Feb 27, 2012
Game Film Unlocks Key To Winning For Coach

The StarPhoenix, Bob Florence

http://www.thestarphoenix.com/sports/Basketball+coach+feeds+players+information+they+need/6213534/story.html

The story starts in South America.

In the fall of 2001, the Canadian women’s basketball team is in Sao Luis on the northern coast of Brazil to try to qualify for the world championship. Lisa Thomaidis, 30, of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies is a rookie assistant coach on the national team. One of her jobs for Team Canada is to study game film on videotape.

“This is before digital, Thomaidis said. We had a voltage converter that was black and heavy. It must have weighed 25 pounds. I knew if I messed up I’d be on the first plane out of there. I tested it first on my hair dryer to see if it would work.”

Although Canada did not advance to the world championship, Thomaidis lets the good times roll. She is in her 11th year as an assistant with the national program and is two wins away from going to London for the Olympics this summer. Canada is in a competition in Turkey in four months to determine the final teams for the Games.

As a head coach in university she has reached the upper class. Saskatchewan and Laval are the only two women’s basketball teams in Canada who have been to the national championship tournament each of the last four years. The Huskies are driving for five.

“At this time of year the next game is the last thing you think about when you go to bed and the first thing you think of when you wake up, Thomaidis said. Just don’t do it in the middle of the night or you’ll be up for hours.”

The Huskies play on weekends and train through the week. When the previous game ends and before the next week of practice begins, Thomaidis is in her office at the PAC to watch film. The files on her desktop computer are edited tapes that go back three years, not showing full games, but condensed clips of team tendencies and players’ money moves.

Everyone in the league studies film. The difference is what a coach sees and how he or she taps and squeezes the information.

“You can know everything an opponent is going to do, said Thomaidis. What you have to do is filter the film and relay it to the team. My first few years I went overboard about what an opponent is going to throw at us.

“You don’t want your players thinking A to B to C to D – information overload.”

Read and react is the plan. Most of all, stick to the basics. Work the clock. Take quality shots. Make space on offence and deny it on defence.

Doing the little things right is big.

Thomaidis spends a couple of hours each week watching game film. She studies an opponent’s set plays such as inbounding the ball from the baseline. She sees if the team is doing anything different from the last time it met the Huskies. She looks for nuggets.

In a recent film, she noticed the guard for an opposing team was always standing beyond shooting range and was no threat to score. Instead of five-on-five basketball, it was four-on-five. Advantage defence.

Thomaidis zones in on player skills. Who likes to drive to the hoop? Who dishes? When a pass goes to a player deep in the key with her back to the basket, does she bounce the ball or just turn and shoot? In which direction does she turn? Always to the left? What is a player’s attitude on defence when she’s away from the ball? How does she react if she doesn’t receive an open pass?

Thomaidis could have a library of notes from one film. Instead, Thomaidis puts together about 20 short clips. Assistant coaches Ali Fairbrother and Jacquie Lavallee add to the mix. The nuts and bolts go to the Huskie players by Tuesday.

On Thursday, Thomaidis gives everyone on the team a scouting report where she has handwritten a sentence about each of the key players the Huskies see that weekend.

Besides watching film of other teams, she replays every game by her own club.

“These aren’t highlight films, she said. If all you show your team is what the opponent does well it can be intimidating. Show what doesn’t work. With my own team I can show us getting scored on, but I have to temper it a bit and not be too negative.”

Whether it’s the first game of the season in October or the playoffs in March, she takes the same approach to coaching the Huskies as she did being a post player for the McMaster Marauders in Hamilton 20 years ago.

“I always think the smarter team will win even if it’s overpowered, she said. It’s important that players think intelligently.”

In winning the league final last year, Saskatchewan scored on three possessions against Regina running an offensive set it hadn’t shown the Cougars before.

The Huskies finished second in the country in 2011, graduated four fifth-year players and started 0-3 this season. Now as the playoffs begin they are contenders again. Rookie Dallyce Emmerson shows veteran savvy. Kiera Lyons, who seemed frustrated with her game last fall after transferring from Augustana College in Camrose, Alta., is shaking and baking. Taya Keujer and Jordyn Halvorson don’t have big stats, but provide quality minutes off the bench.

While a season is defined by wins, a program is measured by progress.

A buzzer in the gym ends every game. As she sits alone in her office for a morning film session, coach Thomaidis has her game face on, preparing for the next one.

Film Unlocks Key To Winning For Coach

The StarPhoenix, Bob Florence

http://www.thestarphoenix.com/sports/Basketball+coach+feeds+players+information+they+need/6213534/story.html

The story starts in South America.

In the fall of 2001, the Canadian women’s basketball team is in Sao Luis on the northern coast of Brazil to try to qualify for the world championship. Lisa Thomaidis, 30, of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies is a rookie assistant coach on the national team. One of her jobs for Team Canada is to study game film on videotape.

“This is before digital, Thomaidis said. We had a voltage converter that was black and heavy. It must have weighed 25 pounds. I knew if I messed up I’d be on the first plane out of there. I tested it first on my hair dryer to see if it would work.”

Although Canada did not advance to the world championship, Thomaidis lets the good times roll. She is in her 11th year as an assistant with the national program and is two wins away from going to London for the Olympics this summer. Canada is in a competition in Turkey in four months to determine the final teams for the Games.

As a head coach in university she has reached the upper class. Saskatchewan and Laval are the only two women’s basketball teams in Canada who have been to the national championship tournament each of the last four years. The Huskies are driving for five.

“At this time of year the next game is the last thing you think about when you go to bed and the first thing you think of when you wake up, Thomaidis said. Just don’t do it in the middle of the night or you’ll be up for hours.”

The Huskies play on weekends and train through the week. When the previous game ends and before the next week of practice begins, Thomaidis is in her office at the PAC to watch film. The files on her desktop computer are edited tapes that go back three years, not showing full games, but condensed clips of team tendencies and players’ money moves.

Everyone in the league studies film. The difference is what a coach sees and how he or she taps and squeezes the information.

“You can know everything an opponent is going to do, said Thomaidis. What you have to do is filter the film and relay it to the team. My first few years I went overboard about what an opponent is going to throw at us.

“You don’t want your players thinking A to B to C to D – information overload.”

Read and react is the plan. Most of all, stick to the basics. Work the clock. Take quality shots. Make space on offence and deny it on defence.

Doing the little things right is big.

Thomaidis spends a couple of hours each week watching game film. She studies an opponent’s set plays such as inbounding the ball from the baseline. She sees if the team is doing anything different from the last time it met the Huskies. She looks for nuggets.

In a recent film, she noticed the guard for an opposing team was always standing beyond shooting range and was no threat to score. Instead of five-on-five basketball, it was four-on-five. Advantage defence.

Thomaidis zones in on player skills. Who likes to drive to the hoop? Who dishes? When a pass goes to a player deep in the key with her back to the basket, does she bounce the ball or just turn and shoot? In which direction does she turn? Always to the left? What is a player’s attitude on defence when she’s away from the ball? How does she react if she doesn’t receive an open pass?

Thomaidis could have a library of notes from one film. Instead, Thomaidis puts together about 20 short clips. Assistant coaches Ali Fairbrother and Jacquie Lavallee add to the mix. The nuts and bolts go to the Huskie players by Tuesday.

On Thursday, Thomaidis gives everyone on the team a scouting report where she has handwritten a sentence about each of the key players the Huskies see that weekend.

Besides watching film of other teams, she replays every game by her own club.

“These aren’t highlight films, she said. If all you show your team is what the opponent does well it can be intimidating. Show what doesn’t work. With my own team I can show us getting scored on, but I have to temper it a bit and not be too negative.”

Whether it’s the first game of the season in October or the playoffs in March, she takes the same approach to coaching the Huskies as she did being a post player for the McMaster Marauders in Hamilton 20 years ago.

“I always think the smarter team will win even if it’s overpowered, she said. It’s important that players think intelligently.”

In winning the league final last year, Saskatchewan scored on three possessions against Regina running an offensive set it hadn’t shown the Cougars before.

The Huskies finished second in the country in 2011, graduated four fifth-year players and started 0-3 this season. Now as the playoffs begin they are contenders again. Rookie Dallyce Emmerson shows veteran savvy. Kiera Lyons, who seemed frustrated with her game last fall after transferring from Augustana College in Camrose, Alta., is shaking and baking. Taya Keujer and Jordyn Halvorson don’t have big stats, but provide quality minutes off the bench.

While a season is defined by wins, a program is measured by progress.

A buzzer in the gym ends every game. As she sits alone in her office for a morning film session, coach Thomaidis has her game face on, preparing for the next one.






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