Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A money ball approach to cross-country coaching?

If you haven't seen the movie Money Ball, I'd highly recommend it--a great sports movie with statistical connections to baseball. Being a little nerdy, mathematical and newly finding myself as an assistant coach from cross country (running) this fall I've decided to try and apply some of those ideas with our team development. I've used some of what I've learned in Google Docs Forms and Spreadsheets to create an online workout log. Students will register for the site using one Google Form, giving us some important team data to have on hand and automatically including them on a team list in a second form. They will create a screen name in the registration and that will be used to display their results on the team results page. Anytime they workout on their own or with the team they record the distance (if known) and their time along with their screen name in a second Google Form.
There will be leader boards that update on the team website showing who has run the most miles, most amount of time, the fastest mile split on workouts over 3 miles, and the fastest timed mile. Making it a little competitive and hoping to tie in with the social media side of things, we're hoping to grow our team and bring in kids that maybe wouldn't normally join the team. We'll also have a graph that displays their pace history (currently shows the past 10 workout entries).
The minimum y-value on the graph is set for the pace of 1st place at the state meet last year--letting them see what the ultimate goal is for our workouts and where they stand. I'm hoping it will give us some good data as coaches to be able to differentiate our workouts and challenge athletes that haven't made any pace progress recently. I have it finished but don't have any real student data yet--will hopefully post updates on that later.

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