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How to: Decide Your Team Strategy

January 29, 2019 AT 12:00 AM

Building a game plan


Many factors go into consideration when designing a team strategy. The skill set and physical attributes of available as well as the level of competition all have to be taken into account. Many coaches favor structured offenses and defenses, while players can prefer a more free-flowing style of play. A cohesive overarching strategy can help in achieving a suitable middle ground.


Tempo: If you have a big man who is a pure force of nature or a bunch of shooters ready to spread the floor, you might be able to thrive in a slower half-court offense. If your team is relatively smaller or faster, or struggles from the perimeter, an up-tempo pace might be more appropriate, allowing for more spacing than within a half-court set. Needless to say, if you want to run, your players had better be in tip-top physical condition.


Focus: Traditional offenses are focused on feeding the ball to the interior, with post players creating space by drawing double teams or mismatches. More perimeter-oriented offenses are gaining in popularity however, with the advent of the three-point shot and position-less players. If your players have the requisite versatility, with everyone able to shoot, pass and dribble, a motion offense can generally move faster than the defense can set up. Beyond a general strategy, teams frequently reserve some go-to plays for their key players to create mismatches.


Offense or defense: Of course, a great team has to be able to get it done at both ends of the floor. However, most teams do show a bias in one direction. At earlier stages of team development, it may be easier to focus on your strength and to allow it to dictate the flow of the game. For instance, a team that is adept at intense defensive pressure is likely to force mistakes and turnovers, and these can be easily exploited in transition for easy baskets.


Adjustments: With regards to tactical adjustment, coaches often fall into two camps, with one advocating a consistent game plan above all else, and the other expounding the virtues of adapting to your opponents. Although this issue is not likely to be resolved, it is usually easier to stick to your guns when facing comparable rivals, while adapting can maximize your strengths when facing a more formidable foe.




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