Virtual training workshop: “Learning R through modelling sports” (April 2021)

June 14, 2021


On Wednesday 21 April 2021, we were delighted to welcome a group of thirty undergrad and postgrad students – from 16 different universities – to our annual R training workshop. For the first time, the training event was run online via Teams, rather than face-to-face at Oxygen House, with the format also being condensed from two days down to four hours. As always, the goal of the workshop was to provide attendees with a solid introductory grounding in using R, viewed through the lens of sports modelling.

After a short introduction to the core features of the R language, attendees were guided through the process of developing a simple mathematical model to predict upcoming scores in the Premier League (see table below). They then went on to investigate the evolution of “in-running” point-by-point probabilities during the course of a live tennis match. Technical support was provided throughout by our five ATASS helpers, and attendees received a pack of follow-up activities to take away to support the next stage of their learning.

Following the workshop, we were delighted to receive some very positive feedback, with 87% of attendees strongly agreeing (and 13% agreeing) that they had “learned something useful from the workshop”.

Here is a brief selection of the comments we received:

“I love football and it was great to use RStudio with current Premier League data.” 

“Being able to see how R is used in a practical sense and being able to predict football scores was very interesting.”

“I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything, from the content and structure to the delivery and practice. Insightful and interesting, and it made R easy to pick up for a beginner as well.”

“A good amount of content was covered in the workshop, despite the time constraints. The atmosphere was relaxing and I always felt I could ask for help.”

“Tim was very engaging when he presented the material and the activities were very useful and fun to put the content into practice.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the workshop and only wished it had gone on longer. Thank you all so much for having me!”

“I thought this workshop was very insightful and interesting. I have gained a lot from it and really appreciate all of the effort put in by Tim and the rest of the team. Thank you for letting me take part and setting off my learning in RStudio.”

We hope to be able to run our usual in-person R training workshop at some point during 2022. Please keep an eye on this website over the coming months for further information.