Next-Gen Stats: Accuracy

As a darts fan and a numbers geek, I’ve often wished for more in-depth statistics than the traditional 3-dart average and success percentage on doubles. The PDC partnership with DartConnect seems like a step in the right direction as far as it goes. But even with the summary numbers DartConnect provides, I continue to believe there’s room for a new generation of statistics that can provide additional insight into a player’s skills and performance.

I’ve come up with a few ideas for what some of those new statistics might be. They’re all still in the early stages and I’m definitely open to suggestions. I’m going to be using the 2018 Premier League as a test to see how difficult it is to collect the raw data, and to determine whether any of the statistics hold up to scrutiny. The Premier League seems like a good place to start since there’s a small pool of players and it’s easy to watch the full matches later if I’m unable to catch them live.

My first question is: How can we measure a player’s accuracy?

In order to measure accuracy, I propose two basic statistics: Hit percentage (How often do they hit the exact target they’re aiming for?) and Miss percentage (How often do they throw wildly and completely miss their target?).

To be counted as a Hit, a dart must land in the exact section the player intended. If the player throws for T20, the only result that would count as a Hit is T20. A dart that lands outside the intended bed entirely or is a missed double to win a leg is counted as a Miss. If the player throws for T20 and hits S1, that would be counted as a Miss. With 32 remaining, S16 counts as a miss, even though it is still within the 16 bed. This is to capture the additional importance of checkouts. All other throws within the intended bed but outside of the exact target don’t count as a hit or a miss. If the player throws for T20 and hits S20, that dart isn’t credited as a Hit but it also is not penalized as a Miss.

The Hit percentage is simply calculated as the number of darts that are Hits divided by the total number of darts thrown. Similarly, the Miss percentage is the number of darts that were Missed divided by the total number of darts thrown.

I’m also thinking about how the Hit% and Miss% might best be combined into a single Accuracy Rating. A combination of the two percentages is also included below as a naive first attempt.

Here are the Hit% and Miss% results from the first week of the 2018 Premier League in Dublin:

MATCHPLAYERHIT%MISS%ACCURACYRESULT
1Suljovic44935L
1Whitlock50941W
2Anderson331914L
2Smith381226W
3Gurney411724D
3van Barneveld411130D
4van Gerwen43934W
4Cross421131L
5Wright401723D
5Price412021D

Of course this is a very small sample size and we can’t really draw any conclusions from just this one night of matches. But it’s interesting to see how the Hit and Miss percentages played out within these five matchups. Suljovic appears to have been unfortunate, as he was one of the most accurate players of the night but ran into Whitlock who was the most accurate of all based on these measures. And even though van Gerwen defeated Cross 7-2, there may not have been quite as much separating them in terms of accuracy as there was in the final score.

As for the Hit% and Miss% statistics themselves, I’m curious to find out which correlates more with winning over the long term (if any). Is it better to be more accurate (higher Hit%) or is it more important to be less inaccurate (lower Miss%)? Or does it turn out not to be significant either way?

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