Failure to Prepare is Preparing to Fail
The FIBA European Championships was going to be a test of mental toughness and preparation for all teams involved. With 17 teams competing in the Championships, and each team playing a minimum of 7 games in 10 days, it was imperative that every team do anything they could to gain an added advantage.
My job as the assistant coach of the squad was to ensure that everyone on the team was prepared, motivated and ready to perform to the best of their abilities.
The most challenging but also quite rewarding was the video breakdown that happened every night once everyone went to bed. Opposition tapes were broken down. Team tapes were broken down. Highlight clips were put together, scouting reports were strewn together, ready for the team video sessions the following day.
How much information is enough? What is too much information?
All our players had never used video analysis as a learning tool, so this is why the video sessions were challenging, but thankfully, the team had a performance analyst on board, which allowed me to bounce ideas off him and come up with the best possible solutions.
Eventually, we came to a solution that worked for us whilst we were out there. The ideas aren’t completely ours, but we added our own twists to them. Most of our ideas were borrowed from several sources, including Kyle Gilreath (Former Florida Gators Ass Coach), Bart Sengers (U16 Netherlands Ladies Head Coach), Rikki Broadmore (U16 England Ladies Performance Analyst) and Thierry Kramer (U16 Luxembourg Ladies Head Coach).
With the Ireland U16 Ladies, we broke down our video feedback to the team and players in five separate sessions:
- Individual Player Analysis
- Team Analysis
- Scouting Breakdown
- Opposition Scout
- Pre-Game Team Highlight
Because, each player is different and responds differently, we were able to adjust during the two weeks and ensure that not every session was compulsory; additionally, the level of detail was adjusted to suit the player receiving feedback.
Individual Player Analysis
The teams performance analyst broke down our own game tape the night after we played the game and sorted it out for me, as the assistant coach. Our own game was broken down to KPIs that we as a team valued. (Unfortunately, we are not going to give that information out here.)
However, I received several clips that were specific to the players. This then allowed me to go through the clips and pick out points that I wanted to bring up with the players in question. The day after the game, players had individual meetings with me and using guided discovery, we assisted the players to see what we wanted them to see. As a general rule, we tried to keep these meetings to a maximum of ten minutes (naturally, we went over with certain players)
In addition to the individual player clips that Ciarán broke down the night after the game, he also coded actions that the team performed. We were then able to bring the team in together and in one sitting, show them a 2-3 minute clip of team actions that we performed well and what we could improve on.
This was probably the best idea that we came across, and unfortunately couldn’t use it more than we did because of how busy our schedule was and we didn’t want to overload our players with information.
The opposition scout saw us break the team down into four groups (As the tournament progressed, we broke them down into two groups to collapse time frames). The players then watched a quarter of our next oppositions last game. Based on watching the opposition, the groups put together scouting reports and presented them back to the rest of the team and the assistant coach.
On game days, a couple of hours before we played the opposition, the team was brought together again and given the game plan and key actions were highlighted about the oppositions offense and defense.
The videos were trimmed to 3 separate clips and at the end of the tournament were no longer than 90 seconds per clip. At the start of the tournament, too much information was provided and this was an adjustment that we made.
(Certain players wanted more, and the clips, highlights and all other videos were made available to them at any notice.)
Pre-Game Team Highlight
Finally, after the second game, for every game after, the players were shown a short video in the locker room before they took the court to warm-up. The video highlighted all key actions that the team performed in every game up until that point and also allowed the players to focus on themselves.
Over the two weeks, we were really impressed by how the team responded to the video sessions, with players coming up to the coaching staff and all hours wondering when the next video session was and others just wanting to use the video room to sit down and watch their clips (positive and work ons) or watch the opposition.
The downside is the amount of work required, as will be attested to by our performance analyst.