How the Kentucky Wildcats Use Data to Position Themselves For Success

Over 12 years at Kentucky, Women’s Basketball Head Coach Matthew Mitchell has established a culture of hard work and honest evaluation to get the most out of his players. The 2018-2019 Wildcats rank 17th in the nation headed into the postseason. They boast a disruptive, pressure defense which ranks in the top 15 in steals and top 40 in scoring defense in the nation. However, Coach Mitchell knows great programs have to find success on both ends of the court. During a coaches retreat this off-season the staff decided to commit 25% of their practices to shooting drills for the upcoming season.

But as every coach knows, shooting drills can be chaotic. Groups of players at four or five hoops each shooting the ball is impossible to accurately track by hand. Even with a manager at each goal, the staff frequently had to go back and review film to get more accurate statistics. This cumbersome process just wouldn’t work for Coach Mitchell’s increased emphasis on shooting drills.

Now, Kentucky’s practices are powered by ShotTracker, the sensor-based system that instantly delivers 70+ stats and analytics in an easy-to-use app. Every ball and every player are tracked with box scores, shot charts and advanced analytics available in real-time in the app. Kentucky’s culture of hard work and honest evaluation is bolstered with analysis that nobody can hide from. The Kentucky staff can use the real-time data to hold players accountable, encouraging and coaching them with the support of numbers throughout a practice.

I don’t know if there has been anything over the last 12 years at Kentucky that made more sense to me as far as something that can really help our players as individual shooters and help our program offensively get better.
Matthew Mitchell
Head Coach, Women’s Basketball
University of Kentucky

Knocking down tough shots when the team needs it is a staple of Kentucky Women’s Basketball this season, and having underlying data to help in that effort is crucial. When Coach Mitchell talked about how he uses ShotTracker’s data during games he said, “ShotTracker makes it so easy to see where a player makes most of her shots. So when you see that and you’re constructing a quick hitter or see an opponent might struggle with a certain action, ShotTracker informs you where a player is being successful. As coaches that’s our job to get them in a successful position.”

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