This article was written by Shaquala Williams who is an assistant women's basketball coach at Seattle University but she is also working with the Seattle Storm this WNBA season (2013) and is doing video, advanced scouting, and analytics for the Storm. Coach Williams has been doing scouting for a long time on several different levels and here is the basketball scouting outline that she has come up with when she scouts, and also some tips and pointers to save you time as a coach and to also make sure that it is the best possible scout you can put together.
Basketball Scouting Outline for Coaches
Game scouting in basketball is an essential aspect of preparing a successful game plan in coaching basketball. There is no universal way to scout and a lot depends on the desire of your head coach, ability of your team to absorb and apply what is needed to execute. Every coach has a different template or way of doing things, but in my opinion the most important detail is organization. The more organized you are, the more efficient you will be.
New technologies have made it easier in some aspects to access and gather information, but no matter how much information you can gather, without the ability to organize, narrow, and present relevant information, it will not be as useful. Technology also provides opportunities to analyze the games with much more depth, which can lead to having too much information. So finding a system and overall plan that suits your team might take some experimenting, but figure out your overall purpose and develop a consistent system from that point.
Before you start to prepare your scout, determine your plan based on time, your team, your system and useful essentials. Early determinations set the table for everything else, so these might be most important element before you do anything. Consider and ask the following:
- How much time do I have to prepare?
- How much can your team absorb?
- What is the most essential information that is useful?
- What is your program’s overall offensive and defensive philosophy and how does that affect the scout?
- System or Concept
Determine how you will organize information you collect. Having a lot of information serves no purpose if it’s all over the place or can’t be collected and presented clearly and concisely.
- Color coded sheets or binders with dividers
- Create categories and if needed sub-categories
- Transition (early/secondary)
- Half Court (man/zone)
- Baseline Out of Bounds
- Sideline Out of Bounds
- Press Break
- Man to Man
- Coaches Tendencies
- Special Plays and Situations
- Late game
- Out of Timeouts
Information Gathering and Details
Decide what type of information and details you will need to create a successful game plan and scouting report for your team. Just because you have seen Team A do something, does not mean that is a fit for your team. Gather what your team needs to know in order to be successful.
- Games will you need or have time to watch
- Full games or Edits
- Personnel clips
- Concepts and possessions
- Last 3 wins
- How does team score and win
- How has team been beaten
- Dictate how you will get beat or willing to give up
- How must they score
- Pace and rhythm of offense
- Can they score on broken plays
- How do they get offensive rebounds
- What do they do on FT’s
- Transition defense style or system
- Defensive system
- How do they defend post and ball screen
- How do they get ball into paint
- How do they perform under duress
- Special situations
- How do they trap or play out of traps
- Side of floor preference or tendencies
- First play of game or half
As you begin to watch and breakdown video, come up with larger picture for what information you will need to extract, analyze and how to present that information.
- Watch full games for pace
- Watch clips for possessions or concepts
- Present 8-10 minutes of clips to players
- Chapter presentation for memory recall
- Show negative and positive
- Chart Actions & Results
Stats and Personnel
Stats are objective information, but not all stats are applicable to what you need to create a great game plan. Assess what is the most important information your team needs to prepare opposing personnel.
- Last game
- Last 3-5 games
- Conference only
- Best player
- Points in paint
- Evaluate yourself
Preparing your Team
It’s great to have information, but coaches won’t have time to give all the information you have collected, so narrow down what is most important information and create a template or process for presenting that information, so your team can absorb and maximize application. It’s also very important to be consistent. Players will have better memory recall if how the information is present is consistent and familiar.
- Understand how much they can ABSORB
- Test them with pop quizzes
- Guards know their post; post know their guards
- Don’t focus too much on other team
- Be consistent with clarity in how you present
- Take top 2-3 plays and defend
- Breakdown actions/drills
- How we will defend
- What is the most important thing or them to take away
- Give your team concepts
- Give your coaches information
If you invest a lot of time in preparing a scout, be organized in keeping track of that information. Create folders or other methods of storage, when you play that team again, you will have a foundation to build on. If you keep game charts, keep those organized as well.
- Post game wrap-up
- Game charts
- Video storage
Scouting, game preparation, and implementation varies from team to team. The two most important concepts for me are organization and understanding my team’s ability to absorb. It’s not about what YOU know or can collect, but it’s about what you can teach and what your team can do.
Basketball Scouting Charts and Forms
Here are 3 different PDF files that you can look at and print out if you would like. They will help you keep your scouting reports organized and also help you figure out some of the stuff that you are looking for when you do scout. These charts and forms will help you maximize your time and make sure that all your info is logged in the correct location so you can go back to it later on when needed.