Statistics, Fact or Fiction

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Statistics, Fact or Fiction Written By Mike Adams

Trying to wrap my head around a few thoughts and my ADD kicks in. Rather than trying to stretch out a few thoughts into full out blogs, I thought I would just a give quick hit to something I have been thinking about

Stats. Our local paper recently posted top stats of players in baseball and softball. As I was looking through them I started thinking about what do stats really tell? Or even better, what does it NOT tell?

1. Does not tell accurate/consistent statistics

I have looked in several news publications and all have pointed out that the statistics presented are provided by the teams. If I sent to the publications that my player hit 1000 home runs, it would be printed 1000 home runs.

Most, not all teams, have a parent(s) recording stats. While this is very helpful, do we know that they are taking them correctly? Are they consistent between different people keeping books at different games?

2. Does not give a real picture of the player.

Example. Player A seems to always get into the game at a point where a sacrifice bunt(hit) is needed. That is (according to NCAA) not counted as an at-bat. So player A could be seen as having far less at-bats leading some to think they are not playing as much, where in reality they are very valuable.

3. Does not tell if the player is a consistent player.

All players have off days (even at the professional level). A Good coach realizes this and replaces them for the sake of the team and the player. (mainly you see pitchers and catchers, but any player could fit this bill) If the coach doesn't pull them, or can't because of roster, this single game came greatly push the statistics down. On the other hand, a player who is very inconstant and gets pulled before the stats can be lowered will hold a higher stat.

4. Does not tell how a player plays the game.

This is a big one. Softball is a TEAM sport. as such, no individual player wins or loses a game. I have seen/coached players that may not be the big scoring player, may not have been the big outs player, but was a true team captain and kept everyone in the game. Motivation is an important part of a team. and that stat cannot be a number. How a player plays when they are down cant be equated. Errors happen, as you have heard from me before, it is what happens after the error that is really important. That also isn't a Statistic.

5. Does not tell how tough the opponents are.

This goes both ways. Play in an easier league (for a given year) and you can end up with insane statistics. Have 3 of the top 10 state teams in your league and batting 300+ against them is pretty darn good! Fields also vary in conditions to depth. Errors occur more on an improperly kept field. More home runs occur in a 200ft field than a 225. Less steals are going to be successful on a soaked surface while drizzling (or in the case of my home state Michigan, snow) than a nice dry sunny day .

This is just a basic way of making a point. When scouting out players, going by statistics is the worst way to go. Can it give you a rough idea? sure, very rough. The only true way to see how good a player is is to watch that player in several games, in several situations.

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Mike AdamsMike Adams Mike has over 20 years coaching experience between Softball and Hockey. His passion is with coaching and seeing players grow. Creating drills to focus on specific skills is his forte and is often called upon from different coaches to create them. He is Highly ADD which makes for a different type of blog but the ADD keeps him more in touch with his child side. You can contact Mike through his email autox19@autox19.com

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