It’s All About the Blockers, Baby
This entry is the first of its kind on Coach’s Derblog.
I’ve been itching for more than half the season to track, organize, and analyze Blocker stats. I’ve been dying to add a new element to my vision of the game and to give credit where I think it should be given most often in this sport.
Coach has a new stats tracking system. Blockers, this one’s for you.
I found no greater motivation to do it than after the Championship bout last month. It was my desire to have comprehensive stats for AZDD’s first Banked Track Championship. I didn’t want to leave one angle of this awesome and important bout in AZDD history untouched.
It’s taken me over two weeks to organize all the numbers. Man, was it a pain in the ass at times, but I was determined. And, quite frankly, it was worth my time because I want to show some love to the most powerful skaters on the track. I know they’ve been frustrated and feeling left out on the Coach’s Derblog all season.
A few housekeeping points:
First, I have to show appreciation to Mr. Snakeyes, husband of LADD skater Suzy Snakeyes.
Lawless and I had the fortunate circumstance of running into them at the afterparty that celebrated the AZDD v. LADD exhibition bout back in June of this year in LA. After a few moments of chatting with him I realized we had something big in common: we both keep stats for our respective leagues. I had to ask him, “How do you keep stats for blockers?” He gave me his ear for a few moments, taught me his method for keeping Blocker stats, and provided me with the tools to see this game on whole new and different dimension. He probably won’t even remember the encounter, but nonetheless, he did something big for me, and as you’ll see, AZDD as a whole.
Second, thanks to Dolly de los Muertos and Vanessa Velocity.
If you read my blog entry, Jam On It, that broke down all the league’s Jammer stats, the last paragraphs of that entry mentions the hurdle I needed help getting over to keep Blocker stats. Dolly and VV were able to provide the assistance I needed after the Championship. They helped me identify the Blockers for every Jam in my dark and grainy bout video and in return I left them with a bit of a headache when we were done.
We already know how the bout ended and we know which Jammers stood above the rest. Now, its time too look at how the Blockers faired on both the Coffin Draggers and the Schoolyard Scrapper.
Looking at both team’s Blockers as a unit the Coffin Draggers held the Schoolyard Scrappers to a 34 pct. Lead Jam Percentage. The Scrappers’ Jammers were able to make it through the Draggers pack first only 14 times in the bout. On average, the Draggers’ Blockers gave up 1.97 ppj.
On the other side of the infield, the Scrappers’ Blockers allowed the Draggers’ Jammers to control the Lead Jam for 65 pct. of the bout. Out of 41 Jams, the Draggers’ were able to get their Jammer through the Plaid Curtain first 27 times. The Scrappers’ Blockers gave up 2.34 ppj. on the night.
I’ve maintained that Power Jams are more an exhibition of Blocker effectiveness. The quickness of your Jammers is secondary to that. Power Jams are where the Scrappers’ Blockers out shined the Draggers. Though the Scrappers gave the Draggers more Power Jam opportunities during the Championship, statistically, the Scrappers faired better in these single Jammer scenarios.
In Power Jams, the Scrappers’ Blockers gave up 29 points in Jam counts of 9, 5, 8, & 7. It’s impressive that they didn’t allow the Draggers to log a single double figure Power Jam and held the Draggers to a 7.25 ppPJ average.
Conversely, the Scrappers had 3 Power Jam opportunities of their own and during those instances the Draggers’ Blockers gave up 27 total points for Jam counts of 10, 10, & 7. Those two double figure Power Jams are indicative of the Scrappers’ Blockers getting their Jammer through two complete scoring passes. A 9 ppPJ average shows the Scrappers Blockers were able to free up their Jammer in the pack more effectively than the Draggers.
INDIVIDUAL BLOCKER STATISTICS!
Before I share the numbers, let me explain how the process works that got me to them.
The basic Blocker statistic is what’s called a Blocking Differential (BD). Its the difference between the points scored for and points scored against each team’s blocking line-up in a given Jam. Blocking is two-dimensional. Part of it is assisting your Jammer to score points; the other is blocking the other Jammer from scoring points. So coming up you’ll see why we have to have two sets of numbers working together.
For example, lets say Team A scored 4 points and Team B scored 0 points in a Jam that just ended.
Team A would finish that Jam with 4 points scored for and 0 points scored against. Team A’s Blockers would have a BD of +4. Team B would finish the Jam with 0 points scored for and 4 points scored against. Team B would have a BD of -4 for that Jam.
Each team’s BD will be assigned to each Blocker that team had in that Jam, much the same points are assigned to Jammers that scored them.
While this is an individual stat, its drawn from how the entire pack for each team performs as a unit in a Jam. So as you’ll deduce, a Blocker’s BD is somewhat dependent on how her teammates in that line-up perform as well.
The other variables that plays into this number are who the Jammers are on the track. Always keep this in mind. My personal philosophy is that its the Blockers that score points, the Jammers are just the one’s who run through the pack collecting them.
This statistic really hits home the philosophy that Blockers are more effective when they work together rather than individually. The more cohesive the pack, the higher the differential will be; the less cohesive the pack, the lower the differential will be.
Still working off the same scenario above, lets say the next Jam Blocker X from Team A lines up in finishes with 2 points scored for and 0 point scored against. That would give Blocker X a +2 BD for that Jam. And just to give us a three Jam sample, lets also say that in the next Jam Blocker X skates in ends with 0 points scored for and 3 points scored against giving her a BD of -3 for that Jam.
The next step is to add up all the points scored for and against Blocker X. In this three Jam sample, offensively Blocker X has Jams of 4, 2, & 0 points giving her a total of 6 points scored for. Defensively, Blocker X had Jams of 0, 0, & 3 points for a total of 3 points scored against.
Take total points for (6) and subtract total points against (3) and this will give you an overall BD (+3) for Blocker X.
After working the two sets of numbers together you get one overall stat, the Blocking Differential, similar to how you add up Jammer points and it gives you her overall point total. In the example above the overall BD was +3.
Just to be complete, lets consider that Team B has Blocker Y line up in all the same Jams mentioned above. Computing all the same numbers in the same manner would yield Blocker Y with a overall BD of -3.
Are you still with me? Good. ‘Cause there’s just a little more.
Like Jammer point totals, the Blocking Differential isn’t where it ends. Next, you look at my favorite numbers:
The Blocker Differential Per Jam (bdpj.) average is the Blocking equivalent of Jammer’s Points Per Jam (ppj.). It shows you how efficient a Blocker is from Jam to Jam.
The way you get to that number is easy. Just take the overall BD for a Blocker and divide it by the number of Jams the Blocker skated in.
In our scenario we’ve been working with, take Blocker X’s overall BD (+3) and divide it by the number of Jams she skated in (3) and that will give you her bdpj. (+1). On the other hand, Blocker Y will have a bdpj. of (-1).
What the bdpj. tells you is what effect that Blocker had in the Jams she skated in. Blocker X’s +1 bdpj. shows that in the line ups she was in, her line ups were scoring 1 more point on average than the other team. She was asssiting her Jammer in scoring points more often than she became one. Likewise, Blocker Y’s -1 bdpj. means her line ups were giving up points in the Jams she skated in more often than they were scoring.
I’ll admit, being that this is the first time I’ve taken these stats and had a chance to crunch them, I’m not completely certain how to analyze them. Additionally, this is only one bout, a single sample, so it can’t give me a complete picture of a Blocker’s ability, its limited only to this bout.
Nevertheless, I’ll give it my best shot. Here’s what I believe these numbers mean.
As a Blocker you definitely always want to have a BD and bdpj. that’s in the positive. It means your pack has the right balance of assisting your Jammer while offering resistance to the opposing one.
If you’re in the negative, you’re not doing your team any good. That means the line-ups you’re in are getting scored on more often than not. In reality, you’re becoming a Blocker that benefits the other team by offering them a guaranteed point when you’re on the track.
For the Championship Bout, I created a scale to gauge how efficient a Blocker is and the effect they had in the bout. Since there was a 15 point spread in the final score with the Draggers coming out on top, the overall differtial for the Draggers was +15 and the Scrappers -15. With 41 total jams in the bout that gives a bdpj. for each team of +.36 for the Draggers and -.36 for the Scrappers. That’s the range and my starting point.
Any Blocker whose bdpj. falls within the range of +.36 and -.36 is middle of the pack. This range is my zero. It didn’t hurt to have you in the line-up, but then again, it didn’t exactly help to have you in it either.
If a Blocker’s bdpj. is between +.37 and +.99 your presence was felt and you played a part in the success your line ups had while you were on the track. You were assisting in scoring more often than you were being scored on. The opposite applies if you were in the -.37 to -.99 range. You weren’t completely detrimental in the line ups you were in but you’re still not assisting in scoring sufficiently.
Finally, if a Blocker has a +1 or better bdpj., those are the big dogs. When Blockers in this range are on the track, their line ups are scoring, and they’re scoring one more point or more than the other team’s pack. If you win every Jam by one point, you’ll win the bout. Blockers with a +1 or above put their team in a good position to win. On the other hand, if you’re a -1 or lower, you should change your derby name to “Juana E-Z Point” because the line ups you’re in are getting score on more frequently.
And there you have it. I apologize to your brain.
Now lets take a look a real life example from the Championship Bout. I think it will bring everything together if you’re still unclear about something.
When I finished laying out all the numbers, one skater’s numbers made my eyes pop out of my head like a cartoon character. The top Blocker of the night was Venus Vendetta. Let me run you through her numbers.
Venus blocked in 16 Jams during the Championship. When she was on the track, her line ups scored 57 points for her team. As for points against……are you ready for this……11. That’s right. The Scrappers were only able to score 11 points when Venus was on the track. That’s an outstanding balance of scoring, and more importantly, DEFENSE.
Her line ups gave up the least amount of points for any full time Blocker. She also had the highest BD with +46. When she was in the blocking line up, her pack netted her team 46 points! She finished with a +2.87 bdpj. Her line ups were scoring almost 3 more points than the opposing blocking line up every jam. UN-REAL!!!
Here are a few finer details about Venus’ Blocking stats. In the first half of the bout, the Scrappers didn’t score a single point when she was in the line up. Her packs completely shut down the Scrappers’ Jammers and their Blockers in the first 24 minutes of the bout. Of the 16 Jams she skated in, the Scrapper were only successful in scoring on her line up in 4 Jams. Only two Jammers were able to score on her (Jenna Talls, who scored 8 points, and Goody Goody Blooddrop, who scored 3). This means half of the Scrappers’ Jamming crew was non-existent when Venus was on the track.
Nice work by the veteran and long-time Coffin Dragger. She had to sit out of regular season bouts because of a dislocated shoulder that decided to make its way out of its socket right before each bout started. Literally. During warm-ups. She rolled back with a vengance in the playoffs and in the Championship. Obviously.
I’m sure you wanna know how all the other Blockers performed. Before I lay it all out I made a distinction among the Blockers and you can see that by the two separate tables I’ve inserted. To be considered a Full Time (FT) Blocker, you have to had Blocked in 8 Jams or more. In order to give a honest gauge of a blockers true ability you must have an adequate sample. An adequate sample gives a more accurate measure of consistency. I used 8 as the starting point because in an average 40 Jam bout that means a Blocker skated in 20 pct. of the bout.
I’ve order them from top bdpj. on down. Ok, I’ll stop talking now. Here are all the numbers:
|Wendy O. Killems||17||44||28||+28||+0.94|
|Mia Pow Wow||6||16||2||+14||+2.33|
|Satan’s Little Helper||3||4||6||-2||-0.67|
|Kat Von Double Ds||14||34||31||+3||+0.21|
|Hot Head Lucy||19||44||45||-1||-0.05|
Good stuff, right?
I won’t say much about it. I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves. I’m just gonna let these marinate in your dome while I play with them a little. Perhaps I’ll have more to say since I have a new toy in these stats. Enjoy, and always remember:
Jammers win Bouts. Blockers win Championships.
Tags: Bad Betty, Border Jumper, Cannibelle Corpse, Craven A. Cadaver, Cruella DeMille, Dezperado, Dolly de Los Muertos, Ferris Bruizer, Frankie Fitz, Ginger Mortis, Hate'cha Face, Hilary Skank, Hot Head Lucy, Kat Von Double-Ds, Kimber Slice, Lex Mosh, Lora Stabs, Mia Pow Wow, Mink Stole, Mizz Nashty, Nurse Ratchet, Pretty Plz, Reese Killersoon, Rowdy Roulette, Satan's Little Helper, Scarlett Knockout, Vanessa Velocity, Venus Vendetta, Wendy O. Killems