I love basketball ❤️🏀. To me love means two things - sacrifice and being fascinated by the intricate details.

I have created this website to share my knowledge and passion for the game. I hope you find it beneficial. 

The Art of the Scout (Video)

Carrying on from yesterday's post that focused on the written individual scouting report, we now turn to the video which is typically presented to the players one or two days prior to game day (in addition this past season, wi-fi permitting, we'd upload the scout videos online so that the players could access them and revise on their own time should they wish). 

Both the complete written scout and especially the video should emphasise that the upcoming game is primarily about us. I believe I recall reading that the 2008 Celtics broke from the norm and rather than indicate when games were to be played on their calendar by showing large icons of the opponent's logo they would put a large Celtics logo and a smaller logo for their opponent - the rationale being that the Celtics had a game that day, it happens to be against Atlanta, for example. In keeping with this the title screen for the video should feature your logo, not their's. 

The video should correspond with the written scout. It should follow the exact same order. This helps the players to retain the scout and retrieve the information. What they're required to do is presented chronologically from the beginning of the defensive possession. For example, does the player leak out and we need to be aware of not letting them get behind us in defensive transition? 

If you are unable to find clips that correspond with what you've said in the written scout you need to consider whether or not what you are saying is true. If you determine it is not, then you should eliminate it from the scout. Including false information or instruction in the scout will quickly cause you to lose credibility with the players. They need to know if you say that they have a strong drive left preference for example that this will indeed be the case. It is important to try as best you can to distinguish between one off occurrences and patterns. Watching as many games as possible, including games from previous seasons, will aid in this. Analysing the player's career statistics will also help you to build an accurate picture. 

Every clip should illustrate a point. If it doesn't, don't include it. Generally you don't need multiple examples of something, unless you are trying to build your player's belief, show how prevalent something is, or illustrate a new trend. For example, if someone who previously couldn't drive left has now added that to their game you may include two or three clips to convince the players that their prior held beliefs need to change. However, one clip of Hayden Allen hitting a catch and shoot 3 will suffice! Everyone already knows he's a shooter!

For unfamiliar players, such as a new import early in the season, you should use previous footage, perhaps from college and/or their previous pro team. This will help you build the narrative about them, and it also enhances your credibility with the players as they can see that their coach has put in the work. For this same reason it is worthwhile (when appropriate) to utilise clips from as many different games during the season. If you only source your clips from one game the players may think (or know) you have only watched or edited one game and therefore they'll have less faith that what they're seeing is representative of their upcoming opponent. Perhaps said player driving predominantly left was an aberration or perhaps the opponent in that game was forcing him to drive left because he's such a good right hand driver. 

The most powerful clips will come from any previous games you've played against your upcoming opponent. This should trigger the players' memories of that game, so they'll identify and understand what is being presented to them more readily. You do need to know your players. The video can also act as somewhat of a highlight reel - for example when addressing the team's defensive transition it may have three to five clips of your team pushing the ball against them and scoring to encourage more of the same. In this way you can build your players' confidence. Alternatively, some high confidence, resilient players will respond to being tweaked in the video. For example, when showing the upcoming opponent's post moves you may show them getting cooked in the previous game as the exemplar clips. With the right player you can piss them off and have them motivated not to let it happen again.   

You may want to inject elements of humour to keep it interesting - perhaps a silly photo of a seagull when introducing a player who leaks out or the like - but you need to pick your spots. You don't want everyone distracted right before a key clip. 

Once you have covered the individuals you move on to the opponent's systems. Once again this generally follows a chronological order from the beginning of the possession to the end. More frequent or important occurrences are presented first. Therefore I would follow the following order:

Their offensive transition

Their man to man plays - starting with early offence elements such as drag screens or punch screens.

If we play zone, their zone plays.

Their Baseline out of Bounds (BLOBs) - man first, then zone

Their Sideline out of Bounds (SLOBs) - man first, then zone, then end of game situations

Their man to man defence - try and find a singular representative clip. Are they pressure oriented or pack oriented, for example.

Their on ball screen coverages. If you run a lot of a particular action, for example, turn outs, do you have footage of how they typically defend that action. This knowledge can also inform your individual workouts, warm ups and breakdowns in the lead up to the game. 

Their zone/s if they play any

Their press/es if they play any

Their out of bounds defence, especially if they change their defences on BLOBs or SLOBs


Show their most important plays first. They may be deemed as such due to the high frequency that they use them, or because they're very effective with them. The first clip should ideally show the base play to completion. Subsequent clips may show the various options and wrinkles. Ideally one or two most representative clips will provide a comprehensive picture. It makes a huge difference to know the verbal and/or visual identifier. You may include this is the clip, but you should not include 5 or more seconds of lead time in order to show it.

The clips should be tidy without wasted lead or lag time. This bores the players, especially as it all adds up and makes the video session too long and inefficient. My compulsion prefers that the 'working' (timeline bars, play icons, cursors moving and the like) is avoided. 

The video should be in the 15-18 minute range (although if you can be comprehensive in less time this is even better). The session will generally take double the time of the actual video as you may need to pause to emphasise a particular point or a player may request to see certain clips again (and this is great, as it indicates they genuinely desire to understand). The longer the video session goes for the more you will lose the player's attention (you can extend their ability to concentrate for longer periods of time as the season progresses so that by the time you reach the play offs they are able to handle a more comprehensive out if required). Too long and you'll have a (hopefully polite) revolt on your hands!

How to Make the Defence Always Wrong - On Ball Screen Offence Versus Man

The Art of the Scout (written report)