Timeouts seem like such a small part of the game and are often overlooked. Timeouts are a very crucial and highly misunderstood part of the game in some accounts. They can change the flow of the game, and can give a much-needed breather when the game is down to those last few points and in the dying moments.
Timeouts cannot be wasted. The time they provide is precious and means it is a chance for a team to change the tide of the game, or get a quick breather for that last stand they may need to make to win. The coach needs to pick and choose the proper times when to call the timeouts because as much as it can save a game, it can also break a game if used improperly.
Some of the most popular uses for timeouts are as follows.
- As a quick break in play to let your players get refreshed, grab a swig of water and just catch their breath. Sometimes the opposing team will just have the pace of the game going so fast and in their favour, which a timeout puts an instant stop to it, and gives your guys a moment to gather themselves and prepare a plan of their own.
- Timeouts can be used to “ice” the other team. If as mentioned above the team is on a roll, or in a groove, the timeout also serves to put an end to their “roll”.
- Timeouts can be used to just completely switch gears. During a timeout, the coach can go over a new plan or play that might just open the hole up in the game that your team needs to nail down that win. This is the time where the coach can rally the players and implement a shift in gameplay meant to confuse and disorient the other team. Towards the end of a game, the opposing team is used to your tendencies and will defend and attack accordingly. If the coach makes the right switch in plays, it can catch a defence completely off guard and open up a hole needed to secure the game.
- All of the above points lead to the fact a time out wrapped into one nice neat little term, is a momentum shift. It grants the coach the ability to change the momentum of the game and give his team the chance to change direction and stop a slide, or to refresh them for the last moments. This is an invaluable resource that needs to be used with the utmost care. It not only serves the strategy aspects discussed above but also as an instant morale booster if the coach knows his team well enough. A few well-placed words and a team can come out of the timeout as good as the beginning of the game.
Timeouts and how coaches use them are as important as the game itself. Like fouls, and bad plays, a bad timeout, can change the game.