This is a short post on understanding odds of success. The same logic can be applied to any sport skill and explains why striving for perfection is the goal. This is also why the little things matter on teams and how you must pay attention to the detail.
We are knee deep in national routine practicing and the students compete on Saturday in Disney. Good luck to all the teams that are going down to compete. Right now athletes on different teams throughout the country are working hard to make their stunts, pyramids, baskets, and tumbling all hit to counts. This takes lots of hard work and effort, and when it comes time for nationals; luck. The reason for this is probability. When you throw a routine you are working with the probability that each part will hit.
For example, if everything in the routine has no chance of missing you have a 100% chance of the routine hitting on the nationals mat. If everything in the routine has no chance of missing except for a pyramid which hits 90% of the time you have a 90% chance of the routine hitting on the nationals mat. Once we add in more than one element that misses on occasion the math starts to get interesting. Now let’s say the elite stunts hit 90% of the time and the final pyramid hits 90% of the time and everything else is solid. What do you think your chance of the routine hitting full out will be?
Your chance will be 81% of the time due to the fact that you multiple the probability of each element hitting (being successful). So your odds are much better than subtracting 10% each time, but not much better. Let’s use an example now where each element in a routine has a 99% chance of hitting. You throw 5 elites stunts, 6 intermediate stunts, 6 pyramids, 20 tumbling passes, 20 standing tumbling, and 8 baskets. If each of those elements independently hits 99% of the time your chance of hitting on the nationals mat is: 52 percent. This is why you need to not only keep training hard, but strive for perfection in every element that you throw. If there is even the slightest margin for failure in any element your risk of having a drop in the routine comes up markedly.
Don’t take this information as an excuse for failure, but as another reason to redouble your efforts and try harder to make everything as perfect as you can. You can only control the elements you are in, so exert that control to the highest degree that you can and find ways to make things work, not excuses for why they didn’t. Each time that you practice your skills you decrease your risk of failure. The more you do this, the better the odds get for you and your teammates. Good luck to all of the teams competing at nationals and thanks as always for taking the time to read this.