Critical Tips For Scouting Your Opponents

Once, you get to the high school level, it becomes more critical to scout your opponents for game preparation. Take a look at some helpful tips offered by Ken Sartini on scouting your opponents.

When my assistant and I went scouting we broke things down this way:

Defensive Scouting

I scouted their defense so I knew how we could attack it... looking for strengths and weaknesses - things they did in specific situations. How they defended inbounds plays - what presses they used and in what situations they used them... like after free throws or on sideline inbound plays.

1- What defenses did they use in each quarter?
2- What is their best defense?
3- What defense do they use the most?
4- Where do they start their pressure?
5- How do they defend the wings?
6- How do they defend the low post? High Post?
7- How do they handle screens?
8- Are they a pressure m2m or a sagging m2m team?
9- Where do they look to trap?
10 - Do they use any special defenses? Box & 1 etc.

Offensive Scouting

The assistant scouted their offense (s) and inbound plays, since he was in charge of the defense I felt like that was the best way of breaking this down.

We looked for their offensive philosophy.

1- Did they go to any specific player in crunch time?
2- Who did they run sets plays for? What were they?
3- Did they run anything with multiple - staggered screens?
4- Was there any specific time that they ran their sets - coming out of a time out, after we shot free throws, beginning and end of quarters?
5- Who were their best scorers?

We both scouted their personnel... nice to have different opinions about what a player can or can not do.

Did the offensive players have tendencies? Drive baseline? Drop step left? Pump fake and drive? Dribble with head down while driving to the basket?

Game Plan

We then got together to formulate a game plan.

1- What do we need to do to beat this team?
2- What things do we need to cover in practice before we play them?
3- Possible m2m match ups and what it will take to stop your man.

What do you think? What are your experiences? Do you have any thoughts, ideas, and suggestions?


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Ken Sartini says:
10/6/2014 at 7:49:14 PM

You might try and exchange game tapes ??

OR, IF you have a coaching buddy on other islands... exchange infoimation.


Bradley says:
10/6/2014 at 4:24:01 PM

I wish I could scout - only two opponents are on the same island as we are.


james says:
8/5/2014 at 5:34:14 PM

Depending on the age, scouting the warm up line can be deceptive or a waste of time.


Avraham says:
12/8/2011 at 11:46:18 AM

Do you have the opponents video?
Do you do video sessions with the players?


thomas says:
9/18/2010 at 10:23:08 PM

i'm just now starting to coach and one of the first places i look is the warm up line. some players can't use their weak hand on layups, some have difficulty dribbling, and others have poor shooting mechanics. IMO, this gives you an idea of what you may see in the game in terms of offensive production. during the game, i'd observe the players skill set, i.e.: setting screens, coming off screens, etc. whatever area they're weak in, it's an opportunity to use it to your advantage.


Ariel Rabe says:
9/17/2010 at 4:20:22 AM

Thanks a lot. I do need this.


Jeff says:
9/16/2010 at 3:39:13 PM

I would also look for any intangibles like if you see a certain player missing a lot of freethrows. This may be the guy to foul at the end of the game if you need it.


Coach L says:
9/15/2010 at 6:13:34 PM

Who should you foul or not foul?

by the way, love the newsletter.


Dutchy says:
9/13/2010 at 1:04:57 PM

When scouting an opponent I also look for their players who don't score much, so my players know they can give more helpside than normal.


Sean says:
9/10/2010 at 1:05:29 AM

Insightful - thanks!


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