Here at BenchBoss, we decided it is time to put a spotlight on one of the main lifelines of basketball: high school coaching. Over the next couple of weeks I will investigate what is it like to be a high school basketball coach in North America, analyzing the various inputs I have from coaches in Canada and United States. What are their main motivators? What is the hardest part about coaching teenagers? What tools do coaches use to better demonstrate their ideas to the youth? How fulfilling is it to teach someone the ways of basketball? These are just some of the questions that will be answered in my multi-part series about high school coaching over the coming weeks. 

We have discussed last week how difficult life can be for a high school coach at times. The job description requires good teaching abilities, so high school coaches need to know how to deal with their players in a proper manner in order to get through to them. Because younger generations have become increasingly dependent on the digital world, coaches need to adapt to the technological approaches in their job. Not only do technological tools help players eliminate their bad habits, but using them eliminates the age gap that usually causes misunderstandings between a coach and a player.  For example, nowadays coaches create group chats to communicate with their players, which streamlines the flow of information within the team. While some coaches view technologies such as mobile phones as a distraction, it is important to note that there needs to be a balance between value and negative effects of technology. In a world that is more digital by the day, the value is at an all-time high.

So how exactly can technology provide a helping hand for high school coaches? The answer lies in keeping live stats. Tools such as tablets and stat-keeping applications allow a high school coach to collect data in real time, accumulate it, and then analyze it accordingly. Using technology to keep stats helps the coach keep all of the team information in one place without having to go through vast amounts of paper to get to the data. I’ll give you an example. Let’s say you are keeping a shot chart in every game throughout the season. At the end, it would be difficult to add up all the shot charts to create one for the entire season. Stat-keeping apps do that quite easily and provide the coach with a clear way of reading shot charts. Such technological tools help coaches make in-game decisions too. Because of the ease and clarity that stat keeping apps possess, the real time numbers can be the deciding factor for a coach on certain issues. Live stat keeping, that the development of technology has enabled, is what awaits every successful high school coach in the future.

The ease of in game use of stat-keeping apps allows for instant feedback on team performances as well as the ability to focus in on particular areas of emphasis while also playing a vital role in informing in-game adjustments.

Dave Banfield, Coach of the Holy Heart of Mary Highlanders

Technology doesn’t only help coaches during games. In fact, I would say that most of the technological advances are introduced during practices. Keeping stats in practices is an integral part of coaching, especially at the younger level where coaches are trying to observe development in their players. In order to do that, head coaches have to have a different kind of helping hand. Assistant coaches need to be fully engaged to properly stat practices, as a well-organized coaching staff can be the difference maker in the team’s success. It is only logical that extra personnel will be more detailed in coaching. Small details that fall through the cracks are usually what differentiates a good team from a great one. Not only do the assistant coaches save time for the head coach, but they also provide valuable insight that the head coach might have missed. Combination of teamwork and technology is key to success for any high school coach. Preparing for games is much easier when you have a good coaching staff who points out details that you might have missed. Technology does the same thing. Keeping stats and reviewing video material gives coaches a second chance to notice something. After all, basketball is a team sport and no coach can effectively do the job by himself/herself. All coaches need a helping hand, in one form, or the other.