As a women’s basketball head coach, I always believed that our scouting reports were a key component to our success on the court. Having the necessary information on each opponent has allowed my programs a great amount of success during my head coaching tenure. This success was due to largely because of the efforts of my coaching staff and their scouting report responsibilities. In order to be as best prepared as we could be for our upcoming opponent, I clearly defined the following objectives for my assistants when building scouting reports:
Do Your Work Early – This is something my programs have always stressed to our studentathletes, both on and off the court, and it also applies to the entire coaching staff. Although I have opportunity to have a coaching staff of myself and another, my assistant was directed to be done with the personnel and statistics portion of the scout a full game ahead (about 3-4 days). If the next opponent happened to play the same night as us, my assistant would update the necessary stats to keep the scout as accurate as possible. This allowed us maximum time for creating a winning game plan and preparing paper scouts and sets.
What To Give - One of the most important aspects in preparing scouting is to decipher what information to give the studentathletes. This greatly depends on the basketball IQ of your team and what they can retain. It makes no sense to give players information that they will either forget or that makes them tense and anxious. The coaching staff must find the right balance of information that will make their players perform better. Coaches cannot forget that a scouting report’s sole purpose is to make players feel comfortable and to give them confidence. Assistants must snuff out tendencies when watching personnel, as any tips can make all the difference! It was my assistant’s job to put more in their initial version of the scout so that we could, and ultimately I, could make the final decision as to what we would present to the team in the final version of the scout.
Same But Different – Consistency is key. I wanted my assistant to organize the scout using the same template for each game. This uniformity allows the head coach and student-athletes the ability to easily access information at any time before, during and after the contest. Scouting report templates must be discussed by the coaching staff prior to the start of the season and the entire staff must agree on the presentation. Consistency is important, but so is fending off the monotony of a long season. Therefore, there may be times to change the scouting format, especially if it is the second time you have played an opponent. This will get the attention of the players and may help them if they need a spark to keep them sharp and interested in the task at hand.
Challenge the Head Coach – In order to get the best results possible, assistant coaches must come to the game planning meeting with their own ideas. One thing I was careful to avoid as a head coach was to not hire “yes” men. Instead I wanted an assistant who could argue a point but not be argumentative during the process. It is very important that assistants realize that they make suggestions, while the head coaches make decisions. Nevertheless, a strong relationship between the head coach and his/her assistants will only strengthen game plans because all ideas will be considered and evaluated on their merit.
Be Realistic – I Would rather have my assistant(s) be realistic on personnel/actions/alignments that they thought could really give us trouble, rather than having them “sugarcoat” everything with an unrealistic positive spin just to make me feel better. A good talk of what we need to watch out for and how will we make adjustments if something were to occur is the best way to handle an assignment from an opponent. In saying that, there does not have to be “gloom and doom” or a negative feeling amongst the coaching staff, and it is the head coach’s job to create an atmosphere of calmness within the program. Remember, preparation builds confidence and confidence leads to positivity and enthusiasm.
Sample scouting reports and game preparation film below:
- Aris aftermath – Weak-side
- Dafni Pick N’ Roll Offense-Defense and additional notes