(English) Broadly there are two types of analysis that a coach may use to evaluate performance:

  • “Tracking” performance; and
  • Measuring statistical effectiveness.

Tracking Performance

Tracking performance records what the team has done and the outcome that occurred. For example, a coach may record the number of instances where a certain offensive play was used and whether or not the team scored. With junior teams, a measure of whether or not a “good shot” was the result may be more appropriate than whether a score was made.

Any particular coach may have particular things that they wish to “track”, some commonly tracked occurrences are:

  • Use of a particular play or the particular options within a play (both offensively and defensively);
  • Whether or not the team “reversed” the ball (moved the ball from one side to another) in offence prior to shooting;
  • When in the shot clock shots were taken (e.g. first 6 seconds, last 6 seconds or within 7-18 seconds);
  • The number of times an opponent “reversed” the ball prior to shooting;
  • Whether the ball was passed or dribbled across half way;
  • “Post touches” – whether or not a player in a post position handled the ball prior to the team shooting (regardless of whether the post or another player took the shot);
  • The number of times that a team (either offensively or defensively) commenced offence from a particular part of the court (e.g. left side, right side or top).

From these types of indicators the coach can identify trends in how a team plays (either their own team or an opponent). For example, it may identify that the team starts offence on the right hand side of the court most of the time. These indicators can also identify what is more effective. For example, most teams will score more often when they have reversed the ball than when the ball stays on one side.

Typically, these types of measures are not recorded in the standard basketball statistics (standard statistics will, for example, record where a shot was taken and whether or not it went in, but not the “action” that led to it being taken). Accordingly, an assistant coach or parent will need to record these measures if the coach wants them. If the coach is doing a video review, they may also wish to “tag” the same statistics so that the video can be easily obtained.

Using the measures the coach can also determine indicators of success. For example, if a team scores more often after they have reversed the ball in offence, the coach can set targets for ball reversals, knowing that increases the likelihood of scoring. In this way, the measures often allow the coach to set “process” rather than purely outcome goals. The process goals are based upon the impact that “process” has been measured to have on outcomes.

Measuring Statistical Effectiveness

Depending upon the level of competition, statistics may be taken and these may also be available during the game. These allow the coach to see individual and team performance in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and turnovers.

The coach can quickly conduct other comparisons:

  • How well a team is rebounding defensively using the following equation, which identifies how many of the total rebounds at the defensive end they have taken:Team Def Rebs / (Team Def Rebs + Opponents Off Rebs)
  • “Ball Control” using the following equation, which gives an indication of how often the team has turned over the ball.Turnovers / (Field Goals Attempted + Turnovers)
  • “Shooting Efficiency” can be calculated with the following equation, which adjusts for the impact of a 3 point shot:(Field Goals Made + (0.5 x 3Points Made)) / Field Goals Attempted
  • “Tempo” of the game can be estimated by the following equation and coaches should know the tempo they wish to play at. For example, in a 40 minute game if one shot was taken every 24 seconds (and there were no turnovers), there would be 100 possessions:Total Possessions = Total Field Goals Attempted + Total Turnovers
  • Free Throw Conversion is calculated simply as Free Throws Made / Free Throws Attempted.
  • Compare direct player “match-ups”. For example, the coach may have assigned a defender to particularly restrict the number of shots taken by an opponent and this can be assessed.

Basketball is a game of alternating possession, which is only distorted by offensive rebounds (where a team gets two possessions in a row, without their opponent having a possession). It is often more meaningful to assess performance “per possession”, rather than just as an absolute number. For example, the points scored from one game to another may vary widely (depending upon the tempo at which the games were played), however the “points per possession” is a good measure of effectiveness.

In most competitions, scoring 1 or more “points per possession” is a good performance. Equally “points conceded per possession” is also important. “Points per possession” is often provided in computerised statistics, however it can also be estimated by:

Points per possession = Total Points / (Field Goals Attempted + Turnovers)
Points conceded per possession = Opponent’s Total Points / (Opponent’s FGA + Opponent’s Turnovers)

Similarly, when comparing the performance of players adjusting statistics to give a “per minute played” analysis may be useful. The efficiency of players is sometimes evaluated by using a Points Adjusted Win Score (PAWS), which is:

((Points + Steals + (0.5 x Assists) + (0.5 x Blocks) – Field Goals Attempted – Turnovers – (0.5 x Free Throws Attempted) – (0.5 x Personal Fouls)) / minutes played) * 4819

In the NBA, the league average player has a PAWS score of 0. Anything above zero is an above average performance and equally below zero is a below average performer.

Whilst statistics can be meaningful they can equally be misleading. What is most important is that the coach develops some method for evaluating performance.