Good Statistics May Not Be Good… – Good, Bad, I’m the Guy with the Blog


imageI read a lot about baseball.I love the sport and it inevitably gets me thinking about coaching volleyball.So I was reading an article by Bill James, the godfather of modern sports statistical analysis and he made an interesting observation (paraphrased):

In baseball, all stats are basically counted the same, so that we presume assists are good, all runs are equal, and such, but they aren’t.In fact, sometimes good stat totals signal a team isn’t very good after all.

Teams that have a ton of double-plays are actually worse than teams with fewer DPs.Teams claiming they have a great catcher because of the number of caught stealing actually have a problem, the same as teams which talk about how great their OF are because of their assist totals.

Do you see why it’s a problem? As soon as he mentioned it, I realized it immediately.For those C and OF to tally counting stats, for a team to rack up double plays, it means the opposing team has runners on base, a necessary precursor for scoring.

It doesn’t mean they have good defense.

It means the pitching isn’t good or the defense is actually poor.

A second example–is it a sign of good defensive skill by a pitcher if he has a lot of putouts? No.It’s actually a sign that the 1B doesn’t have much speed or range–which is why the pitcher is forced to cover first more often.But–we consider putouts good (they are)…it’s just in this instance, the good stat is covering up a weakness.

(Now to the volleyball…that’s probably why you are here, right?)

If there are problems within baseball’s stats like this–what about volleyball.Where do we have stats that can be deceptive? I thought of some–if you have others… BY ALL MEANS , put them in the comments!!

Setter kills.Are they because no hitters were ready? Was the pass too tight and left no other option? A passer getting a ton of passes and passing at a high (2.00+ regular system) level? I created a better system …but it’s also flawed (working on that!) High dig total–great defense or crappy blocking–or ineffective offense since the opponent has so many opportunities to attack? High block totals–great blocking…or the opponent with so many hitting opportunities? A player has very few service errors.Is that good or are those serves not aggressive at all? Your setter is top 3 on your team in digs.

That’s bad…shouldn’t they be setting? See how what could look like good stats is actually not?

I love stats.I find them incredibly valuable–but they are a tool.Tools can be improperly used if not misunderstood.Common sense and the ‘eye test’ should not be discounted.

So think of your team.

Are you thinking you’ve got some good stuff going on–or are those stats hiding a flaw you need to work on?

And again–if you’ve got others that fit, please share them in the comments.

And–don’t be afraid to hit ‘follow’ to be notified of the blog’s posts as they come out (coaching is usually on Sundays…midweek stuff is a potpourri)

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Published June 18, 2023 Post navigation Previous Post Family Memory (XXXIII): 6/14/71 Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here…

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