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Quickest way to do HS football stats

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by JexFraequin, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. JexFraequin

    JexFraequin New Member

    My first football Friday was a couple of weeks ago, and it was terrible. I spent 35 minutes putting together the box score from my notes. I've since formulated a faster and more efficient way to take down stats, but there still has to be an easier way. What are some of the ways you have seen football stats being kept on paper?
  2. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    There's a method involving an accountant journal or ledger that I've always used. You can buy these things at Staples or Office Depot. They look like this:


    When you open them, you see this:


    Notice the columns? Using two different color pens, you can chart play-by-play with running stats. Each team uses a different color pen (usually red for one team and either blue and black for the other. Using blue and black can be confusing because there isn't enough contrast, especially in florescent light).

    From left, you write where the ball is (say "A33" if Alabama has the ball at it's own 33). That second narrow column I usually reserve to chart fumbles-lost. Then the long column I use for a play description ("33 for 4 yards up middle, 57 tackles, for example); then it's first downs, rushes/yards, penalties-yards, passes-attempts-yards-ints; then punts-yards.

    You keep the running tally simply by looking up at the previous play in the column where a stat was registered. For example. After the 4-yard run by Alabama's 33, you write "1-4" under the rush column in red pen (let's say you decided Alabama is the red team). If, on the next play, 20 runs for 2 yards, you write "2-6" under the rushing column, and so on.

    Let's say it's the last play for Alabama and they punt to A&M. Then Alabama gets the ball back and 33 runs for 2 yards. You look past all the A&M plays you marked in blue/black and find the last red running play and see they were 2-6. So you add one more play for 2 yards and now you write "3-8" under rushing.

    Very simple and very easy to keep cumulative stats.

    Usually, at halftime, I use a separate pad to tally up individual stats to that point, then proof it against the cumulative team stats in the ledger and make any appropriate corrections. With halftime stats settled, you do it again at game's end, but with half the game done, it typically takes 5 minutes to get the final stats tallied.

    There's also an App now if you have an Ipad. I haven't figured it out or bought it yet. I've heard mixed reviews.
  3. Preacher Roe

    Preacher Roe New Member

    What I do is get a legal pad with the narrowest ruled lines I can get. I block off the first 17 or so lines for one team, followed by four lines in the middle, followed by 17 or more lines for the other team.

    Each player gets a line, with the guys who play the biggest role in the offense (QB, RBs) getting two lines. For the QB, the top line is for passing, the bottom for rushing. For the RBs, top for rushing, bottom for receiving.

    Each time there is a play, I put down the number of yards gained. So if the RB runs for six yards on his first carry, I put down "6" next to his name. If the QB hits the TE for a 10-yard gain, I put "10" on the QB's passing line and "10" on the tight end's receiving line.

    If a QB throws an incomplete pass, I put "X." An interception, I put "INT" or "I."

    In the four middle lines, I just put down defensive plays -- sacks, interceptions, fumble recoveries, forced fumbles, etc. I don't keep tackles. I also keep track of the quarter-by-quarter scoring along the four lines. I give the left margin to one team, and then draw my own margin on the right for the other team. You can also keep track of penalties on the margins as well.

    Last thing, I draw a line down the middle so I can differentiate between first half and second half. That also makes it easier to count up stats at halftime. I use a small notebook for basic play-by-play, and I can count the first half stats in there on a page so half the battle is done once I need to write.

    I will say this: My shop only runs quarter-by-quarter scoring and scoring plays as agate, so I can pick and choose what stats I really need tabulated for a story. But even if I was doing a full box, I think this method would still be perfect. I've never had any problems getting things counted up fast.
  4. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    I use a similar system and for scoring plays, I circle them.
  5. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Mine is similar to Brian's except I use a Five-Star college ruled notebook. Draw a line down the middle of the page and keep a play by play (using red and black pens for each team). Use one page per quarter and start on a left side page so you don't have to keep flipping when you're adding stuff up.
    My play by play looks like this, with PHS for Podunk High School and SA for Shelbyville Academy.

    1st Quarter
    - #20 Ret KO to PHS 25 (20)
    PHS Ball at PHS 25
    11:55 - 1. #26 runs to PHS 27 (2)
    2. #6 Inc.
    3. #6 Pass to #82 to PHS 40 (13)
    1. #26 runs
    -- PEN, Hold, on PHS to PHS 30 (-10)
    1. #26 runs to PHS 35 (5)
    2. #6 Pass to #88 to 50 (15)
    3. #6 runs to SA 45 (5)
    1. #26 runs to SA 43 (2)
    -- #26 FUMB, P#34 recov to SA 43 (0)
    2. #6 PASS TO #88 FOR TD (43)
    -- #19 PAT GOOD
    9:45 left PHS 7
    9 plays SA 0
    75 yds

    ... And so on. The numbers in parentheses after each play are the yardage totals. It's pretty easy to skip through at halftime with a calculator and count off the number of carries, pass attempts and receptions for each player as you add them up, as well as penalties, first downs, fumbles and turnovers. Usually takes me about 10 minutes, which still leaves plenty of time to catch your breath and use the bathroom.
    This method also gives you a fairly easy to follow play-by-play to refer to as you're writing your story.

    The most important thing, whatever method you use, is to total your stats at halftime and make sure the numbers add up. That way you only have to add up the second half when the game is over and you're more pressed for time. Bring a calculator with you or use the one on your phone and find a quiet corner of the stadium where you can plop down while the band is playing.
    After the game, unless you have to do a full box score, it also helps to add up just what you need to write your story. If the fullback had two carries for 10 yards, and you know you don't need to include it, don't worry about it. Concentrate on the quarterback's passing yards and the key rushers and receivers for each side. You can add up the less important stats later.
  6. joe_schmoe

    joe_schmoe Active Member

    I have stat sheets and a notepad that I keep play by play on.
    On my stat sheets I have spots for rushers, then passing/rec and spots for punting, fumbles, penalties. It's designed so that I can keep the play yardage in one part of a box and they runny tally tight next to it. By the end of the game, my box takes about 3 minutes to finish typing in, as all my totals are done.

    I don't spend a lot of time on play by play, making not mainly of big plays, etc... Scoring plays I draw a star next to, and may make notes on the side of what happened.
    Play by play is simple:
    24 RR +4 (No. 24 rushed right, for four yards)
    3P8 +27 L (3 passed to 8 for 27 yards)
    3-------- (3 incomplete pass)
    3 INT 8 -- -40 +7 (3 intercepted by 8 at 40 returned for 7 yards)

    I do add more notations than I can list here, but basically KEEP YOUR PLAY BY PLAY SIMPLE....95 percent of it won't make your story. Make note of scoring plays, any big plays or a play that helps set up a score.
    Young reporters always struggle with stats early. Make that a priority. Build a system and you'll find the play by play will eventually come naturally.
  7. doubledown68

    doubledown68 Active Member

    I've got a stat sheet I tape to the back of my clipboard. Play by play is kept on a legal pad. I just flip the board back and forth. I'll be happy to share the stat sheet. Just pm me your email address
  8. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    What everybody else said, since YMMV. But one thing I do is compile my box score in my notebook as the game goes on (in between tweets and Facebook/blog posts). One less thing to do on deadline, especially if you're in a small shop and have to write, edit and slam out pages!
  9. I'll never tell

    I'll never tell Active Member

    I've never had to have a special notebook or anything. I keep mine simple. It works for me, but I know everybody is different.


    That's first and 10 from Team A's 20. No. 43 on the rush for 6 yards. A pass gets an arrow and then the players number. An incomplete pass gets null set. If a team is running the option, opt. before the number.

    Punts get a straight line. If it crosses the 50, a perpendicular line through aforementioned line. As you're walking to change sides, total distance and circle it.

    I total things at the half. If there's a stud running back or QB, you can keep a running total on the flip side or go back and compile those numbers during time outs. I do it like 32 (player #): (yards per carry) 4,5,12, 56, 4, -1, 17.

    I dunno, it works for me.

    On the first play of the drive, I note the time and then note it on every
  10. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    This link has links to some of the past threads we've had on keeping stats. I think it even has a link or two to some scoresheets.


    The links also have good info and tips.

    My brief tip: keep a separate stat sheet along with a play by play. If I'm in the press box, I'll have my legal pad for pbp and a double-sided stat sheet (one side for each team). If I'm on the sideline, I have the legal pad on one side of the clipboard and the scoresheet on the flip side.

    Keeping a separate stat sheet saves an immense amount of time when you're on deadline back at the office.
  11. I've used something similar to a lot of the suggestions listed above, especially where a running play by play is concerned. But, perhaps because of an 11:30 deadline, I've found that I never reference that PBP sheet. So I've scrapped it. I'll highlight the important plays in my notebook w/ some detail, but I found that charting exactly what happened on every single play was taking away from my ability to simply observe. Always had my head down.

    I still keep stats, but I use a basic sheet of paper I mocked up where I simply add rushing, passing or receiving yardage to the applicable player after each play. Much quicker, and I can spend more time w/ my eyes on the field.
  12. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    For the record, I chart every play in the journal noted above and never come close to missing a play. It's simple and it's very quick. Even if it's a no-huddle team in hurry-up mode, you won't miss a thing. Stats are on the same page -- on the same line -- as the play you are charting and are easy to update. No flipping clipboards or any nonsense like that.

    Only drawback is you are spending 5 minutes at halftime and post game adding up individual stats.
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