Match Charting Project: Update, Tutorial, Tracking, Tools

Since I announced the Match Charting Project last week, the response has been tremendous.  More than one thousand of you read the post, more than one hundred people downloaded the match charting spreadsheet, and several people have already charted matches, helping build what is already a very useful resource.

We’re nearing 100 charted matches.  Here’s the full list.  A couple of notable recent additions are this year’s Wimbledon men’s final (thanks Verity!), and the 2009 French Open match in which Soderling upset Nadal (thanks Amy!).

New spreadsheet version

I’ve added functionality to note serve-and-volley points, using the plus sign (“+”) after the serve notation.  (I’ve added a bit more detail in the instructions sheet to help explain it.)  It’s optional, but it would be very useful information to have, and if you want to track serve-and-volley attempts this way, you’ll need the newest version of the spreadsheet.  Download it by clicking on the link.

Match charting tutorial

To give you an idea of what match charting is all about, I recorded my screen while charting the first few games of a match.  While it’s not the most captivating entertainment, it demonstrates how I set up my screen, and it may help you make sense out of the notation system we’re using.

Tracking

Now that several of us are charting matches, I’ve started a google doc to help us keep track of who is charting what.  When you’re about to start charting a match, head over to the doc and “claim” the match (and make sure that no one else has).  Please only claim one match at a time–the idea here is to prevent duplication, not store everyone’s wishlist.

Charting tools

Here are some tips and tricks that might help you chart a little more effectively.

I find it more convenient to watch video files that are stored on my hard drive–that way, I can work without an internet connection, or survive a weak wireless connection.  You can download YouTube videos using KeepVid, and you can download videos from many other sites with Jaksta.

Once you’ve downloaded a video file, I highly recommend using mplayer to view them.  The killer feature here is that it allows you to speed up or slow down playback.  When you’re starting out, you might want to go as slow as 50% or 60%.  As you get better, you can speed up.  Another great mplayer feature for charting purposes is the ability to skip forward or backward ten seconds or one minute.  It’s a very effective way to rewind and watch a point again, if you missed it.  You can also quickly skip through changeovers, or even through long delays between points, if you’re charting that sort of player.

Finally, if you’re watching videos in fullscreen, you might want to try the 4t Tray Minimizer.  It allows you to pin any program on top, so for instance, if you want to watch TennisTV in fullscreen but keep the spreadsheet on top, it makes that possible.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please email me or leave them in the comments.  Thanks for all your interest so far!

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