1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Keeping football stats for preps

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by MaSeNE, Aug 26, 2015.

  1. MaSeNE

    MaSeNE New Member

    Hi all-

    I'm curious to know what you all use for stat sheets for high school football. I'm entering my second sports season at my first paper job and am always looking for ways to do the analytical side of my job better. Thanks.
  2. old_tony

    old_tony Well-Known Member

    I don't cover a lot any more, but I have always done a running play-by-play on a note pad. Depending on how much time you have before you have to file your story, you should be able to do perfectly accurate stats off of that.


    KO by #80 to #8 at 12 ret to 29 +17 yards
    1-10-29 #3 pass right to #44, +4
    2-6-33 #32 run middle, +13
    1-10-46 #32 run right, +4
    2-6-50 #3 pass inc. middle to #88
    3-6-50 #32 run middle, no gain
    4-6-50 #40 punts to #30 at 15, ret to 22 +7

    That's the basic idea. If you do that, you should be able to get the important stats you need and they should be correct.

    The game I covered last week, my deadline was such that I had to write in the front seat of my car in the parking lot, use my cellphone to make a wifi hot spot (geez, technology is great) and file before I could do a full box. I trusted the stats keeper for the home team at the end of the game and he gave me numbers that were different from the summary he sent in.
  3. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    Just write everything down.

    Or Google it. I'm sure a bunch of stat sheet templates are available. Back in my former life, I always used the one the Virginian-Pilot guys used.

    Either way.
  4. MaSeNE

    MaSeNE New Member

    I should say that I normally just keep everything on a note pad. I'm just always looking for ways to become more efficient at my job. Like anybody else, I guess. Thanks for the tips, gents.
  5. amraeder

    amraeder Well-Known Member

    I'm sure others have better systems. What I did back in the day:

    I always kept 3 sheets, either spread out in front of me if I had room in a box, or just stacked under each other on a clipboard.
    First one was play-by-play. On it I'd have spots for posession/down/distance/yard line/description.
    So it'd generally look like
    KICKOFF #38 return left 20 yards.
    P (for Podunk) 1 10 P21 #38 run left tackle 5 yards
    P 2 5 P26 #3 pass #18 6 yards
    Touchdown details would usually be more descriptive so I could include them in my story if need be (with the time). Always started TD description with TOUCHDOWN so it was easy to find when skimming p-by-p.
    Also used a line to write down the score at the end of each quarter, again usually in all caps so it was easy to find.

    Under that were stat sheets for each team. After writing down a play, if I had time, I'd write the yards in the appropriate stat boxes. If not, I'd get caught up during a timeout. So, I didn't have to go back through my p-by-p on deadline to find stats. Had it right there.
    It'd look like:
    3 - 5, 10, 5, I, I, I, I, 5, 20(T), I, INT, 5, 2, 16.
    38 - I
    12 - I, 20, I

    38 - 5, 3, 5, 20, 5, 43, -3, 2, 0, 1, 20(T)

    14 - 5, 10

    The first number is the player number. the rest are yard gains. (T) means it resulted in a touchdown. I is an incomplete pass. INT is obvious.
    Usually at quarters or half I'd add up the totals and circle them. Again, made it easier to have total numbers after the game - saved time on deadline.
  6. SFIND

    SFIND Active Member

    I've never done full play-by-play. When I kept stats, I always did a running total. Got a sheet ready and listed both teams skill players, top defensive players, and I would mark off for each pass attempt, rush, tackle, sack, and keep running total of rushing, receiving, and passing yards. Totals where always ready to go at the end of the game. Had a separate note pad for scoring plays and other notes (like drives, other big plays, injuries etc.).

    My days of keeping football stats are probably done, though. For the last couple of years, I have had to shoot photographs (enough for a gallery) and do video highlights, as well as tweet during the game. It's bad enough trying to keep stats on the field, but there's no way I can keep them while shooting and tweeting. I either get stats from stat keepers or live without them.
  7. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    Like others, I did play by play on one sheet and kept stats on a printed out sheet, one that I found just by Googling.

    Whatever your method, find a stat sheet that allows you to add yard totals (rushing, passing, receiving) for players as you go. This will save you a lot of time doing addition at the end of the night. For example:

    RUSHER A - 5/5.... 6/11....10/21....5/26....3/29

    RECEIVER A - 10/10....15/25....5/30....6/36

    In the example above, the first number is the number of yards on the individual attempt, the second is the total yards for the game. When you are under a tough deadline, having these numbers ready could save your bacon.
  8. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I always tried to keep play by play (as much as possible) and mainly to use to refer to in the story to say a team ran 12 consecutive times or to at least have the numbers of plays and yardage for a scoring drive. And to highlight key plays.

    For the stats, I kept a grid for each team and put in each player who threw, carried, caught or kicked a ball and put the yards in (or incompletes) for each attempt then added it up for stats.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2015
  9. MTM

    MTM Well-Known Member

    I would rubber band or tape two clipboards together, with a sheet for play-by-play on one side and individual stats on the other. Also used a multi color pen and keep one team's plays in black and the other in red.
  10. JimmyHoward33

    JimmyHoward33 Well-Known Member

    I write down the plays, then flip to the other side of the notebook and write the stats as I go. I use an 8 1/2 by 11 notebook, top side for play by play.

    Drive starts I'd write 1st @ 35 -- 35 for 5 (35 carried for 5 yards), then flip the book over and in the rushing column, 35 gets 1-5. Next play, 35 for 7, werite that down, then 1st @ 47 etc, flip over and do 35 2-12.

    There are times I have to catch up with pass plays at halftimes in terms of the stats, but I find it saves a ton of time on deadline adding them as I go, and it adds color to the Tweets if you can say "So and so is over 100 yards" or "Tom Smith has 8 catches" and that kind of stuff.
  11. Mauve_Avenger

    Mauve_Avenger Member

    I have a question for everyone saying play-by-play is the ideal way to keep stats. Right now I shoot photos at games, so I just use a running stat sheet that tallies passing, rushing and receiving.

    I would say this is an easy way to figure stats on deadline as it takes about five minutes of addition to have the basic offensive numbers. What is the advantage of play-by-play?
  12. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    Depends on what you are writing, I think. I kept a very rough play-by-play so I could go back and figure out certain things like how many running plays were in a drive or how many times in a row a QB threw to a certain receiver. Things that weren't essential to the final story but could put a little color or added info with it.

    Doing that while taking photos, however, would be very difficult. In fact, I don't think I could have even kept stats while taking photos.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page