Pick your son’s sport based on predicted height and weight

Subtitle 1: Get your son into Harvard through the backdoor of sports!  (The other backdoor of legacy is significantly more difficult)

Subtitle 2: Why I might not have chosen baseball if I knew I’d end up weighing 155 pounds

While passion and interest should be the primary determinants in choosing a sport, it can only help to get a sense of what body type tends to succeed in different sports. Earlier, we wrote a post on Choosing your daughter’s sport based on body type, now we tackle the male question.

Like that earlier spreadsheet, the goal of the spreadsheet is to create a useful output graph – height on the x-axis, weight on the y-axis, and a unique marker highlighting individual athletes for each different sport. The user can then input their projected  height and weight, and see which sports might align the best with their future self.

Inputs: The athlete dataset we’ll try to use here are the rosters of the Harvard men’s athletic teams. Where they don’t disclose height and weight information, we’ll try to search for other similar college programs that do disclose it. We couldn’t find anything for skiing and sailing (sailing??), and we left off track & field because the events are so varied and wrestling as it offers a variety of weight classes.


Output – We ran the same process as we did before. We won’t detail the process as we do in our typical posts, so let’s skip to the output graphs!

Plot of all players on every roster –  This output seems a bit jumbled, all one can really tell is that football players are quite large.  Maybe we can average the players in each sport to make some more sense out of it….

Image 1

Plot of Average Height and Weight by Sport

Image 2
Let’s have some fun and break out height and weight averages by position within each sport. From the previous chart, a person of average or shorter height might shy away from volleyball, but it’s possible that they could have been a great setter or a libero, which doesn’t require 99th percentile height.

Image 3

Oh, what could have been…I added a red star in the above chart for my 5’10, 155 pound self …If I had known that’s where I’d end up, maybe fencing or squash would have made more sense! I have no regrets though, I loved baseball! (Also, it led to this post on Baseball Sign Stealing with Spreadsheets, for what it’s worth)

(Advanced) It might be difficult to read that last chart as there are so many data series, and it is hard to match up the color of the data series to the point on the chart. Here, we use this tutorial from Microsoft to put in VBA code to label each series on the chart with their appropriate label.

Harvard Sports by Position, by average height and weight:

Image 4

Good luck in your athletic and spreadsheet endeavors!


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