How to Take Statistics at a Basketball Game
Keeping statistics at a basketball game requires a basic understanding of the sport, its rules and the general statistical guidelines. Points scored, fouls, timeouts and game details can be kept in a scoreboard. Keeping assists, turnovers, rebounds, blocked shots and steals requires separate charts -- and multiple statisticians to do the job correctly.
Simply put a 2 or a 3 next to a player's name for a 2- or 3-point shot attempt, then circle the digit if the shot goes in. Or you can compile a shot chart showing the location of each attempt. Record shots by putting the player's number on the appropriate spot on a court diagram. Circle the number if the player makes the shot. Clearly mark 3-point shots outside the 3-point arc on the diagram. Award attempts for clear shots at the basket, even those that are blocked. Award attempts for controlled tips. If a player is fouled in the act of shooting, do not award an attempt unless the shot goes in. Do not award shot attempts for desperate heaves before the buzzer. Award an attempt and make if the official calls defensive goaltending.
Chart free throw attempts by marking a 1 next to a player's name for an attempt. Circle the 1 for a made attempt. For 1-and-1 attempts, use 1+1. If the player misses the front end, there is no second try so mark it as 1+. Do not award a free throw attempt if a shooting team lane violation nullifies the shot.
Use one chart by marking an "A" next to a player's name for an assist and "TO" next to the name for turnover. Award assists for passes that directly lead to made 2- or 3-point baskets. Record turnovers whenever a player loses possession of the ball out of bounds or to the other team. If a player throws an errant pass that deflects off a teammate, give the turnover to the passer. Record turnovers for any ballhandling or boundary violation that gives the ball to the opponent. Also record turnovers for offensive fouls committed while in possession of the ball.
Basketball statisticians commonly record offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds and total rebounds. Use separate columns for offensive and defensive rebounds and record them with marks next to the player's name. Award an offensive rebound when an offensive player retrieves a missed shot, directs a missed shot to a teammate, controls a tip-in attempt at the basket or attempts a put-back shot. Award a defensive rebound when a defender retrieves a missed shot attempt or directs a missed shot attempt directly to a teammate.
The primary defensive statistics are blocked shots and steals. Award a blocked shot when a defensive player clearly bats or deflects a shot attempt and causes it to miss. If the shot goes in despite the deflection, do not award a blocked shot. The defender does not need to recover the ball to earn a blocked shot. Award a steal when a defender swipes a dribble, takes the ball from an offensive player's hands or intercepts a pass. The defender must recover the ball or move it directly to a teammate to get the steal. Mark blocked shorts and steals in columns next to the players' names. Since there are not usually many blocked shots and steals in a game, you could simply list them by player number in separate columns as they occur in the game.
Jeff Gordon has been reporting and writing since 1977. His most recent work has appeared on websites such as eHow, GolfLink, Ask Men, Open Sports, Fox Sports and MSN. He has previously written for publications such as "The Sporting News" and "The Hockey News." He graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism in 1979 with a bachelor's degree.