WELCOME TO THE DATA-CHARGED FUTURE OF SPORTS
Bobby Knight once said, “Players must be able to carry out simple instructions from the bench to the court. If they can’t, they can’t play.” This still holds true, sort of. But the four-time National Coach of the Year winner, a.k.a. The General, was operating in the Old World, where he could literally shove his players back to the bench and still hold on to his job. A temper that hot would never be able to survive, much less succeed, in the New World, where coaches need to be able to meet their tech-savvy, self-empowered players halfway — and even the simplest instructions are only as effective as the stats and analytics backing them up.
That’s why a growing number of D1 programs are installing ShotTracker — the revolutionary sensor-based system that delivers live stats and analytics via an easy-to-use app — in their practice gyms and arenas. With instant access to 70+ stats that go beyond the box score, a coach can now assess his players’ strengths and weaknesses with pinpoint accuracy and greater efficiency than ever before. ShotTracker provides detailed visual breakdowns of individual and team performance, creating a common language between player and coach. It kicks the thrill of instrasquad competition into high gear. It turns tight games into wins.
But ShotTracker’s more than just the perfect tech tool for game prep and player development—it’s the engine that’s driving coaches, players, fans and broadcasters alike into the data-charged future of live sports. Tune into this year’s four-team Hall of Fame Classic, taking place Nov 19-20 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO — ShotTracker’s homecourt — and you’ll see what that future looks like in the here and now. It marks the first time ever in NCAA history that D1 basketball coaches will have the power to access live stats and analytics from the bench. Swapping clipboards for iPads, the coaching staffs of USC, Nebraska, Texas Tech and Missouri State will be able to make data-backed adjustments on the fly, fundamentally enhancing the action on the court.
Sure, advanced stats and analytics have played an increasingly important role in pretty much every major sport for going on a decade. But by integrating the power of real-time stats into the game itself, the 2018 HoF Classic promises nothing less than a giant evolutionary leap. Coaches will now be able to base their in-game decisions on actionable intel such as optimal lineups, sweet spots on the floor and in-depth analysis of ball movement. What’s more, they will be able to see precisely how and where on the court their opponents are putting up points. (Are they giving up too many spot-up corner threes? Points in the paint?) During halftime, coaches can delve even deeper into the analytics, analyzing points per possession using variables such as paint touches and ball reversals, the better to plan their second-half offensive and defensive schemes.
Count Nebraska’s Tim Miles as a coach who’s ready to roll:
Just as it does during the installation process, ShotTracker will provide each of the four teams participating in the HoF Classic with a company liaison to ensure that they’re getting the most out of the tech— though really, ShotTracker couldn’t be easier to use. Sensors installed in the rafters map the court in 3-D, autonomously tracking the locations of players with sensors strapped to their shoes and the sensor-enabled ball. All that information gets translated into 70+ stats that instantly appear in the app. And now, having liberated dozens of D1 coaches from the long, tedious work of breaking down tape and manually statting the results, ShotTracker will empower coaches to deploy that invaluable information in a game situation — in real time.
Sure, there are still some old-school coaches out there who dismiss any need for analytics, but their numbers are dwindling fast. As every coach whose program has installed ShotTracker in its practice gym can tell you: stats don’t lie. Indeed, it’s fitting that Knight, the third most-winningest coach in college basketball history, retired in 2008—or right around the time that pioneering college coaches started to incorporate analytics into their strategic thinking. Yet Knight’s relentless dedication to detail, which inspired Harvard Business Review to compare his leadership style to that of Steve Jobs, lives on in ShotTracker’s tech-forward partnership with the National Association of Basketball Coaches. This fall, the new wave of court generals will have more detailed information to guide and convey to their players than ever before. Let the best-coached team win.