Sports by the Numbers

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Sports by the Numbers

The competitive nature of sports is constantly evolving.  The best of the best are looking for the little changes, or sometimes the big changes, that will set them apart from the rest.  Sport psychology is a great field for this – how to become more mentally tough than your opponent and how to find those team motivation techniques that will make the difference.

People don’t traditionally think of the field of economics as a way to win.  But more and more, economists are answering the questions of what makes a team win for less.  Here are two examples:

A little late I know, but I finally checked out the baseball movie Moneyball this week.  I’m not a big Hollywood blockbuster movie guy, so I kind of wrote this one of when it came out.  My dad gave me the movie not too long ago so I gave it a watch.  I was really happily surprised by how well done it was.  


I was a sport psychology graduate student living in Oakland during the season portrayed in Moneyball.  I knew about the winning streak and vaguely about the moneyball aspect of it, and watching the movie, really enjoyed seeing how it all went down.

As someone in the field of sport psychology, I appreciated some of the other lessons:  problem-solving, team building techniques, setting goals and sticking to them, and focusing on the process to gain results.

Buy Moneyball through our SPINw Store Movie Page.

This movie reminded me of a book that I read last winter when I was in Barcelona.   Soccernomics is a great book covering the economics of, you guessed it, soccer.  There was a lot in it for a sport psychology professional to love:  helping foreign players and their families to assimilate to new cultures, how having smart players can help your team’s performance, and how statistics can be horribly misread and misunderstood.


Check out Soccernomics in the SPINw Store Sports Books Page.

So which is it: The data, or the gut instinct?  The numbers or the people?  Economics or Sport Psychology?

I think the answer, like with most things is somewhere in the middle. Both are a key aspects of sports performance and results.


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