In our previous article on stats and records we discussed the importance of keeping track of those numbers. In this post, we’re looking to give some more practical advice and provide some helpful resources. Every Christian school athletic program can improve their stat recording in some area. Evaluate your program and your teams. Are you making sure that progress, efforts, and achievements are being tracked?
Get the Job Done
As an AD at a tiny Christian school, I know it can be very difficult to track stats for every game that goes on in your program. You have limited people and/or resources to get the job done.
You still need to do your best to get the job of taking stats done. The person taking stats does not have to be a coach (although it would be great if they were). Here are some options:
- Parents: this can work if they are faithful attendees, however they may not be completely unbiased since their child is more than likely on the team.
- Student managers: at VBA we have a very well trained basketball statistician. However, most students at Christian schools with any sort of sports understanding are players so it can be hard to find somebody.
- Assistant coaches: this is ideal, since they are going to be at every game with you. They also should, theoretically, be unbiased and knowledgeable enough to get the job done.
- Video: some coaches video the game and then go back and track the stats themselves later. This is one way of making sure it gets done right, but it’s very time consuming. Why not just train somebody to keep stats?
The person taking stats doesn’t have to be a professional. They will get the hang of it after a couple of games. Do your best to train people to help you.
Don’t Inflate Stats
Nothing is more frustrating to your opponents or others in your league than when you inflate your teams’ stats.
Avoiding stat inflation is possible by setting concrete boundaries for what each stat means for all those that record stats for your teams.
For example, the assist in basketball can be very inflated. An assist -by our definitions- is given when a player creates a scoring opportunity for another player. By this we mean that the score happened as a direct result of the pass. If the player who scored takes more than one dribble, then it nullifies the assist.
By that definition, an assist is a very valuable and difficult basketball stat. If one of our players has 10 points and 6 assists that means that they worked very hard in sharing the ball and finding the open person.
Other teams give an assist to the person who passed the scorer the ball regardless of timing and positioning. This definition cheapens the meaning of an assist.
Define your statistics or else they will be inflated.
Be Consistent in Recording Stats
You want your stats to most accurately represent the abilities of your athletes and teams. In order to have the best stats, you need to be consistent in recording them.
Make sure that stats get taken for every game. Leaving games out can either inflate averages or deflate them.
Make sure the same categories get taken for every game. If you don’t have the same categories for each game then you won’t have accurate information as mention earlier.
Try to have the same person take stats for the same team all year. Even with the strictest definitions, some stats are judgment calls. Make sure you have the same judge presiding.
All in all, consistency seems to be what Christian schools struggle with the most.
Don’t Place Too Much Value in Vanity Stats
By this we mean, when evaluating your team don’t just look for your leading scorers.
Yes, points scored, kills, goals, yards, and hits are the most attractive stats. Yes, you can’t win games without those things getting done.
However, John Wooden said it best:
It takes ten hands to score a basket.”
Be sure to place true value and appreciation in the other things that actually make your team function at its best.
Join the 21st Century… Please!
There are so many great products out there to help you take stats efficiently and correctly.
If your school is not entering things into MaxPreps.com, then you should be. Why not?
MaxPreps makes it so easy to record and save stats for almost every season imaginable. They even have apps for Android and Apple products that will allow you to record stats and then upload them immediately to the MaxPreps database.
Also, it makes it easier for those outside your program to get information about your teams. College coaches, news media, and other community programs may want to keep an eye on your teams or players.
Another tool that can be valuable to those with the ability are programs like Krossover.
Krossover will take your basketball game film, watch it, record stats (like high level, advanced metric type stuff), break up your game footage, and send it back to you.
This sounds expensive, and it can be. But Krossover does offer many different packages to help fit different high school budgets.
There are other programs out there like Krossover, but they certainly seem to be the industry leader.
So, bottom line, evaluate your statistical program. Are you keeping accurate, consistent records? If not then try to identify areas where you can improve.