Game Day Coaching
While most basketball coaching will occur during practices, bench coaching, or coaching during game play, is also very important. Coaching from the bench provides both direction and morale during intense games, when the team needs it most. Successful bench coaching will leave the players feeling confident and ready for their next challenge on the court.
Before the Game
The keys to preparing for a game ahead of time are:
- Planning for every situation, which means having both strategies (long-range plans) and tactics (immediate plans) for any given scenario. This includes knowing what offenses and defenses should be used at which times, in addition to planning out substitutions and timeouts.
- Scouting out opponents so that you know what your team will be facing. Check out the opposing team's strategies as well as individual strengths and weaknesses.
On game day, prepare your team by going over the strategies and tactics discussed in practice, including the information you found out from scouting the opposing team. Let players know who they will be guarding and what they can anticipate from that player.
Players should warm up both physically and mentally before the game. The type and time allotted for each skill in the warm-up should be determined ahead of time so that players can take full advantage of the time they have.
The starting lineup of the game should be reported to the scorer well before the start of the game. The coach should determine the lineup based on the players who can best start the game, not necessarily the best players on the team.
During the Game
One of the most important things to keep in mind during the game is to maintain emotional control. If coaches remain calm, they will be better able to make the right decisions and keep the team focused. The main considerations during the game are:
· Defense: the team's defense should be determined by how they can best take away their opponent's strengths. If a defense tactic isn't working, make a change.
· Offense: be prepared to use the appropriate offensive tactics for each type of defense, including fast breaks. Also have plans prepared for free throws and out-of-bounds plays.
· Substitutions: plan out substitutions ahead of time so that every player who practices and does his best has the chance to play at some point in the game.
· Timeouts: timeouts can be used for making substitutions, changing game momentum, or giving players a chance to rest. Because coaches only have one minute to address the team during a timeout, the plan should be stately simply and clearly.
· Halftime: plan the timing of halftime so that players can take full advantage of the 15 minutes they have to prepare for the second half. This time should include a few minutes of individual organization and preparation, a review of the first half, the plan for the second half, and warm-up. Keep discussion positive while clearly stating what needs to be done.
After the Game
Basketball coaching doesn't end when the game is over. Use checklists and statistics to complete a postgame evaluation to provide feedback -- both positive points and constructive criticism -- for your team in preparation for the next game.