Use technology to take you forward as a basketball coach From Kevin Hoffman

The offseason is a time for evaluation and correction. Whether you run a program that just won a championship or one that struggled to win a single game, it’s the one thing all teams have in common before next fall.

Where you differ is how you go about doing it.

The prevalence of technology to film games or track and analyze performance has added another dimension to how we approach the season. You still tinker with offensive schemes and redesign practices to suit your needs, but data allows you to make better decisions. That’s if you’re taking advantage of it.

With each game I attended over the past five months, I made a point to observe how coaching staffs logged team performance. Some schools filmed games from multiple angles, providing them with a variety of perspectives when they broke down footage. Others had multiple statisticians with tablets, going beyond rebounds, turnovers and shot charts. In other words, it’s becoming uncommon just to see a student manager or assistant coach with a clipboard.

If you’re not among the programs taking advantage of the latest innovations available to you, it’s time to reconsider. I understand there are barriers — cost and resources among them — but nobody says you need to dive in head first. There are inexpensive apps that can help coaches with offseason training regimens, or software programs that can analyze film and statistics to give you a comprehensive break down of how your team stacks up against the competition.

If you’re not filming games, start there. If you’re using one camera, consider adding a second. If your stat keeper is only tracking the typical box score basics, find a second statistician and dive deeper into the numbers. And if you’re not doing enough to scout your opponents and learn from their processes, sit down with your staff and brainstorm changes — no matter how small.

There will be coaches who shun the analytics movement, but it’s no accident that championship-winning teams, especially at the professional levels, are miles ahead of everyone else in gathering and analyzing information on players and team performance. Technology allows you to go places that were impossible 20 years ago, but it only helps if you’re open to change.

You don’t need to turn your program upside down. But as we begin the long offseason, begin to evaluate not only your program structure and schemes but the process by which you make those decisions. You might be surprised by what you find and where it takes you.

Kevin Hoffman is the Editorial Director of Winning Hoops magazine. He can be reached at [email protected].

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