Scouting Opponents

“Scouting” an opponent in a tournament is similar to scouting them in league play, but there are significant differences:

  • Less opportunities to scout them before you play them;
  • There is less time to prepare “the scout” and present it to the team;
  • At the start of the week, you will not know who you are playing at the end of the week – there may a number of teams that it could be – do you (can you) scout them all?

During a tournament, coaches will spend a lot of time at the competition venue, watching possible opponents. You may be able to get video-footage of these opponents. How useful that is will depend upon what resources the coach has:

  • Does the coach have a TV / computer to watch videos on?
  • Does the coach have software that enables the video to be broken down into small segments? Does the software do this automatically (by “coding” the video) or is it a manual process?
  • If games are on TV, can they be recorded? If recorded, how is it put into a format where the software can break it down?
  • Is there an assistant coach that can assist or take responsibility for preparation of the video?
  • Do the coaches have time to prepare the video? They may be able to do some, but not all, games.

In most circumstances, the coach will scout an opponent by watching them play.

During a tournament, a coach may have less than 24 hours between knowing who their opponent will be and the game being played. It is not possible in this time to prepare lengthy “scouts”, nor would the players be able to absorb that information.

The focus of presenting the “scout” to your team should be on what your team will do. You may set specific objectives that relate to what you
have observed of your opponent (e.g. an objective for defensive rebounds, when an opponent is a good offensive rebounding team). You may also choose particular tactics (e.g. play zone, play a trapping defence) based upon observation of the opponent.

Whether or not a team will practice, or “shoot around” during the tournament is up to the coach (assuming that a venue is available) and will be influenced by when games are being played and whether or not the players would be better served by resting. If the team does practice, it provides an opportunity to walk through the specific tactics the team wants to use in the upcoming game.