Many people do not realize that a basketball coach’s job does not end when the game does. After a game, there are statistics to analyze, performances to judge, and decisions to make. Learning how to analyze game statistics effectively and accurately to get the information you need is critical to your success as a coach and your team’s chances of achieving victory.
There are a number of different ways to analyze game statistics. Much thought has been given to getting the information you want with a minimum of time and effort. Learning how to scan a sheet of numbers and gain a perspective on how your team is performing is one of the greatest skills a coach can have because they can take that information and use it to determine what kind of drills to run and which players to concentrate on.
You should begin by deciding what you want to know. This seems obvious but it is not as obvious as you might think. For example, do you want to see how an individual player is performing compared to their own prior performance, or do you want to find out whether a specific player is more or less effective at specific skills than others on the team? In each case, different statistics will be necessary in order to get the information you need.
No doubt, your statistics analysis will only be as good as the quality of the information you have. If your statistics are incomplete or outdated, they will not be as effective as complete and recent game performance information. Remember that each time you are tempted not to record a piece of information, the likelihood of that coming back and interfering with your calculations will increase.
There are a number of different programs which allow you to create templates for you to record your statistics. A good spreadsheet program can allow you to choose which information you will include and can help perform calculations for you, which can be great if you are someone who is pressed for time or if you are more interested in a visual representation of what the numbers mean.
Remember that you must look at how points were scored and break them down into where the shots were taken from (for example the two or three point line, or the free throw area), and whether the shots were rebounded or not. If there were rebounds involved, you have to look at whether they were offensive or defensive.
Each individual skill should have its own place in the records which will give you your statistics. It is not enough to break information down into baskets, passes and other generalized skills. You need to ensure that the player’s statistics are complete enough to paint a full picture of that person and what they are capable of doing. When that happens, you can relax, knowing that the information will be there for you when you require it.
Keep in mind that statistics can help you analyze performance across seasons rather than across games. If you are coaching a player for more than one year, comparing their skills analysis is important because you will be able to see how they have grown and changed over time. It is up to you how in depth you want to be with keeping statistics but it can help make your job as coach much easier than you might ever think possible.
Picture credit: ishane • Creative Commons Attribution
If you want a convenient method to view both basic and advanced statistics, take a look at CREZ. Just score a game or enter a box score and CREZ does the rest of the work automatically.
CREZ displays multi-game box scores by player and by 5-player line-ups. Other advanced statistics include ratings (as per Dean Oliver, author of Basketball on Paper), tempo free statistics (based on no. of possessions), stats normalized per game, and defensive statistics. All these stats are available at your fingertips.
For example, if you want to know how many offensive rebounds a 5-player lineup is giving up, CREZ gives this to you instantly.