These four stats help coach­es adjust for pace of play to get a more accu­rate view of their team.

A quick math lesson. Player A shot a ster­ling 58 per­cent this sea­son. On the whole, that was a high­er per­cent­age of shots made than team­mate Player B, who shot 51.6 percent.

However, Player B shot 4.3 3-point­ers a game, can­ning 43.4 per­cent of them. Considering how much more valu­able a made three is com­pared to a two, Player B’s shots are typ­i­cal­ly more valu­able than Player A’s—an effec­tive field goal per­cent­age of 60.8 per­cent, com­pared to 57.9 per­cent for Player A, proves it.

That’s just one exam­ple of how tra­di­tion­al count­ing stats often fail to tell the true val­ue of a play­er. They don’t account for pace of play, dif­fer­ent shot types or play­ing time. They’re use­ful, but ulti­mate­ly flawed.

Dean Oliver set out to fix this issue in his 2004 book, “Basketball on Paper”. In it, he unveiled how coaches can more defin­i­tive­ly gauge per­for­mance—the Four Factors. Oliver high­light­ed four main traits that help define win­ning teams: accu­rate shoot­ing, strong rebound­ing, being turnover-averse and get­ting to the free-throw line. He then cre­at­ed sta­tis­tics that show teams how they’re doing in these areas.

How can you take full advantage of this new school of thought? Here’s how each stat is  cal­cu­lat­ed and why it’s impor­tant. 

Effective Field Goal Percentage

Field goal per­cent­age alone is a use­ful stat, but it doesn’t take into account the added ben­e­fit of that extra point from a three. Oliver’s first stat makes it easy to bal­ance the val­ue a 3-point­er provides.

How It Works

This stat adds a weighted val­ue on made three-pointers in a traditional field goal percentage.

In the run-and-gun, pace-and-space ethos of the modern game, high school coaches take tremendous value in winning the effective field goal percentage battle on a nightly basis. Some even consider this the most important factor in how you win high school games.

Read more about effective field goal percentage >

Turnover Percentage

Avoiding turnovers is obviously crit­i­cal to win­ning, but sim­ply count­ing them doesn’t take pace of play into account. A team that walks the ball up the floor is like­ly going to have few­er mis­cues than one that fast breaks at every oppor­tu­ni­ty—but they’re also using far few­er pos­ses­sions. Turnover per­cent­age fac­tors in how many pos­ses­sions each team has, painting a more accu­rate rep­re­sen­ta­tion of ball security.

How It Works

This stat factors pace of play into typ­i­cal turnover stats.

If you believe effective field goal percentage is the most important battle to win in high school hoops, turnover percentage has to be firmly in second place.

Turnover percentages can tell you so much more than a traditional assist-to-turnover ratio. When paired with lineup data, it can give you some ideas about how to better utilize your players’ minutes and minimize their mistakes.

Read more about turnover percentage >

Offensive Rebound Percentage

The more oppor­tu­ni­ties a team has to score, the more like­ly they are to do so. Gobbling up offen­sive rebounds cre­ates more pos­ses­sions and can demor­al­ize a defense that worked hard to get a stop. Once again, pace of play is a fac­tor here. A team that takes more shots is going to get more chances at offen­sive boards.

How It Works 

This stat adjusts rebound­ing rate by accounting for pace.

Sometimes the best transition defense is an offensive rebound. Winning the percentage battle on offensive boards can influence how well you do in effective field percentage that night. It can also inspire new strategies about how to hit the glass.

Read more about offensive rebounding percentage >

Free Throw Factor

Oliver defines free throw rate as more impor­tant than free-throw per­cent­age. Sure, it’s great to make most of your free throws. But if you’re not get­ting to the line often enough, it’s not very use­ful. Teams and play­ers that shoot more free throws earn more oppor­tu­ni­ties at easy points while get­ting the oppo­si­tion into foul trouble.

How It Works 

This stat measures how often a team or play­er gets to the foul line.

This is arguably the most misunderstood of the Four Factors. But there’s huge benefits to measuring this on both ends of the court. For offenses that like to get downhill, drawing a lot of contact on drives can make a difference in the score by the end of the game. For teams that take pride in their defense, this is a good way to measure how disciplined you’re playing.

Read more about free throw factor >


It’s impor­tant to remem­ber that suc­ceed­ing in just one or two of these areas prob­a­bly won’t be enough to get your team over the top. Use the Goals report on Hudl to track your progress in all four.

There’s tremendous value in these numbers. And when you add Hudl Assist to your subscription, you’ll get all of them (for both your team and your opponents) done for you.

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