Article courtesy of Breakthrough Basketball
Author: Patrick Gridley
Coaches may wonder, why track statistics for every basketball game? It takes time and resources, and in the end you are left only with numbers on a page, not points on the board. The response comes down to two factors: knowledge and accountability.
Knowledge equals power. There is a reason this old adage has stood the test of time. The more you know about a situation, be you general, doctor, or coach, the more you can prepare for possible outcomes and plan for the opposition’s approach. As an example, if you know that your opponent manages to secure a great percentage of offensive rebounds, you can use that knowledge to stress the importance of every man boxing out. You can also alert your players to the possibility of a fast break if the other team is crashing the boards too hard. A little statistical understanding can neutralize an enemy threat and prepare a counterattack, improving your chances at victory.
The most advanced, cutting edge coaches have used statistics like localized shooting percentages to adjust their field goal attempts for years, such as Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs, whose teams have embraced the statistically superior corner 3. One need not look hard to see their offense has thrived as a result.
Of course not every team is the Spurs, and they employ a lot more talent and workers than the average coach, but statistics can lead to improvements at every level of the game. When you know which of your players is the best shooter you can work to get him or her more, and better, looks at the basket. And awareness of your best rebounding lineup, for example, might lead to your team securing a key board late in the game. Knowledge is power.
It might seem like a lot of work for the average overworked coach to manage all of this recording and number-crunching, but helpful programs are available to make the process fast, simple and easy to understand. There are apps, such as Breakthrough Stats, that put almost every conceivable game stat right in your hands.
With the knowledge you now have you will be able to demonstrate to your players exactly what they did well and what needs improvement, game by game. Being able to hold your team accountable for their play will lead to increased effort, increased performance, and improved statistics – which will reinforce their success.
Effort and execution are paramount to winning in basketball. Rebounding is famously dependent upon the amount of work players put in, and with numbers to back you up you will be able to see which players have the best rebounding percentages and which need work. If your star player isn’t pulling his weight on the glass, a look at the numbers will tell you, and could just be the key to sparking improved effort and better results.
You can look at your team’s success rate on lay-up shots, for example, and tailor your practices to improve that percentage for your next games. Turnovers can be tracked by team, by player, and by situation. You can turn these negatives into positive coaching opportunities and show your players how to master the fast break, utilize the swing pass, or the basic power of the bounce pass. All of these concepts can be backed up by the statistics you employ, and your players will respond to the increased accountability, leading to better results.
Know Your Stats
By knowing what stats mean, how to record them properly, and how to employ them, you can take your team’s success to a whole new level. It starts with knowledge and accountability, but where you take it from there is only limited to your effort and imagination.