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Hit a Home Run with BI360

This article will describe a real life example of a manual application of BI360.

In 2016, my then eight-year-old son joined a travel baseball team, and having a passion for sports and math, I immediately offered to do statistics for the team. I used the standard baseball score book to enter the plays until one day the coach asked me if I could track statistics in Excel for the individual players and the team. This really got me excited.

A little context: I am a long-term employee at Solver, having grown with the company for over 18 years. I have also been a part of the football statistics staff for the Los Angeles Rams and University of Southern California (USC) for over 20 years, and more recently, University of California Los Angeles, UCLA. Needless to say, the opportunity to pull together data and stats for my son’s sports team energized me. If you couldn’t tell, I am a bit of a geek at heart.

While thinking about the Excel setup I would need to create, I felt manually calculating all the statistics in standard worksheets would be agonizing. Finally, I thought, “why not build this in BI360?” I, then, designed a BI360 Data Warehouse that consisted of hitting, fielding, and pitching modules. Many of you reading this will likely own BI360 and probably use it for Financial Reporting and/or Budgeting, but have you ever thought about how it could replace manual processes?

My son’s team currently has over three years of data in BI360, allowing us to tell the coaches how the team performed against any opponent, the lineup of batters we used, the positions the kids played, the location we played them, and numerous other stats. Now, after each game, our coaches get up to six different reports that are available by date selection:

1. Defense by Position: This report shows how many innings each player played, the number of errors, and the total defensive chances they had.

2. Player Detail: This report details performance by player, breaking down every player’s at-bat and inning playing defense. For pitchers, it shows the results for every batter that pitcher has faced.

3. Matrix: This report shows a batter’s past performance in any given scenario. For example, how many times did a player strike out, homer, single, or ground out in a situation with two base runners and one out?

4. Summary Report: This report summarizes hitting, pitching, and defensive statistics of every player.

5. Summary by Team: This report shows the scores of each game, who we played, and the basic summary stats such as hits and errors.

6. Comparison to Last Year: This report generates a graphical view of how each player is doing versus last year.

Now, you might ask: how is this of value to the coaches and the players? For the coaches, the statistics can help with strategy, such as choosing a certain batting order. For example, BI360 can tell us about the number of times a given player reaches base, which can then impact where the players bat in the lineup. Additionally, we can group players that are hitting better to maximize runs and drop struggling players lower in the lineup for a couple of games to lessen the pressure. For defense, BI360 reveals if a player performs better at one position versus another, if a pitcher may need to rest after throwing many pitches, and even indicate if a pitcher may do better against certain teams that we have already played. The team has made huge improvements both on offense and defense as our coaches can choose based on clear-cut data where to position players for maximum success.

While we generally do not provide the statistics to the parents during the season, we can provide it to answer their questions about the lineup, how many innings their child might play, or why they may or may not be pitching. At the end of the season, the coaches sit down with the players and their parents to discuss the areas that they should be working on before the next season starts. Overall, we use a combination of the statistics and the coach’s viewpoint of their successes and failures.

The input and reports are all contained in BI360. It takes between 10 to 15 minutes to input data for each game, which then generates multiple reports for the coaches to review and analyze. Without BI360, we would have spent time “slicing and dicing” the data to discover these insights. As such, BI360 has become an essential tool for my job as a sport statistician.

Whether you are volunteering for your child’s sports team or trying to make your non-profit organization more efficient, take the opportunity to review processes and see where you can apply the same logic. For my son’s baseball team, I designed a custom Data Warehouse based simply on what the coaches wanted to know about the team’s performance at the time. BI360’s Data Warehouse easily consolidates data from separate data sources into a single database, while its Reporting module can readily produce custom reports based on what decisions you need to make. If you need assistance or help getting started, Solver has a team of experienced professionals that can get your organization started in building the right template for you.

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