Tales from the Pitch

Understanding the Goal Kick


a MoneyGuild article

Goal kicks happen whenever a goal is scored during a game of Guild Ball. It is how the ball is returned to play. it presents an opportunity for setting up a snap back goal, putting the ball somewhere safe away from your opponent, or potentially a chance for things to go horribly wrong and allow your opponent to make another quick goal. One important question that needs to be answered to assess the risk involved is where is it best to play the kick so that it lands on your model.

Finding the best goal kick location

To find the best position of the ball relative to your target model we are going to use a method called Monte Carlo. We will simulate goal kicks and keep track of when the ball successfully is snapped by the target model. Specifically our procedure will be the following steps:

  1. Randomly place a model between six inches to left or right of the ball and up to six inches ahead of the ball.
  2. Perform a kick scatter of the ball
  3. If the final position of the ball is within one inch of the model, record the target model's position and that the kick was successfully snapped.

If we perform the above procedure many times over (in this case 10 million) we can generate a heat map and identify the most likely position to receive the ball on a goal kick.

Heat map of successful goal kick locations

Looking at this heat map we can see the best place to place the ball is approximately 2.5 inches to the left or right of our target model, and approximately 3 inches behind it. In this case we are measuring from the center of the ball to the center of the model rather than edge to edge as usual in Guild Ball.

So how likely are we to get the ball onto the target model? We can reuse the same procedure to estimate the likelihood. We simply replace the random positioning of the target model with the fixed position estimated above. Doing so we find out we successfully place the ball on our target model approximately 33% of the time.

So, in summary, the best place to place the ball relative to your target is 2.5 inches to the left or right, and 3 inches behind them, and roughly 33% of the time it will land on your target. With this we can now decide on when we want to kick towards our model, or possibly kick the ball away somewhere else.


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