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NSW Nov Branch Meeting by Dr Stephen Woodcock, Just not cricket: How did sports science get stuck in the statistical outfield?

  • 25 Nov 2020
  • 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM (UTC+11:00)
  • Zoom

The last monthly seminar we have this year is scheduled on Wed, 25th November, and we are very happy to have Dr. Stephen Woodcock from UTS to shared with us about his statistical research in sports science area.

Please note for security reasons, you will need to register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Any questions, please feel free to contact:

Date: Wed, 25th November 2020

Time: From 6pm. Presentation on Zoom

Just not cricket: How did sports science get stuck in the statistical outfield?


Dr Stephen Woodcock, University of Technology Sydney

Despite the vast commercial value and sizeable research interest in the field, studies in sports science lie largely outside the statistical mainstream. Few within the statistics community have collaborated with practitioners in sports science. Consequently, many of the commonly-used quantitative techniques within the discipline have been developed “in house” and are largely unknown by the wider field of academic statisticians. Indeed, many studies within sports science are expected by reviewers to use the common techniques of the field, often instead of more applicable or more suitable statistical methods. On the few occasions that some of the widely-applied concepts have drawn the attention of methodological statisticians, the result has been strong criticism of the field and a call for greater statistical understanding for sports practitioners.

Acknowledging some issues inherent to the field – small sample sizes, plus a willingness to accept findings with a weaker evidence base than in some other fields – this talk highlights some of the concepts and challenges unique to working with sports data and discusses some of their limitations as well as the criticisms levelled at them. This gulf between the statistical mainstream and practitioners in sports science represents an exciting opportunity for researchers in both fields; to improve statistical practice within the discipline as well as widen the application and impact of statistical theory.


Stephen Woodcock is Senior Lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). He is an applied mathematician with main research interests in applied probability and mathematical biology. In addition to his primary affiliation in the Mathematical Sciences Discipline, he is also an associate member of UTS’s Climate Change Cluster (C3) and UTS’s Human Performance Research Centre (HPRC) at Moore Park. He has a strong record of engagement outside of the academic community and has been a frequent contributor of articles to The Conversation with almost 350,000 reads to date, and republication by the Sydney Morning Herald, Brisbane Times, SBS, ABC and IFL Science.

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