Math at Work

January 25, 2017

MANGO Math decided to ask people about how math is involved in their work. We decided to take different professions and each month address a different type of job that elementary and middle school students dream of becoming. First one is Athletics people that have both played the game and then made a job of it.

My name is Dashawn Patrick. I am the owner of Prep Links, a company that assists high school athletes and families, through the college recruiting process. We provided families with videos, recruiting profiles and consultation, equipping them with proactive tools to take control of the recruiting process.

I am also an author, My first book, And Some Rise Above It, is a recommended read for organizations and individuals investing in the lives of children growing up in foster care.

Part of my work as a recruiter is to make sure players look their best when they are filmed so that means training players. Some of the players I work with play baseball or softball. There is a lot of math involved in baseball from stance at the plate to batting position to fielding position.

Batting stance is the key to being a good hitter. Players must realize that the plate is divided into thirds, inside lane, middle lane and outside lane and three planes, high, middle or low. Players need to know how to react position and to get the ball to go to a specific position on the field. All this information take strategy and a knowledge of angles and physics.

Batting order requires a coach to look at percentages of different sorts. First batter is always the player that gets on base most often, regardless if it is a hit, walk or error. Data must be gathered to determine this and coaches often keep a â€œbookâ€ to track such things. Second batter makes the most contact, they have what is called Quality at Bats or QABs. The third player has the best batting average. This is determined by the number of hits divided by at bats. It is usually reported to three decimal places and read without the decimal: A player with a batting average of .300 is â€œbatting three-hundredâ€ that means that they get a â€œhitâ€ put the ball in play and they get on base without the benefit of error or fielderâ€™s choice (someone else on base getting out). A three-hundred average may seem low but Major-League baseball players have an average of around .265. The fourth batter will by your power hitter, the one that can drive the ball the farthest. This pattern is repeated then through the remaining players, ABCD, BCD, BC (if playing with 9 batters). All of this takes strategic thinking and data gathering.

Player position on the field is also mathematical. The players angle to the ball, how far down they get in ready position, where to throw the ball so it gets to the bag in the quickest amount of time. They need to be able to judge how far they can throw the ball, what is the best option when they receive the ball. Some of this I didnâ€™t even know until someone pointed out to me all the math that is involved.

As a students I was average at math. It was not one of my favorite subjects. In high school I never received a grade higher than a C in math. However, at the University of Washington, I earned an A- in one of my math classes. I was ecstatic. I went to class every day, took great notes, asked for help in a timely manner, turned in daily assignments and did well on all of the weekly quizzes. It was the first time Iâ€™d ever committed myself to a math class. In high school, I missed allot of school during my freshman and sophomore years, so I never really grasped allot of the concepts.

I have grown to appreciate the exactness of math, and I respect those who are good at it.

M

y name is Dani Weir and I am an entrepreneur, president of DW Softball. I started DW Softball in Spring 2012 after realizing that my passion for playing softball had transformed into coaching the game. I specialize in teaching players the skills necessary to play via one on one lessons, group lessons, camps and clinics. Their ages range from 7 â€“ 22. I will temporarily employ other coaches to come and help with camps and clinics, as well as to teach certain areas that I am not skilled in (i.e. pitching). This job also entails all aspects of running a business â€“ scheduling, bookkeeping, creative thinking, lesson planning, and continuing education. In addition, I also co-own Field of Champions â€“ a baseball/softball indoor training facility - and am responsible for directing all operations relating to softball. During the Spring, I am head coach of the Woodinville High School Softball team.

www.dweirsoftball.com, Facebook: @DW Softball, Instagram: @dwsoftball

Math is present every day in my profession. I am constantly working with numbers, bookkeeping is an everyday task. Most recently, Iâ€™ve been spending a lot of time on my taxes. Beyond bookkeeping, statistics are methods that I use to track a playerâ€™s progress and also help in determining a line up. My players also use their statistics to build their resumes through their recruiting process. In order to deliver these statistics, the score book needs to be broken down, data collected, and organized into the proper categories (batting average, slugging %, on base %, fielding %, etc.) In regards to measurement, we will often measure distances to create an infield when we are indoors. Iâ€™ll occasionally measure angles when positioning players into athletic stances.

Growing up I was a strong student but math was an area I had to work a little harder at and sometimes took me longer to understand some of the concepts than it did many of my classmates. I sometimes felt that weâ€™d be starting a new unit just when I was starting to understand the last. I think the reason why I did well, even though I wasnâ€™t the most confident in it, was because I worked at it and got help when I needed. Today, the work ethic remains and I still ask for help when needed. Getting it right is important when it comes to other peopleâ€™s money and statistics!