IDENTIFYING THE ELUSIVE CONCEPT OF MOMENTUM IN SPORTS
While playing with the Driver Momentum chart I found myself changing the number of races from three to four to five and eventually all the way up to 18. I was watching Carl Edwards progress towards the top and comparing his total points scored to the other drivers around him.
Also interesting was the drivers that remained in the top-10 and which ones popped in and out.
In my head I hear Steve McClearn, my friend and former writer on my old Onebadwheel site, debunking the concept of momentum. Off to Google I went to search what inspiration I could find about momentum in sports and hopefully get some solid thoughts on how to recognize it.
I found one of the best articles I’ve read on the concept of momentum in sports.
BELIEF AND CONFIDENCE GOES A LONG WAY
I’ve long been a believer in positive thinking and the beneficial effect it has on many aspects of your life. I’ve seen it have an impact on job performance and advancement. I’m firmly in the camp that holds to the concept that NASCAR drivers can be ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ and very content to attribute it to confidence level and not just ‘luck’.
One of the main points of the above article is that a ‘precipitating event’ takes place, such as an interception or fumble recovery that literally ‘turns a team or player around’. Or, in NASCAR I think it can be a much needed good finish such as Clint Bowyer‘s this last weekend at Auto Club Speedway. Imagine the shift in confidence Clint must be feeling. Finally, a top-10 finish (7th) after finishing 35th, 15th, 27th and 17th for the season and jumping ahead seven spots in the standings!
Likewise, Jeff Burton moved four spots up in the standings after getting his first top-15 of the season. Notice his progressively better finishes: 36th, 26th, 21st, 20th, 15th. How does this affect his performance coming into a track like Martinsville Speedway where he has won before?
My point here is that although the numbers don’t show it right now, I am considering that both Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton can be included when looking at current driver momentum. It may be time to ‘buy them while they are low’ on a salary cap game.
Before wrapping up this thought of ‘precipitating events’ let’s consider a few more drivers:
- Brian Vickers just had his best finish in a year! His 8th at Auto Club Speedway last week is his best since he finished 6th at Martinsville (hmmmm…of all places) back on March 29, 2010.
- Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his streak of top-12 finishes for the fourth week in a row now. He has stated how much more ‘confident’ he is this year.
- Landon Cassill finds himself in the James Finch ride (not a start and park team) replacing Bill Elliott who opted to focus on working with his son. Cassill is coming off a 24th place finish at Auto Club Speedway last week. Landon has ‘something to prove’ and his confidence is building because of the positive changes in his career. You might want to try him in your low-tier driver group or as a super-cheap buy in a salary cap game as a way to invest more money in higher priced drivers.
SO, HOW ABOUT THEM STATS?
Alright, let’s look at some numbers.