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Sports Statistician Job Description

by Ron White

If you have strong math skills and an interest in spots, you might enjoy a career as a sports statistician. Every major professional sport provides job opportunities for statisticians, and some career opportunities are for jobs that involve more than sitting on the sidelines and tracking rebounds and assists. According to Fast Company website, some companies are on the cutting edge of sports data collection, using sports statistics in new and creative ways. Companies such as Stats offer highly competitive salaries and good benefits for some statistician careers. They employ professionals with knowledge of sports statistics as web developers, software developers and project managers.

Primary Duties

Sports statisticians gather information on sports performances, often in real time, and use math and computer skills to create formulas and computer programs capable of synthesizing sports statistics into new data. They use computer graphics systems and Internet technologies to distribute the information they synthesize. Their objective is to provide insight into the performance of athletes and teams by producing statistical data that can be interpreted. Team management and athletes use this information to make decisions about which players to pursue and how to strategize for game situations. Sports leagues and journalists use the information to report on competitions, track players' performance and determine the recipients of awards, such as Major League Baseball’s two annual Rookie of the Year awards.

Secondary Tasks

Sports statisticians determine the questions or problems to be solved. For example, baseball statisticians may wish to determine the impact of defense on a pitcher’s performance. Statisticians use their math knowledge to decide which data they can use to solve these problems and the methods they will use for finding and collecting the data. Statisticians use the data to make interpretations and predictions. These statisticians often write about their findings via sports columns and articles, blogs and books.

Skills

Sports statisticians need more than a knowledge of statistics. They also need excellent critical thinking and problem-solving skills and skills in areas such as computer programming, web development and software development. Some positions need leadership abilities and individuals who can work well as part of a team. Jobs also require you to possess good analytical abilities. You must be able to gather and observe statistical data about players and teams and draw conclusions, which requires logic and reasoning. Sports statisticians also must possess ingenuity and the dedication to develop techniques to overcome obstacles in data collection, analysis and interpretation. The ability to produce results is not enough. Sports statisticians must be able to draw worthwhile meaning from their statistical calculations. Speaking and writing skills also are important for this profession.

Background

Most sports statisticians have a strong knowledge of sports and an interest in sports statistics. Entry-level positions for professional careers in sports statistics usually require a bachelor’s degree in a field such as math, statistics, survey methodology, business administration, computer programming, web development or graphic arts. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, some jobs may require a master's degree. Sports statisticians need a solid background in differential and integral calculus, statistical methods, mathematical modeling and probability theory.

About the Author

Based in Central Florida, Ron White has worked as professional journalist since 2001. He specializes in sports and business. White started his career as a sportswriter and later worked as associate editor for Maintenance Sales News and as the assistant editor for "The Observer," a daily newspaper based in New Smyrna Beach, Fla. White has written more than 2,000 news and sports stories for newspapers and websites. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images