“Tournament Play” is unique in many aspects and is characterized by:

  • The team being likely to have had limited preparation together and may consist of players that are all “starters” on their other teams;
  • Being played in a short time, no more than 2 weeks;
  • The team having relatively little rest between games (perhaps 24-48 hours) and in junior tournaments may play more than one game on one day;
  • Teams being grouped into “pools” and results in the initial 2-3 games may determine where the team are placed at the tournament. Regularly, a team may lose only one game (quarter final) and not gain a place in the Top 4;
  • Variable game times, with games in the morning, afternoons and at night;
  • Playing each opponent only once.

“Tournament Play” will often have many distractions for athletes, which are not present throughout a league, such as:

  • Living away from home;
  • The tournament may be a part of a “multi- sport” event with different sports finishing at different times (typically, basketball continues throughout the event);
  • Changes to diet, sleeping routines
    (with different game times) and possible social interaction problems caused by “living together”.

In preparing a team, the main things that a coach must consider are:

  • Selecting the team;
  • Selecting assistant coaches and “support staff”
  • The Team’s “Playbook” – preparing for what they will do on court;
  • Organising the “off-court” – putting the tournament together;
  • Understanding the Tournament Rules.