Maximizing the Benefits of Time-Outs

Fans and players alike occasionally misunderstand the importance of a time-out. It can make or break your game. A poorly timed time-out can derail a good drive, or it can provide that break you need to turn the tables around in your favour. The timing isn’t the only crucial element of the time-out, the actual use of the time is crucial. You get a small amount of time, and you cannot afford to waste it period. It is up to the coach to set the tempo and purpose right off the bat and get done what needs to be done.

Things that are as simple as using the time-out to refresh your players by getting them a quick moment to grab a breath and a drink of water. While they are doing this, the coach could go over some plays, and relay some potential trends observed in the opposition. This could give the team just the right amount of edge and allow them to finish off the game for the win.

It can also be used to allow the coach a moment to bang heads with his players, a coach doesn’t always have to have every answer, and a player might have noticed something and would need to relay the information to the coach.

It is the responsibility of both player and coach to ensure that only the necessary information is relayed and that chatter is cut out entirely, there is plenty of time after the game to socialize with your friends. The time-out is serious and needs to be treated as such. The pace will be set depending on the condition of the game if your team is winning; the time out might be either an attempt to “ice” the other team’s defence, or to give your team a quick breather.

“Icing” a defence is a common use of a time-out. The time-out is taken to break-up a defence’s hot streak and cause it to sit around for a short time and cool down. This can work both positively and negatively. It has grown in popularity over the years and recently has become a widely used tactic.

Players need to go into the huddle with a singular mindset. The team as a whole needs to go into the time-out as a whole and come out showing a united front. While this has been said before, and will be said again, it cannot be said enough. Teamwork is crucial, on and off the court. If players went into a time-out all thinking for themselves and speaking their takes on every single aspect of the game, then your time-out would be spent arguing, and completely wasted.

If the coach highlights the positives of the game so far, a few improvements, and discusses a quick game plan that maximizes the team’s winning potential, then you are set. Players should just simply take the time to listen, and get a quick breather in!

Photo credit: Dave Shearn