The coaches would have said that they could not train more, that they could not make the gamers get thinner or more athletic,” he said. It is a reminder, to him, of a kind of end-of-history illusion: how easily the existing variation of something– soccer, in this case– is assumed to be last, complete.Awareness of that illusion is baked into whatever Midtjylland does. “The first thing you have to remember is that success now does not imply success in the future,” stated Berg, the head of analysis. “We try to be innovative, but it is essential that you need to remain curious.”

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