A Basketball Statistician is a game official who is responsible for recording all basketball actions (e.g. rebound, assist, block etc) for both teams during a game. The effective recording of statistics usually requires at least two people. One to “call” the game by commentating every event which requires statistical recording and the other to “record” the game by making the statistical entries and following the caller’s instructions. The ideal operation for the statistics bench is to use an additional two persons. One is the “backup” who operates a backup computer in the event the main statistics computer crashes and the second person is an “observer” who assists the “caller” if any statistics should be missed. New statisticians are often set up on a training laptop to practice inputting the basketball actions during a live game.
Statisticians are generally affiliated with a particular association and are required to officiate at home games. However, it’s not unusual for some statisticians to officiate for more than one association throughout the season. Each association has a dedicated person assigned to the role of Statistics Coordinator. The Statistics Coordinator oversees the provision of statistics at each association.
What Does Each Statistician Do?
The caller interprets all statistics in a game and calls them to the computer operators.
The computer operators (inputters) record the game by making the statistical entries in to the FIBA Live Stats application by following the caller’s instructions.
The spotter provides general assistance to the statistics bench which may include checking the accuracy of the statistics recorded, noting any that are missed or making notes the computer operator or caller request.
Between play, the statisticians are required to check their stats for player fouls and points against the scorer’s sheet. They then supply each team a copy of the stats so the coaches can identify scoring patterns, player productivity and leading scorers and rebounders.
Why Become a Statisitican?
- It’s fun.
- You get the best seat in the house
- It’s a great way to be involved in basketball outside of coaching, playing and refereeing
- You provide a valuable service to the wider basketball community
- Learn and appreciate more about the game of basketball
- Meet people with similar interests
- It’s not a time-consuming position as there are no duties to perform outside of the actual game
- You do not need to provide any equipment
- There is a pathway to progress to the international level of competition
To become a statistician, you must be 16 years or older and have a basic knowledge of basketball. Some experience with computers is also advantageous.
Prospective statisticians complete a Level 1 Statistician’s Course (approx 2 hours) which includes:
- Introductory information on statistical definitions and the recommended calling protocol;
- Practical information on how to use the FIBA Live Stats software application; and
- Take the Level 1 Accrediation Course
After you have achieved your Level 1 accreditation, and have practiced officiating at a few games, you are ready to begin your new position as a Level 1 Basketball Statistician. Your accreditation is recognised across Australia.
Statisticians officiate at most senior competitions around Australia. Depending on their level of accreditation, Queensland statisticians have the opportunity to officiate at the:
- National Basketball League (NBL)
- Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL)
- National Wheelchair Basketball League (NWBL)
- Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball League (WNWBL)
- U18 and U16 Queensland State Championships (Division 1)
Queensland statisticians are also required at times to officiate at various tournaments throughout Queensland and across Australia, such as pre-season NBL and WNBL tournaments and Australian Junior Championships.
Several Queensland statisticians officiated at the Commonwealth Games in Queensland in 2018 and the INAS Global Games in 2019.
The approved statistics software is called FIBA Live Stats (FLS). FLS Version 7 has been developed off the back of extensive research about how fans, leagues and other stakeholders (e.g. media channels) consume basketball statistics.
It varies from association to association, though some associations now pay a nominal fee to their statisticians.