Concentrate! On Sports Analytics

by minton on November 8, 2019

Roanoke College has a sports analytics program! The recently approved concentration in sports analytics is a six-course program giving students a broad background in important skills as well as practical experience in the field. Details can be found at Analytics.html.

The concentration builds on the success of Stat Crew. With over twenty students (and an occasional mascot) on board, Stat Crew collects data at Roanoke home games and puts together reports for the coaches. If you are interested in the concentration or Stat Crew, contact Dr. Minton at

The term “concentration” may bring back memories of well-intentioned coaches telling you to “keep your eye on the ball.” Other than golf, where the ball does not move, it turns out that this is impossible! I first learned this from the excellent book Keep Your Eye on the Ball by Watts and Bahill, and then wrote about it in my Calculus book. The underlying problem is that humans have a limited ability to track moving objects.

You might look at this picture and say that Roger Federer is, in fact, keeping his eye on the ball. The tennis great uses a common strategy for tennis and baseball players. He tracks the ball until it starts to blur and then jumps his eyes ahead to where he expects the ball to be. And Roger’s usually right!