General Approach

As with a statistical review, the coach should start by reviewing the pre-game goals and objectives before watching the game to see how effectively they were met. This may involve recording some “statistics” while they watch.

They should also consider:

  • Tempo of the game - Which team was “dictating” the tempo? Was the coach able to change tempo through substitutions or time-outs?
  • Defensive structures – What worked to stop their opponent? Was there any common area “breaking down”?
  • Offensive structures – Did the team get “good shots”? Did they react to any changes their opponent made to defence?
  • Individual match-ups – Identify where they had an advantage in a match-up. Did the team exploit that advantage? How did they “cover” for a match-up where the team was at a disadvantage?
  • Was the scout correct? - were the tactics of their opponent as they expected? What did the opponent do in response to tactics the team used?

Using Technology

There is a wide range of technology available to assist coaches to review performance. Broadly, these fall into the following categories:

  • Game analysis
  • Skill analysis
  • Organisation

Game Analysis

Various software and “apps” are available to will help the coach record what happened during the game. Simply, these enable the coach to “code” or identify what has happened in the game. For example, when a particular play was run, the type of defence that was played etc can be identified.

This coding can include multiple classifications, depending upon the detail the coach wishes to capture. For example, a play may include the following classifications:

  • “Horns Play”
  • 3 point shot attempted (but missed)
  • Opposition takes defensive rebound
  • Shot taken by #5
  • Defence in ½ court “man to man”
  • Play went to the right hand side of the court
  • Shot taken in the last 10 seconds of “shot clock”
  • Coach classified it as a “good shot option”

The level of classification is limitless, however, the more complexity a coach wants to capture, the longer it will take.

As a simple method, the coach pre-defines the characteristics they which to record and then as they watch the game (on a computer) they identify (through keystrokes or mouse clicks) what is happening.

The software will then enable the coach to recall portions of the game based on those characteristics. For example, enabling a coach to see each instance where #5 shot the ball.

Some of the software will then let the coach edit these video sequences (to add highlights, freeze frame etc.), which can also be done in generic video editors.

Skills Analysis

Skills analysis software is designed to show either a picture, series of pictures or video a of an athlete performing a skill (e.g. free throw). The software will enable:

  • Comparison – putting two videos side-by-side, which might be used to compare a player’s technique with an expert, or to compare two examples of the player’s technique.
  • Analysis – recording angles (e.g. elbow relative to the ball, or shoulder relative to the elbow) that can help to show where improvement is required.
  • Freeze frame – stopping the video at points to identify the cause of problems (e.g. “flat” shooting technique).

This analysis is best suited to closed skills (such as “free throw” shooting), although the functionality could also be used with team skills. For example, the coach could show the team running the same play on two different occasions, comparing floor positions between the two examples.


Much of coaching is collecting information, whether that is video of games, video clips or statistical information on players, amongst many other things. There are various software programs that will help to organise this information and it is possible, for example, to upload it “to the cloud” so that the coach can access it from wherever they are in the world.

Some of these are specifically related to sports but many are generic and would require some customisation by the coach.

Cost of Technology

Coaches can literally spend as much, or as little time, as they which on these types of technology. There are free apps available for video analysis, and even generic video editing software can be used to prepare clips for the coach to use.

The more dedicated the functions of the programme, the more likely it comes at a cost, with some systems costing thousands of dollars and out of reach for many coaches.

Some clubs or federations will have access to software and the coach should familiarise themselves with what might be available through that avenue.

Regardless of the technology used, the most important thing is for the coach to provide constructive feedback, with a focus on how to progress. Showing players lengthy clips of what was done wrong can drastically reduce their confidence.