Connecting to the previous articles, in this one we are talking about “halftime talks”.
7 – HALFTIME TALK
We can find a few nuances when we are facing the halftime talks.
- Can we get a locker room to address the team?
- How long is the halftime? most common, 10 or 15 minutes, but sometimes we have less time (5-8 minutes).
- Considering the time we have, how far is the locker room? It seems like an irrelevant question, but sometimes you need 3-4 minutes to go and get back from the locker room.
Assuming we have 10 minutes, quick and easy access to the locker room, these could be some communicative premises:
- Statistical analysis + conversation with our staff. Investing 1-2 minutes in reviewing the statistics (own, with our team items, or official stats, with the basic data about rebounds, %, turnovers), and doing a quick analysis about them with the assistants.
Later, during the talk, the assistant coach could keep analyzing the part of statistics we consider “keys” (it could be the official stats, or fastbreak points, sets with +/- effective in offense or defense, number of positive actions in a row, etc.).
Good time for players to exchange opinions/impressions to each other, even with coaches still out of the locker room.
- Locker room talk. 4-5 minutes could be enough to transmit to the team, through the verbal-non-verbal combination, what we consider necessary.
1 – Analyzing what happened in the 1st half, comparing with the idea that we had in the game plan.
2 – Making those corrections, adjustments, or changes, which are considered necessary.
3 – Reaffirming the game plan, or taking a possible change into account (going to plan “B”)
In order to do all of this, we must choose tone, gestures, where we must focus, and what details will be less important than others.
Communication will be handled by the head coach, in which the assistant coaches could also participate, especially remembering aspects of “scouting”, or “objective” aspects taken out from statistics.
Is there time for players to participate?
As we commented in the previous articles, yes, they do, but with nuances. Of course, more important if it is possible than in the pre-game, those suggestions, comments, or opinions must be done in a positive way. As we said, the talk must be handled by the head coach, who also will decide how it must end.
Varying tone, gestures, “aggressiveness”, “sympathy”, “dislike” it is a part of the coach’s job, who must know how to handle it.
- The space between the halftime talk has ended and the last minute talk before re-starting the game. It can be between 2-3 minutes. A good moment to get back in touch with the staff: nuances that may have been pending, possible solutions, starting five, foul troubles, etc.
We can take advantage of this time in order to do an “apart” with a player, although it is normal for them being on the re-activation drill.
- Last minute. Similar to the minute before starting the game. Telling the “five”, brushing up 2-3 clear off/def ideas, telling how we are going to defend (men to men, zone, press, etc.), and first sets (2-3 first offenses, giving “guidelines” to our playmaker, etc).
8 – POST GAME TALK
Here we can find ourselves in a dilemma. Speaking in an analytic way, should the post-game talk take place just at the end in the locker room? or before starting the next session?
Logically, the players have a different reception level than normal right after the end of the game:
- Unstable mood depending on the result, and its connotations.
- An unstable state of mind depending on other aspects: more/less minutes and/or relevance on the court, good or bad performance, etc.
Just like the players, the coach will also be in a different mood, taking stress into account at the end of the game.
With all this, and as for the talk or only post-game comment, some details to look at.
Where will we address the team?
The most common would be if the speech is taking place in the locker room. In case it is just a message of encouragement, support, or a short talk of a minute or less, it could happen in the “huddle“.
- Huddle: with very short messages, or a one-minute “speech” (seconds more or less), the “huddle” could be enough, which would occur in the center circle or close to the bench.
The players and staff would be on their feet, surrounding the coach. We must give importance to non-verbal communication at this time: looking at each other in the eyes, gestures.
- Locker room: it could happen after or before the players’ stretching.
The scheme proposed to follow could be the next one:
1 – Communication with staff, statistics’ analysis, general assessment of the game (in an objective and subjective way).
2 – Coming in the locker room and sending the message we want to transmit to the team, taking into account that both, players and staff are in a different communication/reception phase from the usual one.
In this case, except in exceptional cases, the message must be sent just from the head coach to the whole team, including staff.
3 – No matter whether we win or lose, we will end the speech with everyone together, joining hands and with the shout that each team has, which is required.
What can/should we transmit at that time?
Sending out messages of calm and coldness. Obviously, if after the game we have gone down, or we have won the league, this would not make sense, but in a regular-season game, or play-off with “next chance”, balancing the mood is very important. Not everything is wonderful after winning, nor everything is a big disaster after losing.
Conveying verbally and gesturally, calm, peace, making it clear that, whether we have won or not, “tomorrow we will have a new chance to be better“.
Collectivizing the message. We are all one, nobody can feel left out in the win or feeling the only one who is guilty in case of losing the game. There will be time for this if necessary.
However, we can make an exception by thanking those who have added more intangible. Perhaps a player barely got minutes, but he was proactive on the bench and doing his best on the court. A “collectivized” message, but with a clear receiver, can be very effective. There, non-verbal language, to which I am referring so much, gets a key role again.
Tomorrow is another day. “Tomorrow we will have a new chance to be better” What has happened, ended, tomorrow will be another day. Resting, recovering, and being prepared for the next practice, and for our next competitive challenge.
Is it time for technical-tactical analysis?
I don’t see it realistic. We need more time to analyze the game, and surely, if this is possible, to see it again on video.
Yes, we can go to objective data, either from basic statistics (we won the rebound, we were bad in % of FT, etc.) or “team” statistics (they scored us so many points after offensive rebounds, we got to do three positive actions in a row so many times, hardly we have scored playing with extrapass, etc.).
However, I am in favor of analyzing this last part later, in the first weekly talk. Cold statistical analysis sometimes takes us away from the all-important emotional part of the game.
In the following article, I will talk precisely about the first part of the week (first practices).