Accountability in Basketball (Pearson’s Law)

One of the basketball newsletters I receive had an interesting post about Pearson’s Law of Accountability. Pearson developed an idea about performance which has proven true for over 100 years: When performance is measured, performance improves. And when performance reported back, the rate of performance accelerates. Claims are that by reporting back performance, the acceleration rate of success is between 300% and 1,200%.

At any level, coaches want to measure things like shooting accuracy, rebounds, assists, and other stats that are leading indicators of winning teams. And at higher levels of basketball, coaches want to focus on specific things custom to their system and philosophy, like defensive fails and successes, or specific shot types. The VPS number in Hoopsalytics is one such measure of combined effectiveness. Plus/minus normalized over a full game is another one we use, as it encompasses the intangibles (especially defense) that show how impactful specific players are. Hoopsalytics lets you also add your own custom event types to further measure how well your team is doing towards their goals.

Earlier in my coaching career, I had a girls team with a very smart, quick girl, who wasn’t a great shooter. In her first game she was 0 for 12. I presented the stats for all the players, and didn’t have to say anything to her. She quickly adjusted her game to being more of a facilitator than trying to score all the time, and she made a much greater impact on the team. She became the one player everyone wanted to play with.

With Hoopsalytics, the negative stats (like turnovers or missed shots) should be a wakeup call for some players if they are excessive. By having video links to each stat, not only can a player see the number, but actually seeing the video clips of each turnover, for example, brings home the point for the players to take better care of the ball.

Hoopsalytics also has a “defensive fail” and “praise” stat which you can use to bolster your defense. These are not typical stats, but as traditional box scores over-emphasize offense and don’t track defense well, this option is valuable to defense-minded coaches. Here’s an example of defensive fail reporting from one of my recent games:

Going forward, we’ll be making it easier to add specific custom stats, and also create your own formulae for weighting them into a final score. Think of it as VPS on steroids.

If your system is looking to measure something outside of the standard cookie-cutter box score, please share with us!


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