Analyzing a Rough First Outing as a Coach

Watching a game or scrimmage this time of year can be painful.  Invariably, the defense is ahead of the offense causing turnovers, bad shots and missed open shots.  When this happens, how a coach responds to what politely might be called a mess might very well determine the course of the rest of the season.

It’s much easier task approaching a situation like this by starting with the positive angle of “What do we have or do well?” rather than “What don’t we have or don’t do well?”

First, it’s better for everyone’s mental health, (including the coach) to view the first scrimmage or game as just a beginning.  Accentuating the positive will give everyone in the program a basis of a sense of accomplishment. This list might look like this and serve as a pillar upon which to build:

  • We outrebounded them by 8.
  • 10 players played and contributed.
  • Players A, B and C are definitely our core.
  • We “discovered” Player D who we didn’t think would be in the mix.
  • 6 different players made a triple.
  • We outscored them by 6 in the 2nd half.
  • We forced 19 turnovers ourselves.

Flipping the script, one might also list the negatives BUT in such a way as to still stress the positive.  This list might look like this:

  • We had 70 possessions and turned the ball over 25 times.  If we reduce that number by 10, we’ll score 10 more points.
  • On another 6 possessions, we “settled” for shots.  Reducing those will result in additional points.
  • We were 10-18 from the FT line.  If we get to just 70%, we get 3 more points.
  • We let #23 and #3 get away from us.  They scored 38 points between them on 52% shooting. We need to give up 5-8 fewer good looks a game.

Many of you already analyze every game with a similar focus but especially early outings.

Those of you who think this way in general, don’t need a rough outing for this approach.  You’re already aware of the confidence this approach breeds in your players and staff-no matter when and how often you use it.

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