HOW IMPORTANT IS STRENGTHENING A WEAKNESS? Anderson and Sally conclude that a soccer team’s performance is more affected by its weakest link than by its strongest. A soccer team should focus on reinforcing its poorest positions. This kind of question comes up a lot in other sports. Should an average college football team put its best athletes on defense? This is often recommended. (football coach Ara Parseghian: “”We put our best athletes on defense when I was coaching, whether they played there in high school or not.” quotation here). Is a star worth more than two good players? In basketball and baseball a cliche is that the team that gets the best player in a trade gets the better of the trade. In sabermetrics, the concept of WAR (wins above replacement player) seeks to provide a comparison for improving weaknesses versus adding a star. I have the impression that when baseball fans talk, the strengths of a team get more attention than the weaknesses.

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