Math in Sports: Soccer Statistics
Nowadays a great number of students play on some type of organized sports team. While playing on a soccer team can improve a child’s teamwork and coordination, it can also be an opportunity to practice some math skills. Having a child track either their own soccer statistics or their team’s soccer statistics can help them learn some real life math.
Soccer is a popular spring and summer sport for many children. Keeping track of their own soccer statistics after each game is a fun way to incorporate math into the sport. So what are some common soccer statistics, and how do they use math?
Goals Attempted and Scored
Obviously the main focus in soccer is scoring goals. Most players keep track of how many goals they scored in a game. They also record how many goals they tried to make. Once the game is over, those two numbers can be used to find the percentage of times your child scored. Finding a percentage is fairly simple.
- Take the number of goals scored and divide it by the number of goals attempted. (If a child scored 3 goals and attempted to score 4 times, the problem would be 3 divided by 4 which equals .75.)
- The answer to the division problem should be a decimal number. Move the decimal two places to the right to get a percentage. (In our example, .75 would become 75. which gives us 75%.)
This allows your child to practice both division and working with decimals and percentages, both common upper elementary skills.
Not every child on a soccer field has the opportunity to score goals. Playing a defensive position is just as important. For a child who plays defense, one of the common soccer statistics to keep is how many goals they blocked during a game. After every game, record the number of shots your child blocked. Then use those numbers to find the average number of shots blocked per game.
- Add the number of blocked shots for each game. (If a child has blocked 10, 12, 13, 9, and 11 shots in each of five games, the equation would be 10 + 12 + 13 + 9 + 11 = 50.)
- Divide your answer by the number of games you have statistics for. (In our case, there are five games recorded so we would solve 50 divided by 5 giving us 10.) The answer to the division problem is the average number of shots blocked per game.
Your child could even set a personal goal of trying to raise that average by blocking more and more goals each game and finding the average after every game.
Soccer is a fun game for children to play. By recording and working with soccer statistics, it can also be a fun way to review both averages and percentages, skills that many children struggle to understand. In the next math in sports post, we will discuss using baseball to reinforce math concepts.
How do you use your child’s sports to teach math?