Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Highland Park volleyball coach takes fantasy sports approach to gauging team's successes
UNIVERSITY PARK — Intangibles and gut feelings have their place in coaching, but Michael Dearman’s philosophy goes several steps further.
The veteran Highland Park volleyball coach preoccupies himself with empirical analysis and uses a number of innovative statistics to measure his team and personnel.
In much the same way that sabermetricians brought a wealth of new statistics to baseball, Dearman goes beyond the basic kills, passing and serving stats with which most people are already familiar.
It’s hard to argue with the results: Dearman won his 500th career match Friday against Terrell.
“Coaches have to coach to their personality,” Dearman said. “For me it’s looking at these numbers and trying to maximize our strengths and minimize our weaknesses.”
To measure a player’s serve-receive passing, for example, Dearman will assign a score between zero and three for each pass. A zero represents an error and a three is a perfect pass. That information is then applied in much the same way as a batting average in baseball.
If a player scores 24 points out of a possible 30 on 10 passes, she is an .800 passer. A passing score of more than .700 is excellent.
Dearman also divides the court into three equal parts and measures pass efficiency from each sector. If one of his players scores .750 on the right side and left side but only .500 in the center, he has a better sense of where to focus her next practice.
Dearman also analyzes rotation efficiency, the transition game and a whole lot more. All of the results are shared with the players so that they can better understand their own progress and shortcomings.
“It’s like looking at the game from a different perspective,” Dearman said. “I want to base my decisions on as much information as possible.”
Several of Dearman’s methods stem from Rod Schall, his former coach at Graceland University, and some are of his own creation.
Dearman received an MBA from Stephen F. Austin in 1993 and spent the next three years in private business, so it’s easy to see where his knack for spreadsheets and numbers come from.
“I approach volleyball in a very business-like manner,” Dearman said. “There is a bottom line. Are you making money? Can you make more? That’s the approach I take to coaching: How do we maximize our bottom line? For me this is it.”
Grapevine takes team titles at Richardson Invitational
For the second straight week, the Grapevine boys and girls cross country teams placed first in weekend competition with team titles at the Richardson Invitational at Breckinridge Park on Saturday.
The girls finished with 21 team points and six runners in the top 10, including Sarah Miller’s first-place finish in 20:34. Greenhill placed second with 64 points.
Alex Cleveland (16:17) placed first for the boys, leading Grapevine to 24 team points. Four Grapevine runners placed in the top ten. Plano East finished second with 52 points.
Flower Mound Marcus sweeps Marcus II Invitational: At the second installment of its home meet, Flower Mound Marcus swept the competition at the Marcus II Invitational on Saturday at West Lake Park.
The Marcus girls finished with 23 team points and four runners in the top 10, including first-place finisher Madeleine Reed (19:05). Keller Timber Creek finished second with 83 points.
Jacob Babbidge (16:39) led the boys with a third-place finish. Four Marcus runners finished in the top 10 to score 35 points, edging second-place Keller Timber Creek (37 points).
Staff writer Kyle Fredrickson contributed to this report.
Follow David Just on Twitter at @DavidJustDMN.