Many sports fans are admitted stat geeks. We love the numbers that flash across TV screens on all aspects player performance. We check the Internet to get even more of a stats fix. We cite batting averages of Hall-of-Famers from decades ago. And, ultimately, we can’t help but keep stats—even just mentally—of our kids on their youth sports teams.
Compiling statistics for a youth rec team must be done cautiously. The goal is to celebrate achievement and not to point out shortcomings, and not to emphasize that one player is doing better or worse than another. With that in mind, a stat tracker can be a wonderful tool for coaches, players, fans, and administrators. Furthermore, today’s mobile apps make keeping score a cinch. Here are some ways in which using a stat tracker keeps your team happy:
Highlights and lowlights
Game stats can be immediately used after a game to highlight individual performances, whether it’s a player who was perfect from the free-throw line or someone who finally got his first hit of the season. Team superlatives can also be tracked this way: “Guys, we didn’t let the other team get a first down in the second half!” Alternately, the statistics that showed how a team struggled during a game can also be charted. Again, for a rec team, you don’t want to single anyone out, so use overall team stats and stress how the players will work on improving upon this struggle at practice.
Progress Can Be Tracked
Statistics will accumulate throughout the season, thus showing how a team is progressing and, hopefully, improving. This is important for youth rec team players, who may not know if they really are getting better or not. Coaches and parents usually know, but even then, perception doesn’t always follow reality—you may think a player is becoming a better rebounder, but the stats may suggest it’s an area for her to work on. Granted, statistics aren’t everything—the player may be improving at boxing out even if the numbers show she isn’t garnering more rebounds—but they do give coaches an important point of reference. Team improvement may be more demonstrable by a stat tracker, which complements the effort coaches see from players during practice and games.
Follow the Game from Afar
Pro and college sports fans who can’t otherwise attend or watch their favorite team’s games often will track those contests via a website or app. With a stat tracker that league management software offers, this ability can be extended to youth rec sports leagues as well. As statistics from a youth rec game are entered into the app, the results can be accessed online in real time. This is a great feature for parents who are stuck at the office or are watching another child’s sport, as well as for grandparents who live out of town and wouldn’t otherwise be able to experience their grandchildren’s games.
Players Love Stats
As much as coaches and parents try to stress that game results aren’t important, kids—especially older kids (tweens and middle schoolers)—often are intensely interested in standings, tournament seedings, and, yes, their own game statistics. As long as it’s not rooted in criticizing teammates, this interest is healthy and might provide an impetus to further practice their skills in order to improve their stats. Moreover, many kids follow the stats of their favorite professional players; to be able to have stats of their own provides a connection that drives their interest in their respective sports even more.
Have you used a stat tracker for your team’s games?