It is interesting to work with various sports in consultation.  There are some sports, or coaching styles for that matter, that place a fair amount of emphasis on statistics from performances.  Then again, there are sports, and coaching styles alike, that would rather not address individual statistics for players. Sport, in the big picture, truly is a construct defined in quantifiable terms, score.  However, when picking a starting line up, we (as coaches, athletes, and consultants) may put someone in that has shown consistent effort and positive interpersonal skills in practices and previous performances.  Not that this is always the case, but just stick with me here.  How then is it comparable, or even explainable to an athlete, especially a young athlete that knows they need to try hard and be consistent, to deny them the opportunity to play or start in a game, if their “stats” are lower than expected or desired? Then on the flip side, why would we put someone in the game, that is quantifiably figured, who husseles their butt off and makes the defense work and offense work, but provides no viable statistics (in essence, a qualitative factor).

If we look at academic research, we understand that we will not see qualitative data explain a quantifiable construct, and the same if it were the other way around.  Yet, in sport we see this occur quite often.  In some cases you will find the coach or sport that only puts in the players who produce statistically, but do these players and teams succeed and provide a supportive and psychologically sound winning machine? I believe not.

Lesson learned: Let’s not always resort to pen and paper to determine the quality of players and player potential.  Let them play, and let them be human.