statistics

Defense: Steals Are Overrated

This will be a short post but I want to give a special emphasis to my least favorite statistic (maybe). I do not like on-ball steals. This is a risky play and can often lead to getting beat and also drawing fouls. The best place to get steals is on poor passes (never gambling though).

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If a player is in good help-side defense they can jump a pass and get a steal if they read the play properly. Another great emphasis that I place is for players to deny once the ball is dead. What this means is that when I ball handler picks up their dribble they are no longer a threat to drive. This means that once we see this, we pick up our man in a full denial.

Defense: Stats & Goals

As you saw with the other fundamental series that I have written, I noted the importance of being able to track your progress through the use of statistics. Defense directly impacts your teams success and statistics will help figure the metrics of this out. If you can’t get stops, you can’t win games. You will need to learn your weaknesses as a way of finding what areas need improvement.

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Statistically, teams who can’t get defensive stops won’t win ball games. You need to implement an aggressive defense that teaches effort, fundamentals, and not fouling.

Here are steps to tracking your defensive improvement:

  1. Look at stats for following categories.
  2. Track how many points per game that you allow.
  3. Track how many times your opponent gets into the paint with the ball.
  4. Track how many offensive rebounds that you give up.
  5. Chart the trend of your stats and look to see if the number improves. It is crucial that you compare this to notes on your defensive drills and determine if your issues are with on-ball defense, off-ball defense, and/or rebounding.

The goal that I have set for my teams is the following defensive stats:

Points Per Game Allowed- Less than 10 per quarter.

Touches In Paint- Less than 4 per quarter.

Offensive Rebounds- Less than 4 per quarter.

Passing: Stats & Why Its Underrated

With any skill or fundamental, you need to be able to apply some kind of metric as a way to track progress. Passing as I stated in my post yesterday is the most underrated fundamental skill of all those that exist (yes, even more than defense). If you have an ability to pass the ball, it gives you a ton of flexibility on offense and also can help you out if you have a team that does not shoot the ball very well.

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Statistically, teams who pass the ball well and don’t turn the ball over very much do very well in games. The result of improved passing is fewer turnovers and more assists.

Here are steps to tracking your passing:

  1. Look at the number of turnovers your team averages for the season prior to your commitment to improving ball handling and also look at the number of assists.
  2. Commit to incorporating passing drills (stay tuned next week for some ideas) into every practice and truly developing the skill level of your athletes.
  3. Start tracking the assist to turnover ratio and see if your assists are increasing and your turnovers are decreasing.
  4. In addition, when tracking turnovers, determine if they are a result of passing or ball hall handling.

The goal that I have set for my teams is to have an assist to turnover ratio of 2:1. If your team can do this, it bodes very well for your offense.

Shooting: Stats & Percentages

As you saw with the ball handling series, I noted the importance of being able to track your progress through the use of statistics. Shooting directly leads to scoring but I am not an advocate of tracking your shooting prowess through points scored. If you can’t make shots though you won’t put up points. With anything, I look at the importance of shooting percentages when determining how strong your shooting as and from where it is strong. In turn, you will also learn your weaknesses as well.

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Statistically, teams who don’t shoot the ball well (especially when shooting close to the basket) are much easier to guard. To give yourself more flexibility, you need to be able to make shots and from multiple different areas on the court.

Here are steps to tracking your shooting improvement:

  1. Look at shooting percentages using a shot chart that tracks your shooting and from different spots on the court.
  2. Commit to incorporating shooting drills (stay tuned for our post later this week with some drills) into every practice and truly developing the skill level of your athletes.
  3. Start tracking the shooting percentages on the chart after each game going forward.
  4. Chart the trend of your percentages per game and look to see if the number improves. It is crucial that you compare this to notes on your shooting drills to determine the effectiveness of your drills.

The goal that I have set for my teams is to improve percentages in five different areas to meet the following goals:

Lay-Ups- 80%

Shots From Paint- 40%

Mid-Range- 35%

Free Throws- 75%

Three Pointers- 30%

Ball Handling: Statistical Significance

I had a little bit of extra time this week which has allowed me to write a bonus post on ball handling. With any skill or fundamental, you need to be able to apply some kind of metric as a way to track progress. Ball Handling as I stated in my post yesterday is the most important fundamental skill that you can develop to see improvement in your teams. If you can’t handle the ball, you can’t even put yourself in a position to score.

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Statistically, teams who turn the ball over a lot need to improve their ball handling. The result of improved ball handling is fewer turnovers and an ability to compete with more competitive teams.

Here are steps to tracking your ball handling improvement:

  1. Look at the number of turnovers your team averages for the season prior to your commitment to improving ball handling.
  2. Commit to incorporating ball handling drills (stay tuned next week for some ideas) into every practice and truly developing the skill level of your athletes.
  3. Start tracking the turnovers per game as you are working on ball handling during your practices.
  4. Chart the trend of turnovers per game and look to see if the number decreases.

The goal that I have set for my teams is to have less than 4 turnovers per quarter. This goal is attainable and I think it will put is into a good position to win more games.

Statistics

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:

  1. Statistics are a waste of time and it won’t benefit me to know what took place in the game statistically.
  2. I don’t want to have stats appear online that will give an opponent any information that will help with their scouting.
  3. Statistics can make kids feel badly if their numbers don’t look strong.

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I am going to refute each of these arguments and why they are not valid:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

  1. Allow less than 10 points in each quarter.
  2. Shoot a minimum of 10 free throws and make 70% or better.
  3. Less than 4 turnovers in each quarter.
  4. Allow less than 4 offensive rebounds per quarter.
  5. 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.