This basketball coaching article was written by Shaquala Williams, 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.
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, the ability of your team to absorb and apply what is needed to execute. Every basketball 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. Still, 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. Finding a system and overall plan that suits your basketball team might take some experimenting, but figure out your overall purpose and develop a consistent system from that point.
Hopefully, this basketball coaching article will provide you some valuable insights on how you can best gather and present your basketball scouting report to your team.
Early Basketball Scouting Determinations
Before you start to prepare your basketball 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 the most important element before you do anything. Consider and ask the following:
- How much time do I have to prepare?
- How much can your basketball team absorb?
- What is useful and essential information?
- What are your basketball program’s overall offensive and defensive philosophy, and how does that affect the scout?
- System or Concept.
Organization of Your Basketball Scouting Notes
Determine how you will organize the 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 basketball scouting report for your team. Just because you have seen Team A do something does not mean that it is a fit for your team. Gather what your team needs to know 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 the team score and win?
- How has the team been beaten?
- Dictate how you will get beat or willing to give up.
- How must they score?
- Pace and rhythm of the 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 the post and ball screen?
- How do they get the ball into the 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.
Basketball Scout Video Breakdown
As you begin to watch and breakdown the video, come up with a larger picture of 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 and Results.
Basketball Stats and Personnel
Basketball stats are objective information, but not all stats apply to what you need to create a great game plan. Assess the most important information your basketball team needs to prepare opposing personnel.
- Last game.
- Last 3-5 games.
- Conference only.
- Best player.
- Points in the paint.
- Evaluate yourself.
Preparing Your Basketball Team
It’s great to have information, but coaches won’t have time to give all the information you have collected, so narrow down the most important information and create a template or process for presenting that information. That way 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 presented is consistent and familiar.
- Understand how much they can ABSORB.
- Test them with pop quizzes.
- Guards know their posts; posts know their guards.
- Don’t focus too much on the other team.
- Be consistent with clarity in how you present.
- Take top 2-3 basketball plays and defend.
- Breakdown actions with different basketball drills.
- How we will defend.
- What is the most important thing for them to take away?
- Give your team concepts.
- Give your coaches information.
Post Game Basketball Notes
If you invest a lot of time preparing a basketball scout, be organized in keeping track of that information. Create folders or other storage methods for when you play that basketball 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 vary from team to team. The two most important concepts for me are organization and understanding my basketball 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 basketball scouting reports organized and help you figure out some of the stuff you are looking for when you 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.