Not all things stat’s

In my first university degree, we studied a little about children’s sport psychology and the emphasis was supposed to be on “fun” not “winning”. Still till this day (a couple of decades later), my competitive instinct takes a back seat when I ask my children “How was the game?”, “Did you have fun?” as opposed to “Did you win?”.

Part of me says, if you are going to play…always to play win. It’s when that win is a little too much out of reach that I start to focus on other things in the game that bring me “little victories”, like making the tackle, getting that intercept and first to the rebound. The point I am trying to make is, that all these “little victories” help the team.

If everyone is doing what they need to do and giving themselves a pat on the back along the way, I have no issues with losing. However, as a mum of a cricketer (a sport I have not yet really gotten into in spite my husband and sons’ obsession with it). I struggle to grasp the concept of young players, playing for their “stats”, especially when the game is there to be won. Do they play to look good on paper…or do they play to win? Give me a player that plays like they want to win, as opposed to a player who blocks the ball, so they don’t get out. Playing like that is not fun or about winning!

Before you say anything about my ignorance of the game of cricket, I understand that there is a time and place when blocking the ball is good, particularly when all you have to do is “stay in” to win the game (trust me I know that feeling being the 11th batsman in our school cricket side). But if the game is there to be won by creating more runs, the obsession with “keeping a good average “against risking getting out by trying to win some runs for the team and ultimately the game…. why hold back? Are you playing for yourself or the team? Does the data collected really reflect what is going on in games? What’s the point in creating a team full of players who are not “team players”?

A recent conference at Sport NSW reiterated the importance of data. I totally agree, data is knowledge! Data can inform us how active our population is, and where it needs to improve based on national and international benchmarks. As a planner of recreation facilities, it can tell us what should be built where, and what sports fields and facilities can be used more effectively to maximise sport and recreation in the area. It can inform sports associations of membership trends and participation figures that will give them a better strategic edge.

In a world full of technology, data collection is the norm. Coles sends me a list of my favourite food items when they are on special, Qantas and WebJet send me special deals on places they think I’d like to go and there is a plethora of other emails I get based on “buyer behaviour “marketing….you have to love some of the fine print inclusions when you use or purchase things these days (good for companies, perhaps a little scary for members of society). Data can be a useful tool if it’s used in the right way. It allows companies and associations to deliver better services and programs to meet the needs and wants of the consumers.

Some would argue that data and statistics help you create “the big picture”. My warning to managers and administrators is that when it comes to data collection via computer projections, be aware the “big picture” is not always the “whole picture”. Be aware of the way data is being provided, the way it is being captured and who has access to it and be aware of your privacy legislation.

No amount of data can replace good athletes, coaches, administrator’s and staff who are truly making a connection with the players, volunteers and the community…. make sure you are investing in both!

Yvette Audet

Yvette Audet

Sport has been an integral part of my life, both work and personal. I grew up with sport, met my husband through sport and now as a mother, am involved more than ever in sport!

As a trainer and consultant in the industry I work with sporting groups and councils to create community facilities and partnerships aimed to increase sport participation.

I have created a range of articles from the perspective of a SPORTING MUM. The articles relate life skills and messages that we can get from being involved in sport. It’s uncanny how Sport can mirror life.


Involved in gymnastics, netball and athletics from an early age, Yvette experienced being part of a team as well as the unrelentless discipline in individual sport – in particular her Heptathlon days.

First became a mum in 2005 and remembers having the inner debate of how long should I play netball while pregnant? Doing quick breastfeeds in between netball games and hoping her uterus wouldn’t feel like falling out when she jumped for the ball.

Funny anecdotes aside, she has worked in the sport and recreation industry for almost 30 years and holds several certificates and degrees around the management and training of sport, community recreation, aquatics and fitness.

Through her various roles in profit and non-profit sectors, she has helped plan for programs, events and facilities to help get communities active through sport and recreation.