The eye test is always valu­able, but data tru­ly shows coach­es their team is growing.

One of the main goals every bas­ket­ball coach has is for his team to grow. Ideally the play­ers will gel and improve as the sea­son goes on. If all goes to plan, this growth impacts the team so heav­i­ly, it looks com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent than it did in the beginning.

It’s crit­i­cal to rec­og­nize whether your team is improv­ing — if not, some changes in scheme, line­up or over­all approach might be nec­es­sary. The eye test will give you an idea on if your team is improv­ing, but impor­tant indi­ca­tors can hide beneath the surface.

Statistics are a big help. They remove any sub­jec­tiv­i­ty and unearth trends that might not be so obvi­ous at first glance.

From con­ver­sa­tions with coach­es, we picked some num­bers that help shed light on how much a team is improv­ing dur­ing the season.

Lineup Data

For what­ev­er rea­son, some groups of play­ers just play bet­ter togeth­er than oth­ers. Certain line­ups have a par­tic­u­lar chem­istry that doesn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly make sense on paper, but pro­duces poet­ry on the court.

The line­up data can help you dis­cov­er killer com­bi­na­tions you haven’t considered.

The num­bers often point out mis­takes in my think­ing,” Rob Brost, the head coach at Bolingbrook High School (Ind.), said. ​What I see in the data some­times points out errors in the ways that I think. That is my first red flag, like ​Maybe I’ve got the wrong line­up out here.’ You can look and say, ​We had line­up A out there in crunch time and it wasn’t very effec­tive. But in the next game, we had a dif­fer­ent group out there and that group was much more effective.’”

Not just for judg­ing over­all effec­tive­ness, line­up data also helps coach­es make bet­ter sub­sti­tu­tions in spe­cif­ic situations.

If I need my free-throw shoot­ing team in there at the end of the game, I know who’s going in,” Ryan Fretz, the head coach at Clyde High School (Ohio), said. ​If we need a rebound, we know who’s going in. If I need scor­ing effi­cien­cy, I know who’s going in. Numbers don’t lie. Who is my best defen­sive team?”

Turnover Percentage

It’s tough to have an effi­cient offense when a team coughs up the ball con­sis­tent­ly. These mis­cues not only bog down the attack, but they can also lead to eas­ing points for the opposition.

You can iden­ti­fy inef­fi­cien­cies by exam­in­ing both team and indi­vid­ual turnover rates, then use the infor­ma­tion to affect strat­e­gy or prac­tice habits.

If over the last five games those have got­ten worse, we’re adding drills in prac­tice to help with that,” Greg Miller, the head coach at Robinsdale-Armstrong High School (Minn.), said. ​And it makes kids aware. If they’re aware, they can say, ​Oh, OK, I see what’s going on,’ and hope­ful­ly they’ll take bet­ter care of the bas­ket­ball or box out more just by being aware of it.”

Shot Charts

A few hot shoot­ing games can sug­gest a play­er has devel­oped an out­side jumper, or that a cold shoot­er has regressed. These con­clu­sions might be true, but the small sam­ple size could skew ear­ly-sea­son assessments.

Allow shot charts to bring objec­tiv­i­ty into the equa­tion. They show both strong and weak points for teams and indi­vid­u­als. These num­bers help iden­ti­fy where play­ers need to focus dur­ing prac­tice. They also help you see where cer­tain ath­letes excel, then design plays to get them to those spots.

We have a play­er who was not shoot­ing well from the 3-point line and that was her favorite shot,” Christian Selich, Millington HS girls coach (Mich.), said. ​I looked at her shot chart one day and notice inside the arc she’s shoot­ing about 55 per­cent and out­side it’s about 17 per­cent. We brought that up and said, ​You might want to get your­self the ball inside a lit­tle more.’”

The eye test will always be a major part of eval­u­a­tion, but let data help. The num­bers can reveal trends that aren’t so obvi­ous on the sur­face, and help pre­pare your team for a strong play­off run. Set goals at the start of the sea­son and mon­i­tor the stats through­out the year to find where your team thrives and where it needs help.

Source: Hudl

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