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Film Breakdown Part 1: Post-Game Analysis

Upon several requests, I have put together a three-part series of posts discussing how to watch film as after the game, with your team, and with individual players. Today I am going to discuss the process of watching and breaking down the game film individually as a coach to provide feedback for yourself and your coaching staff.

This post is going to about the process of how I break down film after a game every each night. The analysis below takes place after every game we play and it takes approximately 2 hours once I get home. 

Post-Game Meeting

After each game our coaching staff meets in the head coaches office and we discuss the game for 15-20 minutes; What went well, what didn’t go well, and other thoughts about the game. As a staff, we try to reserve judgement with performance until watching the game film. During this time, I will reference some notes that I wrote down during the game about some aspects that I think would be good to look for when breaking down the film (i.e.- Transition defense, defensive rebounding, rotational breakdowns, etc.) and also gather thoughts from my head coach on things he would like for me to focus on while watching the film.

Post-Game Report

After gathering our post-game perspective, I head home and start uploading the film for breakdown onto our editing tool. During the upload time (usually takes about 25 minutes), I analyze and input the data I have on my Offensive and Defensive Efficiency Chart and look for any positive and negative trends from the game. This chart will also factor into indicators while watching film. Once all the numbers totaled, I will start typing up my Post[Game Report for my head coach. I got this tremendous idea from the LA Clippers’ Kevin Eastman. Eastman took it upon himself each night after their games to write-up a post-game report and slide it under head coach Doc Rivers’ door for reading the next morning. I am not sure what Kevin’s looked like, but in my report I include the following:

  1. Quarter by Quarter Scoring with +/-
  2. Rebound Comparisons each half and game total (Out rebounding the opponent is a huge component of our program)
  3. Offensive and Defensive notes referencing the Efficiency Chart I mentioned above
    1. As well as any notes I gather from the film in regards to our performance (Good and Bad)
  4. Any ideas or recommendations for upcoming practices that I think will help our team

If you are interested in a sample of what mine looks like just drop me a note and I would be glad to email you.

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Creating an Offensive Play Call System (Part 3)

In case you missed Part 1 (Offensive Schemes) and Part 2 (Pick & Rolls Names), make sure you read them after you them as complimentary material to the information below.

Post Actions

When it comes time to put in my post plays, I tag the term “Power” to the end of each play call. In my mind, Power signifies strength and dominance, which I what I hope to create in the post with such actions. Another term commonly used in the NBA that you may prefer is the word “Punch”. For example, “Floppy Punch” is an easy way to call out for your big(s) to duck-in after running your Floppy action. Below are a few of my favorite “Power” (Punch) actions and for the full list check them out in my play library here.



Flare & Backscreen Actions

The last pay calls I am going to discuss are flare screens and backscreen actions. I have grouped these together because they are similar in nature go somewhat hand-in-hand.  I used to tag Flare & Backscreen actions with the same term, “Back”. However, after listening to Coach Stan Van Gundy’s lecture at the 2013 Coaching U Live it is time to make a change. He tags all of his Flare actions with the term, “Chest”. I love using Chest because it not only is it a clear term but is also a teaching moment. Chest, signifying putting the defender you are screening in the middle of your chest with the screen. This will also allow for more consistency with “Back” only meaning actions being back-screened to the rim.



I really hope you found this three-part series information and thought-provoking. If there are any topics you would like for me to right about in the future please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

Creating an Offensive Play Call System (Part 2)

In Part 1 I discussed many of the schemes/plays that are commonly run and how they are usually referred to.

Signaling the Players Involved

During Stan Van Gundy’s lecture that I mentioned in Part 1, he briefly described one aspect of his play call scheme with his elbow series. He uses the terms “In” and “Out” when calling a pick & roll. If he calls “Out”, that is the signal for the 4 man to set the pick. Conversely, if he calls “In” the 5 man will set the pick. For example, if Coach Van Gundy calls “1 Out”, this is a side pick & roll that the 4 man sets for the 1. If he called “3 In”, that would be a pick & roll in which the 5 sets the pick for 3 to come off.

Similar to Coach Van Gundy, I like to incorporate the position number in my play calls whenever I can. Not only does it help designate a “go-to” player for the action, but it is also makes it easier for the players to process a 1-5 middle pick & roll called “15” rather than calling it something like “Minnesota”. Some coaches may argue that the opponent players and coaches will pick up on this and make it easier to sniff out the plays. My opinion is this, your opponent should know (some) calls anyway through scouting. However, as long as you execute your plays with precision this should not be a concern. Make the defense prove they can stop your play(s) on a consistent basis.

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Creating an Offensive Play Call System (Part 1)

One question I am frequently asked, “How do I come up with the play calls that I use for my plays?”. Until now, I have never taken the time to explain why I name certain actions the way I do. This was until I watched Stan Van Gundy’s lecture at the 2013 Coaching U Live and I became inspired to break it all down for you. However, before I dive into the names of particular actions to signal play calls, let’s discuss many of the most commonly run schemes in basketball.

Flex Action

Flex is probably the most known and run offenses in all of basketball. Why? Because it is extremely effective if not guarded correctly. Furthermore, it is a repetitive offense that if you can lull the defense to sleep, will result in lay-ups. Flex actions are designated by running a backscreen/downscreen action. If you want to be creative you can move your wings higher and set traditional backscreens to give more space/time to get open at the rim.


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Court Vision: The Trained Eyes of a Head Coach (Part 1)

Yesterday while I was reading an article about Jason Kidd’s move to the bench, I thought a point he raised would be the perfect topic to write about: how different a coaches vision is from a players. As a potential future Hall of Fame point guard who spent 18 years in the NBA and winning an NBA Championship with the Dallas Mavericks IN 2011, Kidd thought his superb floor vision would carry over to coaching seamlessly. However, it didn’t take long for him to realize he needed to widen his vision away from the basketball. Below is an exert from the article I noted above:

…This became clear once Frank had blown the whistle, stopped play and started to remind a player far off the ball, about the proper defensive assignment. And then it happened again and again, and soon Kidd found himself squatting down, wondering if maybe Frank, a 5-foot-5 assistant with no playing pedigree, had a low-level avenue of vision that wasn’t available to the Hall of Fame point guard at 6-foot-4…

Only, it had everything to do with the trained eye of a coach. Standing, sitting, squatting – it didn’t matter – Kidd still couldn’t see everything Frank could see on the floor…

As a player, you could see the floor, but what happened in summer league was the perfect example of how that isn’t enough anymore,” Kidd said. “Here is a pick-and-roll right in front of me, and I think I’m doing the right thing but Lawrence has the vision of seeing everything else – all the things happening on the weak side of the ball…

“That told me right there: You have to widen your screen. Your screen has to see everything that’s developing, because your tendency is to just focus on the players that are involved with the ball.

“You need to be watching all 10, and going through a (mental) checklist answering if they’re doing what you’re teaching offensively and defensively.”

Rewind back to 2004 when I first joined Billy Donovan’s staff and Florida and a very similar thing happened to me. While watching our first few practices before embarking on a foreign trip to the Bahamas (which never happened thanks to a Hurricane…that also never happened), I was amazed at what I was seeing. Every few minutes one of the coaches would stop play and start shouting out corrections to players that were not even involved in a play. That is when I realized I need to start paying attention, I was about to receive my PHD in coaching for the next five years.

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