Changing Tactics

Often in a game a coach will see that their opponent is playing in a specific way and that their own team will be successful if they make a change of tactics. With young teams though, the coach should be careful in making any changes.

More often with junior players the “change” of tactics is actually reinforcing or reminding players of what you want them to do.

Rather than make changes by yelling from the sideline, the coach of young players should use a timeout or a substitution to make any changes.

Where a team has practiced a number of tactics (e.g. a full court zone press and a half court man to man defence), the coach can introduce a signal (such as a number, colour, or a physical symbol such as a fist), to designate which tactic to use.

During practice, the coach should use that symbol to make the change in tactic, rather than stopping practice to make the change.

Any change in tactics must still emphasise what the team has been doing in practice and the coach should not introduce something in the game that has not been done in practice. The coach should also resist any temptation to set up a play for a particular situation in the game (e.g. last shot of the game).