How to Use Last Year’s Data to Craft Your Preseason Plan

Examine your team’s stats from last season to discover clues into how you should prepare for this year.

How to Use Last Year’s Data to Craft Your Preseason Plan

Examine your team’s stats from last season to discover clues into how you should prepare for this year.

Basketball season is in sight, and it’s time to start creating strategies for the upcoming year. You have a system in place, but your team underwent changes in the offseason. Seniors departed, players may have transferred in and out and last year’s supporting players had an entire summer to develop their games for a larger role.

Juggling all these factors can make planning this year’s strategy a difficult task. Let the data help.

Stats don’t solve every problem, but they can go a long way toward helping you spot strong points or inefficiencies within the team. Link those numbers to video and you have a very powerful preparation tool at your disposal. Here are some things to consider as you sift through the stats to craft your 2017-18 plan.

Account for What’s Headed Out

Replacing departed players is the most onerous part of any offseason. After spending years of growing, developing and getting to know these kids, you’re forced to replace them. And by nature, seniors generally account for a good portion of a team’s production. Filling their minutes, scoring and defense isn’t easy.

But before you start to build a plan for their replacements, you need to see what you’ve lost. Take a deep dive into your seniors’ stats to discover what gaps need to be covered.

If you lost your top 3-point shooters, consider extra practice time on shooting to develop some new snipers. If your center and anchor of your 2-3 defense headed out, maybe you’ll have to adapt your scheme this season.

Research the Returnees

Once you know what to replace, you can start looking for those guys to fill in the gaps. This can be tricky because these players usually have contributed in fewer minutes or smaller roles so you don’t have a lot of data on them.

Fortunately, advanced stats can adjust for that lack of playing time. And when linked to video, the numbers come to life with a single click. Here are some numbers to consider that go deeper than the counting stats:

Value Point System

More and more coaches are adopting this stat, and for good reason. VPS is an all-encompassing statistic that evaluates all of a player’s contributions and packages them into one number. It provides a reliable image of performance regardless of minutes played.

Plus-Minus

This stat accounts for how the score fluctuated when a particular player or lineup was on the floor. A positive plus-minus means your team outscored the opposition. The higher the number, the more effective your team functioned with a certain athlete on the court.

While this is more useful for lineups than individuals, it can help you find winning players who perform important roles outside of scoring. It can also expose players who appear very valuable because of their offense, when in reality their scoring is empty and inefficient.

Shot Charts

shot chart in itself is a powerful tool because it shows how well a player shoots from each part of the court. But when linked to video, it displays how and why that player got those shots, taking things to a higher level.

Scout Smarter.

Use this free checklist during video review to pinpoint key moments, stats and tendencies on the court.

See where your players struggled and consider running more drills in practice from those areas. Identify where your athletes excel and create plays that get them in those positions.

Set Goals Based on the Data

Identify what key numbers you want to track and set standards you believe will lead to wins. For example, if your team won every time you grabbed 70 percent of available defensive rebounds last year, make that the standard.

Goals are critical because they set a bar to reach for. They give teams an objective to chase and help determine what winning looks like for a given team. Consider tying incentives to your goals. While punishments such as extra sprints are common when a team fails to reach its goals, positive reinforcement — such as a pizza party or team event — can be just as impactful.

While you can’t rely solely on last year’s stats to determine this season’s plan, they can go a long way towards shaping your strategy. Identifying some important numbers can help you realize what you need to replace, which players can step into bigger roles and how you’ll improve on last year’s results.

Want to learn more about today’s top trending stats and how you can use them? Check out our basketball stat guide to dive deeper into the numbers.

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