The coach should resist any immediate temptation to address aspects of the game in which the team struggled. For example, the opponent may have successfully used ball screens in the game and so the coach believes that their team needs to improve how they defend ball screens. However, the coach needs to consider this in regard to the overall priorities they had identified for the season.

The coach may have identified that defence on ball screens was something to be done later in the year and, if so, the fact that one opponent used them to good effect may not mean that the coach now changes their overall priorities. Instead, the coach should consider whether or not to change the development priorities.

If the coach does want to focus on aspects at practice because of how they were performed in the game (e.g. the team may have been poor in “blocking out” offensive rebounders), the coach should not dwell on what happened. The next practice session may be a number of days after the game (particularly with junior teams) and the team may not recall with the same clarity as the coach what happened in the game. It will usually be enough to simply do the activity, focusing on what they want the team to do rather than referring back to the game.

There may be specific contexts from the game that prompt the coach to want to work on something at the next practice. For example, rebounding in zone defence may have been poor, or players may not have cut effectively when the opponent double teamed the low post player. However, the coach still does not need to spend time talking about what went wrong and can simply use activities with those scenarios.

If the coach does want to refer particularly to aspects of the game, then they could:

  • Use video of the game at the start of practice (to remind players of how they performed);
  • Provide information to the players (e.g. a written report) prior to practice, which highlight the aspects of play upon which they want to focus;
  • Have the players discuss the game and identify areas that they believe need improvement.

Senior players may be more interested to specifically review aspects of the game and within a professional team there is more scope to specifically review games (because the coach has more time with the players). However, with junior teams the focus generally should be on what you want the players to do. If individual players seek more information the coach should certainly provide that.