Examining Conversion Rates

From most people’s experience playing and watching soccer, certain things seem to be truisms. You have to shoot in order to score. Shorter passes are easier than longer ones. One of these fundamental soccer truths is finishing ability. It’s a near universally held belief that some players are simply better at scoring than others. These players take the same chance that a lesser finisher would sail over the bar and tuck the ball into the far corner instead. However, it’s been proposed by some (see this article, for example, as well as Mike L. Goodman’s extremely thoughtful piece for a discussion of this) that finishing skill may not be as persistent a trait for a given player as intuition leads us to believe. I gathered some data [1] in the hope of exploring this question.

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