Connecting Fields: ACMS and athletics collaboration benefits students in sports and science

Author: Deanna Csomo McCool

Soccer player Thomas Ueland jumping and surrounded by cameras

To someone who’s not into math, the formula statistician Alan Huebner chalked on the blackboard in Hurley Hall could have looked like the formula to…well, anything.

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But there’s a clue in the graph he drew adjacent to it, with “performance” labeled on the Y axis and “day” on the X. Data from an athlete’s training schedule –whether for running or weightlifting – can be added to the formula, then plotted on a graph. The result can show an athlete when to begin to taper down before a race or competition.

Yes, of course there’s math for that.

“A big way people fall in love with statistics is through sports,” said Jaihee Choi, a junior majoring in applied and computational mathematics and statistics (ACMS), with an economics supplemental. And while not all athletes fall in love with statistics, knowing their own statistics (or those of their team) can benefit them on and off the field.

Student athletes at Notre Dame have been training for peak performance since the days of Knute Rockne. And now, the University’s 750 athletes have the backing of technology and data science, thanks to a recently established endowment that pays the salaries for two ACMS students who develop real-world experience while giving coaches and athletes concrete tools that will aid in their training.

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