Leveling the Playing Field

Abstract:Athletes can benefit from quality principles as much as businesses can. Minor league baseball players have responded well to seeing emotional state graphed out as a variable in a statistical process control (SPC) analysis. Other important variables in professional sports are player skill, reaction time and communication. Much like the variables of a machine in a production setting, these variables have optimum values that produce the best performance from an athlete. SPC can identify the root causes of problems, allowing coaches, acting in the role of the supervisor or manager, to correct the problems and improve performance. The goal of a professional sports team is to win games, so SPC should be geared toward meeting that goal. The goal of a youth sports team is less tangible, focusing in large part on player development over team performance. Setting goals, charting performance and adjusting variables can still produce valuable results in youth sports as long as the proper goals are …

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Thanks for the article. Your opening paragraphs also illustrate the importance of understanding the measurement system! Raki should NOT be concerned about his teammates' errors affecting his ERA. He does not understand the measurement system--more specifically, how ERA is calculated. If a player reaches base on an error and that player scores, that run does not count in the ERA calculation. So if Raki doesn't like his ERA, he should NOT place blame on his teammates. Also, Raki is making the classic mistake of blaming the worker. He should see Dr. Deming's Red Bead experiment to understand the role blaming his teammates has on morale, output, quality and productivity. His frustration is in all the wrong places.
--Peter Bartell, 04-12-2011

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