Davidson and Garner team up to help students address questions such as:
- How can we use data to evaluate NBA star Steph Curry’s performance over the past year?
- What is WAR and why does it now have such an impact on baseball?
- How does loss aversion affect offensive and defensive effort?
- Why are psychological and behavioral principles important to study?
“We’re kind of tricking them into learning statistics and making it applicable to their areas of interest,” says Davidson with a chuckle. “For a lot of students, statistics can be an intimidating subject. But this class makes the material applicable to something most of us really enjoy in life.”
Of the course’s 20 students, most of whom are sophomores, there are seven collegiate baseball players, four soccer players, and one swimmer. Everyone else played sports in high school or has an athletic background.
Those things aren’t requirements, of course, but they sure don’t hurt when it comes to the group research project—analyzing the statistics of a winter or spring Rollins sports team. At semester’s end, six groups will present their findings to classmates and coaches.