Some key considerations are to:

  • use physical recovery techniques during the tournament;
  • ensure that players get enough rest during the week, including both getting enough sleep as well as resting during the day. Often choosing to go to the movies (which is sedentary) may be a better activity than “sightseeing, which may involve a lot of walking;
  • give the players “time off” from basketball;
  • allow for the players to have time with family or fans (this is particularly important for junior teams) but not so that it distracts the players;
  • provide good meals for the players, keeping the food, where possible, similar to what the players are used to eating;
  • only train when necessary (or if the players prefer to train) and to keep sessions short with minimal physical and psychological load.

Coaches should also consider the amount of time that players are involved in games and to provide rest, where possible, for the players that are playing the most time. For example, when winning by a large margin the coach may rest some of the “starters”. In addition to giving players physical rest, the coach may also want to give all players in the team some court time, so that if they are called upon to play (e.g. due to foul trouble or injury of other players) they will have some confidence on court.

However, when considering giving rest to players, the coach must also be conscious of the effect that it may have on the team’s performance or “momentum” in the game. Specifically, the coach should consider:

  • rather than resting all “starters” at the same time, it may be better to rotate players in so that some starters continue to play;
  • “win the game and then rest” is a maxim that many coaches follow. Even if an upcoming opponent is thought to be an “easier” game, making large changes to the starting line-up or substitution patterns may disrupt the team’s performance. Accordingly, some coaches prefer to establish a good lead and to then make changes to substitution patterns;
  • margins of victory can determine placings later in the tournament where teams are otherwise tied on “win-loss” ratio. Accordingly, the coach must make sure that they understand the tournament rules and do not compromise their final placing by having a reduced winning margin (or losing a game) when changing substitution patterns.