With just a few weeks until the new season starts, here are five ways last year’s stats can help you prepare for this season:
- Identify what you’ll be missing – If you lost 4 seniors and a transfer from last season, total up their stats to see how many points, rebounds, assists, etc you’re going to have to make up
- Identify who could possibly make up those stats – This can be a dangerous exercise because someone who averages 2 rebounds in 8 minutes isn’t necessarily going to grab 10 boards playing all 40 minutes. It’s better to try and find those extra ten rebounds across a few players – asking a returner to try and grab one extra board per half per game is easy enough for both you and them to imagine but a 2 rebound per game increase is a great improvement!
- Find your winning numbers – I stole this phrase from one of the coaches I’ve worked with for a few years now. You wanna look for what you did especially well in your wins versus your losses or if your record is pretty lopsided, take a look at games with closer margins vs ones with wider margins. You can drop your team stats in Excel and do some sorting by numbers and scoring margin to get a quick look at what numbers stood out in those games. You know what you’re going to be missing at this point so if offensive rebounding was a winning number for you but you graduated 5 offensive boards per game – that becomes more crucial to make up….or you better make those shots this season.
- Compare goals to results – Hopefully you undertook this exercise in the spring after the season ended but you came into last season with some goals for your team and some things you wanted to focus on in practice – how did that translate in numbers? If you wanted to be a pressure D team but you only forced 8 turnovers per game, there’s a disconnect somewhere. Don’t let yourself just run those same drills this year thinking it’s going to yield a different result
- Focus on your best opponents – This works whether you’re a really bad team or a defending champion – someone gave you some trouble last year even if you beat them. Look at those stats versus your season averages – what they took away is probably something you’re very good at and something they identified as crucial to beating you. You may not be able to make up a talent gap but good teams are usually good because they scout really well and noticing what they noticed can be really helpful in finding a point of improvement this year.
No matter what, unless you’ve got a whole new roster this year, there are lessons to be learned from last year that can help get you ready for games in a few weeks.