Both individual as team tactics in basketball are very complex. That’s why I think the use video analysis is crucial for a coach in order to teach his basketball philosophy to his players.
For my current season with T71 Dudelange, I chose once again for NACSport software for my video editing. Integrating KlipDraw, it is now very easy to highlight players and actually move them on the court.
Here I show you a sample I made of Serbia (Eurobasket 2017) on how they can improve their spacing in a set play. Judge for yourself. Do you think the software tools help to bring over your message to your players? Have a look:
2009 was the year that I started to take my coaching career more seriously. I was completely fond of Spanish basketball and recognized the different skills sets of the players in the so-called ACB compared to Belgium. To improve as a coach, I really wanted to find out how the Spanish youth program worked. At that time, my basketball network was very close to unexisting. So I did not have a better solution than to write e-mails to some Spanish clubs with the question if I could come over to watch and learn.
Without any connections, I started writing mails to the adresses I found on the internet. I seriously doubt if my e-mails in English to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com ever reached an English-speaking member close to the staff. After several months (!) I got a short reply by a certain Pablo Borras, youth director of Estudiantes Madrid (next opponent of Donar Groningen to qualify for the Champions League). I did not hesitate for a second, and the very first break during the season, I took a flight to Madrid. I spent four complete days in the gym of Estudiantes, watching practices from the U8 till the professional men’s and women’s team in first division. For days and days, I looked away from the beautiful city of Madrid to take notes while my ass was freezing off in the hard stances in a gym with broken windows.
I must also admit that my very limited basketball philosophy at that point shook on its foundations… I saw U10 players:
– taking three-pointers
– making the craziest hop lay-ups
– learning to make one handed passes off the dribble
– continu their practice after 90′ on an outside court while it was almost freezing
Discussions with the local coaches and youth director made me understand all the “WHY’s” behind every drill and I must say that I still use some of concepts and drills today.
In the stances over there, I also got to know a young Brittish coach named Joe Riley. Basically, he gave up his life in the UK for two consecutive seasons to invest in himself as a coach. He absolutely wanted to discover all secrets of the Spanish youth program to take one day to his home country. He spent every day in the gym, taking notes. Since a couple months, Joe and I got in touch via Twitter. Joe is organizing all his notes into practice plans for youth programs. This is extremely valuable resource for every young coach! It shows the secrets behind the youth program that produced players like Sergio Rodriguez, Juancho Hernangomez or Felipe Reyes. Please have a look at his Twitter account or website and show some love for his unpaid efforts back in the days. Tremendous respect, Joe!
My trip to Estudiantes was also an eye-opener to the important step from a talent to a basketball team at the highest level. I saw a 16 year old Jaime Fernandez which grew later to a franchise player for the club (now playing for the first time for another club in the Liga Endesa). In 2013, I saw him again as one of the key players of the European Championship U20 in Estonia. I remember him (21 pts, 6 ast, 5 reb) killing Antetokounmpo (5 pts) and Greece for a spot in the semi-finals.
My love for Spanish basketball only grew during that trip in 2010 and it was for sure not my last trip over there, which you will read about in one of the next stories.
Well, after all, I can’t finish this blogpost without telling this embarassing story… I was sitting in the stance with youth director Pablo and asking why they would teach U10 players to throw one-handed passes off the dribble, even when some players were definitely not ready to do so. I explained Pablo that in those days you could almost get fired in Belgium by doing so. I will never forget the look on his face at that moment. He started laughing out loud and told me: “Watch a high-level game and count the number of two-handed passes… The only one you will see is the pass from the referee to a player on the free throw line”. I quickly realized he was right and how stupid it must look to practice two-handed chest and bounce passes then… Quite embarassing… Common sense, right?
When it comes down to teaching the skills set for a modern basketball player, 20 year old textbooks aren’t the best resources… Watch some Eurobasket & Euroleague games and its best players! Basketball is a quickly evolving sports, one of the reasons I love the game so much!
This report handles another look on the Belgian League from a coach’s point of view. More specifically, I want to use advanced basketball stats to find the crucial factors behind the best and worst offensive teams in the League.
In this analysis, I will focus on the secrets behind the offensive ratings. Having a better “offensive system”, what does it mean? How can you recognize it? Too often, verbals like a “solid offensive system” are very trendy to use, but where should you focus on as a coach? I will discuss the four crucial parameters behind a solid offense and compare the performances of all teams in those aspects to the general standings.
You can download the complete PDF report rightHERE.
For This Is Basketball, I made an analysis of the first part of the Belgian Euromillions Basketball League. I compare the type of play and results of all teams by taking a closer look to some more profound statistical parameters.
You can download the complete PDF report rightHERE.
This beginning of May I was invited for the second time by the Qatar Basketball Federation (QBF) and the Qatar Olympic Academy (QOA) as a lecturer for several clinics. Around 80-90 coaches from all over the Arabic world showed to attend this International Coaching Clinic in Doha, supported by FIBA.
Many thanks to the hospitality of the QBF and QOA and to all the participating coaches.
Last week our season already ended with BSW Weert in the Dutch Basketball League, (1st Div men’s basketball in Holland). The days after a season’s ending, as a coach you always make some reflections and an evaluation about your journey. As I did the exercise, I want to share some of these thoughts with the readers of my blog.
BSW Weert – season 2015-2016 (not on picture: Thomas Dreesen)
Well, we ended last in the ranking with only 3 victories over the season… So this could be a very short evaluation, no? Well, maybe not. But if you evaluate a player, a coach or a team only based upon whether he wins or not today, you can stop reading right here.
The season of BSW Weert was generally known as a challenge. Due to two consecutives bankrupties of the capital sponsor, the club has by far the lowest budget of the DBL. The difference with for example title contender Donar Groningen is huge. Donar is a team with a budget which is estimated more then 10 (!) times the budget of BSW Weert and has 7 imports (4 USA + 2 naturalized USA/CAN + 1 CRO). Weert has no import players at all (allthough we could add the Belgian Thomas Dreesen as an “import” in January). But also for example the second last team in the ranking, Aris Leeuwarden, plays with three American imports. Therefore, before the season we kept on repeating that we wouldn’t measure the success of this season by the number of victories in the DBL.
Our championship started with a game on the road against Donar Groningen, who also competed in the FIBA Cup. The game ended with a historic 122-57 blow-out… Probably I do not have to sketch our moral after this opening loss to anyone who ever has been part of such a loss as a player or coach. One of our last games of the season, we played again Donar, a game which was important for them to capture the first spot of the regular season. The game ended 95-98 … with a buzzer 3 pt shot of Groningen in overtime… Close, but no cigar!
Well, you are absolutely right, in sports everything can happen and these surprises make our sports so exciting to watch. One can definitely not evaluate a season based upon the result of one single game.
So, I will look to another way to evaluate our season, in order to check whether we reached our individual and collective goals.
As for the collective progression, let us compare the result of our 5 last games, compared with our first games played against the same teams, which I think is quite remarkable:
I do respect ALL of my players because of the way they kept on working hard this season in very difficult circumstances. By sticking together as a team and continous hard work on a daily base, they kept on growing. I know a lot of other examples where the lack of victories resulted in a misery season which turned out to be lost time for everybody.
As for the individual progression, the focus of the club was on a couple of young talented players on the roster, which are possibly the future of the club. Let me focus on three young talents on the team who didn’t play in the DBL last season and see how they had a huge role on the team during the final part of the season:
Does this mean that in any way that I can be satisfied with this season? Hell no!! Definitely NOT! I’m a winner and one can only be happy or satisfied with a season when results (short term) are combined with individual and collective progression (middle long term). But I can say that this season has been by far the most instructive in my evolution as a coach and I am more ambitious than ever to convert this experience into successes!
Making an evaluation, also means looking to the future. From my very first meeting with the club – the manager and president – when I accepted the challenge of BSW Weert for 2015-2016 (1y contract), I made it clear to be interested to build a program and a plan for several years, on the absolute condition that the club had to grow on all levels in order to become a worthy D1 club: staff, staff support, medical staff, budget, fan base, collaboration with the youth academy, equipment, … This past season the poor financial situation of the club even got worse, which blocked any improvement of the conditions around the court. The future of the club looks uncertain today (where the decision to start in D1 next season has been postponed), which means that I keep my eyes open for other projects with a better perspective to build a program over several years.
iBasketball TV – Episode 23
Thanks for the compliments and I completely understand your funny laughs at the end about the upcoming match-up with Donar, and I would have loved that the buzzer shot had fallen on the other side in our overtime loss… 🙂
The opening game of this current NBA season ’15-’16 has been filmed by 360° cameras. This might be a breakthrough in watching sports games at home. This way, one can watch Stephen Curry’s clutch performance from centre court seats, sit in the middle of Popovic’ time-outs or just stare at the cheerleader standing on the other end of the action. Without a doubt, this will give a complete new dimension to watching sports events at home, as if you are sitting in the middle of the action. Of course, one needs 3D glasses (see picture), but Google’s 10$ cardboards will definitely speed up the spread of virtual reality experience at home.
360° view BSW Weert – Apollo Amsterdam
To explore the possibilities, we have set up a test case in collaboration with the Belgian company VR experience, filming my latest game in the Dutch Basketball League, between BSW Weert and Apollo Amsterdam.
Peter Vanherle of VR Experience: “We’ve built our own cameras at VR Experience to achieve the quality we were looking for. Our partner Intel has delivered advanced CPU’s to process omnidirectional imagery (30 x HD) in real-time. We’ve developed a platform that allows you to access your VR experience anywhere in the world on any device (web, mobile, apps, …). Importantly for sports events, we can stream from any place at any time. We filmed the game in Weert with a 360° camera at the half court line and a 180° camera behind each backboard.”
The result are these raw images of the 4th quarter of the game BSW Weert – Apollo Amsterdam (30/1/2016): Please note that the resolution for these raw images is a lot lower because of the limits of Kolor (a YouTube-like platform for VR videos). Right below one can choose for a better resolution if your internet connection is fast enough.
Using your mouse on PC/Mac or your fingers on your smartphone/tablet, one can focus anywhere on any moment in the gym.
The great advantage over well-known systems in sports as Keemotion, is the fact that everything in the gym is captured and can be analyzed. VR Experience created a platform where they can stitch the videos of the cameras and angles in real-time (see picture)! It could be of a huge value for major sports events where every single detail in the arena is captured. I can imagine that a referee commission in major sports leagues would love to have these different angles on any event which happened far from the attention of the classical TV cameras on the ball action including the player’s bench and even to identify fans who misbehave in the stadium. Traditionally, having a lot of camera angles on an event requires a lot of cameras and a bus full of camera men. With this system, a couple of cameras can be installed and all the action is captured! Zooming in, stitching the different views, choosing the angles can be done by one single person afterwards!
3D glasses (Oculus)
Real-time stitching of all camera angles with VR Experience
As a sports fan, this will certainly be the future in experiencing sports events at home. Everybody will have center court seats from his couch at home and imagine himself in the middle of the action.
Me as a coach, I am interested in how these new techniques can change the way we analyze games & match-ups and how it can help us teaching our younger players. The great advantage is that one can show videos from the perspective of the player.
If I think of high level coaching, one can prepare his player for his upcoming match-up with for example Lebron James from the angle of the defender. One can really show the images from the point of view he has during the game with Lebron James in front of him and show the fakes and moves he does!
If one analyses a game with his players, one can focus on their decision-making putting them in the same situation again and show the better decisions. One can go back to the same 3 on 2 transition and show your player from his point of view during the game what would have been a better option!
In a next step, one can imagine that an assistant coach is sitting on the bench during the game tagging some key moments on his iPad, which can be reseen in locker room during half-time. How useful is it to zoom from all angles into the sign that the point guard is making before they run setplay that beat you a couple of times during that 1st half?
As a teacher of the game for children it can also be very interesting. If a youth coach explains his kids to be in help defense, making a triangle where he can see and the ball and their defender (Ball-You-Man), we can show our kids what their view should look like! In analyzing a shooting technique, this method would capture the global motion from all different angles at the same time. Afterwards, one can easily view the same motion into the smallest detail from all different angles.
To enhance these applications, ideally, one would have four 360°cameras permanently in the gym which capture all the gym action whenever there is some activity in the gym. Up to the coach to call back the details that make the difference! Coaching is all about selecting and working with the details that make a difference, and with this technology of VR Experience, one can be sure that all the gym action has been captured from every angle!
Links full game BSW Weert vs Apollo Amsterdam (Dutch Basketball League, 30/1/2016):
Please note that the resolution for these raw images is a lot lower because of the limits of Kolor. Right below one can choose for a better resolution if your internet connection is fast enough.
Recently, I got the opportunity to have a look behind the scenes with Bayern Munich and Coach Svetislav Pesic. I got to know Coach Pesic personally as the mentor of FIBA’s FECC program, which played a crucial role in my coaching career. Coach Pesic is probably Europe’s most legendary basketball coach, being a former world champion, European champion (2x) and Euroleague winner as a coach. This documentary is certainly must-see material for every basketball coach.
I absolutely think such a short internship is of an incredible value to young coach. Not because of some secret plays that are ran by a winning team. I don’t believe basketball is a game of secrets. On top, the X’s and O’s of a team at the highest level are far from the only things that makes it worthwhile. During those kind of practices, one pays attention to:
– How is the coach preparing his team for the next game?
– How is his personal relation with the players?
– How does the staff function and who has which responsability?
– How intense/long are the practices the day before the game and on gameday itself?
– What’s the schedule on gamedays?
It is difficult to describe the value of these days at Munich for me as a young and ambitious coach. Not only the experience and the knowledge, but also the boost of energy and inspiration makes this 8h driving trip from Belgium worthwhile!
I want to thank Coach Pesic and the Bayern Munich organisation explicitly for allowing me to be a fly-on-the-wall for a couple of days.
Coach Svetislav Pesic and me
On Friday night, I attended the Euroleague game against SIG Strassbourg (with French national team coach Vincent Collet) and on Sunday Bayern played against BG Göttingen in the national league. Göttingen is coached by Johan Roijakkers, which I know since a very long time when we played for the same club in Belgium, Bree BBC. Both games were won by Munich and the atmosphere in a sold-out Audi-dome by 6500 people was great! To me personally, Germany confirmed its reputation as a sports-minded country with an impressive organisation!