Tracking and Evaluating Offensive and Defensive Actions

Most successful basketball coaches have a “secret sauce” – things they emphasize during practices and games. These actions typically are not tracked by traditional stats packages or services. Actions can be offensive actions like post entries or paint touches, or defensive actions like double teams or traps. With Hoopsalytics, you can track these events, and measure how they affect the outcome of any possession.

Note that “actions” are different than “sets”. In Hoopsalytics, a set is a play or defensive alignment. An action typically occurs during the flow of play, like a dribble hand-off or high screen. Often these actions will happen without the coach calling for them, hence these are not set plays but should still be tracked. (Hoopsalytics tracks sets as well.)

For customization, Hoopsalytics lets you easily add your own actions to track, in addition to providing some common defaults.

After scoring a game, you can see the total number for each action, and what the points scored or allowed were for any possession or live ball sequence containing that action.

Like all data shown in Hoopsalytics, clicking on any box score number plays videos of those events. So you can quickly watch all low post entries, for example.

Demo: Swarthmore vs Johns Hopkins

We’ve been breaking down some of the games with top-ranked teams (in various divisions), adding various actions to track. Swarthmore and Johns Hopkins are always two of the top D3 teams in the country, and they make a great case study for tracking actions. We analyzed a game between them on 1/29/22.

You can see Swarthmore emphasized paint touches and post entries. Here’s a breakdown of the various actions that Swarthmore ran:

Hoopsalytics also determines the point value outcome of any sequence or possession that contained those events. Here’s how it looks (by possession) for Swarthmore:

You can see “Barkleys” (backdowns) were Swarthmore’s most effective action in this game, followed by paint touches by #23, and high post entries to #54.

Johns Hopkins had a slightly different action profile – here’s their total of different (and more varied) actions:

And the per-possession scoring efficiency:

Johns Hopkins is also very disciplined in not taking a lot of long two-point shots. You could guess that from the amount of paint touches and post entries, but here’s their shot chart for the game.


How to Score Actions

When scoring your games, you can add either offensive or defensive actions with a couple of clicks, or easily create your own.

In the scoring panel, you can choose an Offensive Action, or a Defensive Praise or Fail:

Selecting Offensive Actions brings up a menu of possibilities – to which we’ve added various custom events for these teams:

Adding your own action to track is as simple as clicking the green “Add New Type” button at the bottom of the panel.


Watch this video to see more on how action tracking works:


How to Get This for Your Team

If you’d like this sort of detail for your own games, sign up today and get a free one-game trial.

And if you need help getting started, feel free to reach out and contact us.

Finally, if you’d like to poke around with the stats and analytics for this game, just contact us and ask to be added to the account as a “staff” member.

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