What Statistics Can Teach Us About What to Practice

BYU Statistics Professor, Dr. Gil Fellingham used statistics to help the US Men’s team secure a Gold Medal in the 2008 Olympics by analyzing what skills hold the most value in the game and what skills are the most counter productive.

When I was at BYU we hired Dr.Fellingham to look at the women’s game in the same way. We found that the women’s game is certainly different than the men’s game and therefore should have different focuses in practice.

“The point of this [project] was a way to look at skills, to grade skills, so that as a coach you can decide what you ought to focus on in a practice,” Fellingham said. “What’s the skill set that I should be spending the most time on? Because these are the ones that are going to be making the most difference.”

As a coach, your naked eye and your emotions can get you in trouble and cause you to spend time on things that matter least at the expense of things that matter most. With the numbers that Dr. Fellingham crunched we know that women should be spending the most time on digging, serve-receive and serving. And less time on hitting and blocking.

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