Each season is its own entity that brings new challenges. Rosters shift, schedules are adjusted and coaches come and go. A team’s outlook can drastically change between the end of last season to the start of this one.
Though the circumstances are different, there is much to be learned from last year to prepare for the upcoming season. A review of the stats and video will uncover some serious insights that will shape the way you design your 2017-18 plans.
Create "Teach Tapes"
Whether it’s incoming freshmen, promoted junior varsity players or new assistant coaches, you’re going to have individuals in the locker room who are unfamiliar with your schedule, playing style and overall philosophy. You need to get them on the same page with the rest of the roster as quickly as possible.
Compile video of your most commonly-run plays and moments that showcase your tactics, such as your frenzied full-court press or your offensive philosophy against a 2-3 zone. Allowing the newcomers to visualize these styles played out in front of them will help them learn more quickly.
Brett Norris, the head coach at Hilliard-Bradley High School (Ohio), has been doing this for years. He creates videos of what he plans on teaching and installing early on in practice and shares it with the team.
“It’s great to look back and say, ‘This is exactly what this is going to look like when we install it. This is what we want it to look like,’” Norris said. “We can use it as a forward teaching tool.”
Know Your Numbers
Statistics are a great way to get a handle on your team’s performance. They help eliminate biases and show you areas in which you are proficient and others where you can improve.
Stats are extremely helpful in identifying which players might be capable of filling the shoes of departed seniors from last year. VPS and shot charts provide information that isn’t affected by playing time, so you can envision what an athlete might do if given a larger role. Lineup data shows which groups of players excelled together on the court, as well as those that weren’t as successful. Consider altering your rotations based off of these numbers.
The best part is that it’s all linked to video. A simple click pulls up a playlist of all videos linked to a stat. Want to see why your point guard was so turnover-prone? Watch the video of his miscues and help him make adjustments. Or if your big man excels from the right block but struggles from the left, watch video of both sides to find what’s ailing him.
Teach the Newcomers
With graduations and transfers, your roster likely looks a lot different than it did last year. Some players who haven't seed the court much will now be counted on to contribute without much experience to fall back on.
Shorten that adjustment period by sharing video of the player they’re replacing. Show them successful moments and have them mentally run through the plays themselves.
“If Player B is kind of going to be in the role of Player A, who has graduated, you’re able to show that,” Norris said. “When Player A is a good player, you can say, ‘These are the kinds of things that you can learn by watching the film, areas of your game that need to grow as you develop into your role.’
“Most kids are visual learners and the film is a great way to teach. To be able to give them examples of past players who have done things well is a really, really powerful teaching tool.”
Be Prepared to Adjust
The best coaches are able to adapt their schemes to match their current personnel without overhauling the system. It’s important to have a staple coaching style that influences how your team plays, but you also need to have the flexibility to make tweaks that match your current roster.
If your offense has centered around the talents of your now-graduated post player last year, it might not make sense to mimic that scheme if you don’t have another player capable of filling that role. Similarly, if you’re losing your top three 3-point shooters, maybe consider less long balls and emphasize getting the ball inside.
Regardless of your play style or how much roster turnover you’re dealing with, video is the solution that can help get everyone on the same page. To learn how to get this power in your hands, check it out here.