Breakthrough Basketball Newsletter:
Player Accountability and Growth Using Pearson's Law

December 3rd, 2021

Here are some coaching tips below that can be helpful for you this season:

  • Pearson's Law of Accountability - Get better game results with this "law" and improve player buy-in, enthusiasm, and growth.

  • Practice Planning Resources for 8-14 Year Olds (3rd to 8th grades)

We included the Youth Practice Planning in case you wanted to take a look or share any or all of this with your youth coaches.

Hope you find something you can take away from these!


Do you ever feel like you're more invested in your philosophy and player development than your players are?

That's not uncommon, and if you are facing this struggle, here's a tip to get players to buy in, which creates enthusiasm, dedication, improvement...and accountability.

You're going to use something called Pearson's Law of Accountability.

You've probably never heard of Karl Pearson unless you're in the mathematical world, but he is considered one of the founding fathers of modern mathematical statistics. Even Albert Einstein is said to have revered Pearson!

Pearson developed an idea about performance which has proven true for over 100 years:

When performance is measured, performance improves.

When performance is measured AND REPORTED BACK, the rate of performance accelerates.

Just by reporting back performance, the research shows that the acceleration rate of success is between 300% and 1,200%! That is simply amazing.

There are 3 parts to Pearson's Law:

1) Success is defined by an expert mentor. (That's you.)

2) Progress is reported back. (Show them how they're doing and involve them.)

3) There are weekly check-ins from the mentor.

So really what Pearson's Law does is turn accountability into a more personalized formula. Progress and success really become a team focus, a WE (not I) approach - a "We're in this together" type of mentality.

Basically, Pearson's Law = "Involve me and I learn."

So how exactly can you use this?

You need feedback and check-ins for true progression and success to need to involve the athletes for true learning to take place.

Here are some practices you can implement in your program to incorporate Pearson's Law - resulting in more gains than just "traditional accountability:

Use video analysis in practice:

Identify a skill that your team needs to work on and let players use cell phones to video each other, or if you don't want them bringing their phones, you could always just set up a video camera or use your own cell phone. Tell them specifically what to do and then what to look for in their video. Then repeat the drill/skill and check for improvements.

Analyze games in a better way:

Pick one aspect of the game that really needs improvement overall as a team and only show game clips that highlight that skill. After watching the video, have the players write the 1 thing they will do better in the next game on large chart paper (make sure you write the name of the skill at the top). Bring this chart to practice and refer to it.

Create and chart goals:

List season goals, such as...

  • Make more free throws than opponents

  • Shoot 50% or above from the floor

  • Hold opponent to less than 40% shooting

  • Out-rebound your opponent

Or chart some things during practice like...

  • The number of makes on certain shooting drills

  • Free throws made each practice

Post these charts or statistics reports in the locker room, show them during practice, talk about them at weekly meetings. Any time you can get them involved in the graphing or charting, that's even better.

Celebrating success is important:

Once they've achieved a team goal or have simply shown major improvement in something you've been focusing on, have a little fun! You can give rewards that are as simple as...

  • Gatorade

  • Pizza

  • Play a fun game (wiffle ball? dodgeball?) at the end of practice

  • High fives

  • Verbal praise ("Great job getting low and boxing Jimmy right out from underneath the basket!")

Now, you know better than anyone that you can't possibly fit this all in. Just pick 1 idea you want to try, and see how it goes. Maybe you find it's not your style or it just doesn't work with your particular group of kids. That's okay. Whatever you do, just remember that you need to...

Measure the performance AND REPORT IT BACK.

Involve them, and they will learn!

I'd be curious to hear ideas about how you have or will use Pearson's Law. Send me an email and let me know!


As many youth coaches know, finding resources like drills and practice plans can be challenging yet necessary to get you off on the right foot.

Here are a couple of helpful resources that might help you get started:

1 - We outline what skills you should focus on as well as how to structure your practice time here:

Practice Planning For Success In Youth Basketball!

2 - My brother Jeff also wrote about his experience (on his coaching blog) while coaching his two children from 8 to 14 years old (3rd through 8th grade). You can find some sample practice plans and guidance here:

Practice Plans for Youth Basketball

Additionally, you can look at the categories by age on the right-hand side.

You can find a comprehensive overview of coaching different age groups... offense, defense, plays, etc.

Hope that helps!

All the Best,

- Joe Haefner
Breakthrough Basketball