Okemos, MI (PressExposure) July 03, 2008 -- Your kid's sports season is about to start and the coach announces the team needs someone to keep statistics. Given the choice of either coordinating the accursed post-game snacks all season long or keeping statistics, keeping statistics sounded like the better alternative.
The problem is, you don't know the difference between left field, left tackle or left on base. Even if you do, you don't know how to write it down on a chart when something happens. And on the chance you know that, you might not know what to write down when the left halfback loses the ball and the left guard picks it up and scores.
A new book and web site launched by a former sports parent and one of the nation's foremost authorities on keeping youth sports statistics aims to make things easier for those entrusted with keeping the numbers for their kid's sports teams.
The book, Keeping Kids Sports Statistics, and the companion web site, SportsStatsMan.com, are designed to give parents and coaches the resources to get a grip on the basics of statistics keeping, as well as an outlet for asking questions about statistical nuances - and doing all of it in plain language.
Keeping Kids Sports Statistics is available in a pocket-sized print edition and as a digital e-book exclusively through Lulu.com. The print edition is $9.95, and the e-book sells for $4.95.
"You can get your hands on statistical guides that are very detailed, and have all kinds of approved rulings for all kinds of situations, and if that's what you want, that's not what this book is about," says John Johnson, the author of Keeping Kids Sports Statistics. "What we've done with this book is give the sports parents I've seen over the years fumbling clipboards and fumbling around to make decisions about what to write down a simple how-to guide about the most common statistical situations they'll face as a team statistician."
Keeping Kids Sports Statistics covers basketball, baseball-softball and football; which are among the sports with the most detailed statistical categories. The book explains all of the categories, and even a few off-the-board scenarios.
The SportsStatsMan.com web site features a blog where Johnson writes about unusual situations not addressed in the book, to help everyone in the sports stats community further their knowledge. Statistics keeping charts for basketball and football are also available on the site.
Johnson's experiences as a statistician began as a middle school student when he kept track of stats for his local high school's sports teams. As a college student at Michigan State University, he was on stats crews for various sporting events; and in sports information positions at Albion (MI) College, Ferris State University, Western Michigan University and Indiana University, he was also a hands-on statistician. He was also the statistical crew chief for the 1984 United States Men's Olympic Basketball Team Trials while at Indiana. Since 1987, Johnson has served as the Communications Director for the Michigan High School Athletic Association, where he has also served as the chairman of the National Records Book Committee for the National Federation of State High School Associations.
An accomplished sports broadcaster, sports writer and sports photographer, Johnson still keeps his own statistics when doing play-by-play of high school sporting events on radio and television.