With 64 titles, including 38 Greek League cham­pi­onships, 19 Greek Cups and six prestigious EuroLeague trophies, Panathinaikos BC OPAP are the most successful team in Greek basketball and one of the most successful in EuroLeague history. But staying on top means always continuing to improve both on and off the court. Learn about how this basketball heavyweight has upgraded their analysis offering to add a new weapon to their already successful arsenal of talents.

For Panathinaikos BC OPAP Technical Director Nikos Pappas, the decision to upgrade the analysis offering in 2015 at the Athens-based club was attractive for many reasons, but essentially it was the ability to cover all areas of the club that stood out the most.

“We want to have one solution for anything, for our academy, our men's team and of course our scouting department,” said Pappas. “So this aspect was most crucial for us and it’s again very important to have only one solution, one software, so that way we can exchange all of our video easier and faster.”

Each year has brought on an increasing number of fixtures to an already congested calendar as Panathinaikos compete on several fronts both domestically and in Europe. Calendar congestion means less time available between fixtures, analysis needs to be completed on a much quicker turnaround.

“It's different now than it has been since the last two years now schedules are running faster and the amount of games is also increasing,” said Pappas. We need to be faster, we need to be quicker and we have to be more efficient. So we needed a tool that can help us break down practices, games and scrimmages, as well as individual player analysis with very limited time.”

With 38 Greek Championships to their name, Panathinaikos BC are the most successful team in Greek basketball history.

Hudl Sportscode is the tool that Panathinaikos have embraced to execute their workflow for pre-game, during the game itself and for post-match review.

“To prepare for a game we always watch at least the last five games of our opponent and our three assistant coaches analyze the video in the three different elements - offence, defence and individual skills,” said Pappas. “So when the assistant coaches analyze these last five games, they cut the film and at the same time they can calculate the statistics we need by tagging in Sportscode. 

That's why we like Hudl Sportscode, as you can do so many things at the same time. You can cut, edit and film. You can calculate stats, for individual personnel, offense, defence, set plays. All of this by clicking a button. We do all of the editing at the same time at the same time we perform our analysis, so it means we can do two jobs at the same time.”

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We need to be faster, we need to be quicker and we have to be more efficient. Nikos Pappas - Panathinaikos BC OPAP Technical Director

The Panathinaikos coaching team often have three days to prepare - with the first day being offensive training, the second defence, and the third individual skills. The Panathinaikos Technical Director goes on to explain how this training strategy is executed using video.

"There are many advanced stats that we try to keep. But one of the main stats that we keep is the other team’s offense. So we tried to calculate the other team set plays, which plays are more effective and they produce more scoring for the other team. We tried to measure these set plays and build our defensive strategy around this.

It's very important for us to calculate how many times they run a play. So how many times they score or how many times they don't score through this play, or which defences playing certain plays are more effective, so we can stop their scoring production.

So we build our strategy through these statistics, and it's very important for us because it shows what we need to practice, which kind of defences we need to use. Finally, we have individual skills like angles of dribbling, shooting form and fundamental skills.”

Win or lose, post-match review is always vital for any successful team to take further learnings into the next game. Panathinaikos use small focus groups to complete this analysis before heading back to the practice court.

“Ahead of the next practice we aim to cut film for every player for the next day, having small individual groups of people who we want to show,” said Pappas. “We show mistakes and also show the good actions. To do this, we need a tool that provides us the security and quickness that is needed. This is the challenge, as our coaching staff are very demanding, they demand things and they want to have it quick and fast.

    Panathinaikos BC OPAP Head Coach Oded Kattash.

    The great thing for us is that this software never crashes, which is critical for us given this is something we need to use everyday for our coaching. Things aren’t like they were in the past where we had only one or two meetings per week, it’s now a daily task for us to meet and analyze video, so the software needs to be reliable – which it definitely is.

    The players also enjoy the feedback process - most of the time we are sending them their individual videos, which is something that keeps them focused. They want to watch themselves, they want to watch what they do wrong or what they do well. The players very much they like to self-reflect and it’s the visual aspect that helps improve their game.”

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    Assistant and Academy Coach Mike Rachovitsas using Hudl Sportscode during a live match situation.
    The new and improved Hudl Sportscode allows for better scripting, faster interactions and easier integrations with your custom workflow.

    It’s not only the first team scouting and analysis that is important at Panathinaikos, it’s the next generation of champions that Greece’s number one basketball club wants to introduce through their academy.

    We want to build a young and hungry team, motivated, that hustles hard,” said Mike Rachovitsas, the Assistant Coach of first team and coach of Panathinaikos BC Academy coach, who had an unbeaten season with the U16 team.. “We use Hudl for our academy as it’s easy to share videos between players and the coaching team to track their progress. 

    The players and actually also their parents, twant to download the games, they want to see highlights, and it’s very important for us to give something that was not possible until now in Greece. Hudl has made it possible for our academy players to have access to professional-level tools.

    Many of the young players also want to play college basketball in the USA, so we see Hudl is something we need to give our players and their parents to satisfy a need. We can give back to these parents without a cost to them. Especially this year, which has seen many challenges."

    Many of the young players also want to play college basketball in the USA, so we see Hudl is something we need to give our players and their parents to satisfy a need. Mike Rachovitsas - Assistant Coach first team and coach of academy at Panathinaikos BC OPAP

    Even though the improved analysis solutions at Panathinaikos BC are relatively new each season, they are already making a great impression, and quickly becoming indispensable tools - especially when compared to their past analysis workflows.

    “It was so much harder before we started using Sportscode as we couldn’t share information quickly,” said Pappas, “We needed to, for example, perform a manual process using a USB to transfer video to another laptop. Also, some people used windows, some people used macbooks, so then you need to change the video format so it can be played through different operating systems. This process was very slow.

    That’s why we decided to use only one software solution for the men’s team, for the Academy and the scouting department. Hudl Sportscode integrates well with video database platforms in order to streamline our workflows. With more and more games appearing on our calendar every year, this old process would not be effective for us to continue with.”

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    You can also sharpen up your analysis skills using Hudl products in our basketball webinar series.