Monday, January 28, 2013

Dear Coach Flintstone. Good Luck!

picture by
I love watching basketball coaches.  How they talk to their players.  Their body language at key moments. How they prepare for games.  How they accept victory and defeat, and their approaches to handling both.  I've had over 25 different coaches.. and that's only counting after college, so I would say I have a pretty good sample size to compare from.

But this post isn't about coaching styles, techniques, or methods.  It's about how coaches use their team's past performance to change and improve future results.  

I'm talking about stats!  

Some coaches keep all kinds of stats.  Points, rebounds, assists.. they're the norm.  Other coaches keep other stuff like loose balls, deflections and other things like that,  and that's great.   But that's not what this is all about either.  I'm talking about HOW you keep it.

My first professional coach told me he's kept notes and memos from every practice and game he's ever coached.  Now this dude started right after his player career ended and he was like 75 when he coached me.  So he has to have like 250 dead trees worth of papers somewhere piled up in his Spanish villa. 

Of course, this isn't his fault.  He was born in a different era.  The fact that he even has the stuff is remarkable.  Hopefully, my good buddy Angel Navarro writes a book one day.  He deserves it.

But when I these 30 year old coaches still using paper stats books and memo pads to track and store data, I really have to smile.  A good friend of mine would also get a good laugh out of it.  He'd probably even say it was "cute."  Happy Birthday Mete! 

These young guys should know better.  

In the business world, they'd call it redundancy.  I mean think about it.   So you mean to tell me you have this assistant coach, sit on the bench all game, puttin' a bunch of x and o's, slashes (/), or my favorite, shaded circles in some little book.   And then you want this guy to go home and plug it into some spreadsheet, and then send you an email with this list of numbers.  And that's giving the coach the benefit or the doubt that they use email or spreadsheets.

First of all, that poor assistant coach has a million better things to do.  These guys are the most underpaid, overworked, verbally abused, and under appreciated guys in the world.  The least you could do is make their jobs easier.  Or how about worthwhile. 

The fact is that the stats that you're getting from your little stats book tells you absolutely nothing about your team's overall production.

So Jimmy's your leading scorer?

So what.  

Tom's your top rebounder?

Big deal.  

Julie's your best defender because she gets the most steals.


Because she deflects the most balls and blocks the most shots too?

Oh that explains it. (SMH til my neck aches)

Get out your iPad and take notes

I'm gonna make this short and sweet and then end the lesson.  

Until you and you're staff get a real statistical tracking system that records and processes data in real time,  you will just be operating in the Barney Rubble era.  

You need a system that allows you to manipulate the data in order to tell you the really important things you need to know about your team.  

Your best combination of 5 players.  The team you need to put in if you're looking to go on a run.   Your best starters.  Your best finishers.   You best defensive and scoring squads.   

Until, then my friend, you'll just be winging it.  

You might as well take yours, your staff's, and all those kids' careers to Vegas and put them on the craps table.  Because until then, my friend, your leadership will be nothing but a crapshoot. 

Good Luck With That!

No comments:

Post a Comment