What is the most important statistic in sport?
Clearly, it’s the FU-TU ratio. Forget goals scored, assists, tackles, missed tackles, meters gained, passes completed, rebounds, efficiency rating and any one of a hundred other stats. None of them hold a candle to the FU-TU ratio. Every coach on the planet needs to seriously consider the FU-TU rating of every player on his/her squad in every match.
Every player has a FU-TU rating. FU-TU ratios involve analysis. They involve consideration of grey areas. A bad FU-TU ratio may not mean you are off the team. Every team needs a balance of players likely to be low on the FU-TU scale as well as players high on the FU-TU scale. Both types of player are important. But woe be to the team that has an average FU-TU rating of around 1:2 across the entire squad!
Every athlete on every team!
Every athlete on every team fucks up sometimes (the F.U. statistic). Some fuck up lots… and some hardly ever fuck up. Fucking up isn’t, in itself, a bad thing. The most creative players, especially the play-makers in any team, fuck up quite a bit. Fucking up, for them, is part of what they do. If they weren’t fucking up they wouldn’t be trying things that challenge their opponent. Fucking up is not the problem. The problem arises when a player fucks up as often… or even more often… than when they get a thumbs-up (the T. U. stat) for their play.
This point is well illustrated in many basketball teams. Basketball teams are full of two-guards who like to think that they are point guards, but the coach mysteriously keeps slotting them back into the number two role for some reason. These players can’t understand how the coach cannot recognize their miraculous ball handling and passing skills (enabling lots of thumbs up opportunities) and it is a mystery to them as to why the coach won’t let them start in the play-making role. The reason why the coach tells them to leave that fancy stuff to the designated point guard is because the coach knows that they fuck up too often. For every miraculous play they pull off (a thumbs-up play), they turn the ball over with a miraculously dumb fuck up pass. Guards with bad FU-TU ratios are discouraged from running the team’s offence.
Need a nice balance
A good example of a coach using the FU-TU ratio well is the current coach of the Australian soccer team, Bert van Marwijt. Coach van Marwijt’s two defensive mid-fielders offer a nice balance. Aaron Mooy has a FU-TU ratio of around 1:4. He fucks up heaps, but for every single fuck up, he makes four scintillating plays that keep the team moving forward dangerously. Mile Jedinak, on the other hand, has a ratio of around 1:9. He hardly ever fucks up, but neither does he threaten the opposition with his expansive play much either. As a combination, they work well. One drives forward while the other conservatively watches the back like a bulldog. A good coach needs players who fuck up because they create the kind of thumbs up moments that result in goals. A good coach also needs players who don’t fuck up much at all because, while they may not drive the offense, they annoy the crap out of their opponents defensively.
Discussion about the Socceroos cannot be left without raising the problem that the coach has with the critical next game against Peru coming up. Robbie Kruse has been a starter in each of the world cup games so far. Kruse has plenty of critics in the soccer world, but the coach knows just how talented Kruse is. He may look like the kind of kid that always got picked last when captains were choosing teams for playground games of touch footy but, despite appearances, the bloke can play. Just when you are tearing your hair out wondering how he ever made the Australian team he either screams into an opening and pops up behind enemy lines to terrorize the opposition or slots the most sublimely crafted pass through a tiny gap to a forward making a run. Never doubt the talent that Kruse is capable of mustering. On a good day he has a fuck up to thumbs up ratio of around 1:3 (which is just fine for a forward) and lots of those thumbs up plays provide opportunities for goals. On the other hand, he also has more than his fair share of 1:1 ratio days. On a bad day he can fluff opportunities with the best of them.
Coach must decide
Van Marwijt must decide whether he wants to start the next game with a player capable of a 1:1 day or go for someone with plenty of zap but a bit more consistency. Keeping the slippery and fast Kruse on the bench to bring on as a strike player (when the team is desperate for a bit of his powerful eccentricity) may be a better use of his talents right now. Kruse is the kind of player I would always want on my squad but, for the next game anyway, his FU-TU ratio might suggest “super-sub” is the best role for him.