Statistics are a useful tool that have become a great helper for me in preparing my practice plans. Interestingly, I have found quite a few coaches who do not take the time to go back and track the game stats. Their rationale is typically one of three reasons:
- Statistics are a waste of time and it won’t benefit me to know what took place in the game statistically.
- I don’t want to have stats appear online that will give an opponent any information that will help with their scouting.
- Statistics can make kids feel badly if their numbers don’t look strong.
I am going to refute each of these arguments and why they are not valid:
- It is not a waste of time to come up with numbers that will give you a clear picture of what you need to do to improve.
- As you can tell from my prior post on scouting, most coaches are going to come and watch you whether you put your stats online or not.
- I would argue that athletes can use stats as a way to learn where they need to improve. They should be coached in a way that shows them that stats are like constructive criticism.
Often times I have looked at statistics from a game and found myself to be very surprised at what I see. Sometimes we have certain misconceptions during and after a game about what we did well and what we did poorly. After a game looking at statistics, I sometimes notice something like a lack of assists or high number of turnovers. One time after a game, I mentioned to my star player last year that it wasn’t her best game because I noticed she wasn’t scoring much. When I got the stat report though I noticed that she had a lot of assists, rebounds, and steals. The next practice I admitted my mistaken judgement in front of the team.
Shooting is a very telling statistic and I love to see a shot chart after each game. If I notice that we are missing shots from certain spots on the floor, I will incorporate shooting drills that work on those spots. Additionally, if I notice that we are shooting well from certain spots on the floor, I will run plays that get us shots in those spots.
Statistics will help you determine what areas you should spend some time focusing on during your practices. Statistics are also an excellent way to set certain goals for your athletes for each game. Examples of statistical goals I have set for my teams in the past include:
- Allow less than 10 points in each quarter.
- Shoot a minimum of 10 free throws and make 70% or better.
- Less than 4 turnovers in each quarter.
- Allow less than 4 offensive rebounds per quarter.
- Grab a minimum of 3 offensive rebounds in each quarter.
You can learn a great deal from statistics and it will definitely be a great tool to help you during practices and games.