“You have to always be a student of the game. The day you start thinking you don’t need to practice or do anything besides show up in the gym and play ball, you’re going to have a problem.”
That is how Hoop Group Elite Director Kevin Driscoll introduced Synergy Sports Technology, a computer software database of NBA and NCAA basketball film. Coaches and players can use the program to filter through clips by either team, player, or type of possession. As a part of Hoop Group’s mission to expose players to all areas of the game, two optional film study hours were held during Elite Session I, in which Coach Chris Flegler joined Kevin Driscoll in teaching campers how to analyze film.
“The casual basketball fan will say Ray Allen is the best shooter in the NBA,” Driscoll told the packed classroom. “Synergy helps young basketball minds such as yourselves understand why Ray is the best.”
After filtering through the thousands of available clips, players were eager to discuss all of the little ways in which Ray Allen gets himself open for a spectacular shot. Reading a defender’s body language was a topic that was analyzed in depth. Players took exceptional notice of the way Allen reads the back of the defender’s head in order to predict the direction they will run, and then makes his move from there.
“The way he can tell where his defender is going to go probably before they themselves even know, that is what makes him such a great player,” Max Prospero (Marquette University HS/Milwaukee, Wisc.) said.
“Learning to read the back of your defender’s head in order to get in position to win the posession was the thing I learned the most from watching tape today,” Joe Kopriva (Marquette University HS/Milwaukee, WI) said. “Being a visual learning, it really helps me understand the game better when I watch film of someone else do it as opposed to just having a coach put me through the motions.”
Prospero and Kappa have been on the same team since they were in elementary school, and they agree that since they began studying film in high school, their overall understanding of the game has greatly improved.
“It is the little things, the intricatcies that no one really focuses on, that when added all together make these plays look so spectacular,” Coach Flegler told the two rising sophomores. “You can have all the skills in the world, but if you don’t know when to use them then they are useless.”
Players also watched tape of Ray Allen scoring in transition, and took note of how all transitional fast breaks start with a defender grabbing the rebound. Flegler explained that it is common for transitional offense to also start with a turnover because players tend to force bad shots instead of working the ball around to get it to an open teammate. “You guys, especially at the high school level, have to be unselfish – sometimes you have to give the ball up in order to get it back and score,” he told them.
When comparing clips of Allen on a fastbreak to those where he takes his time getting down court, Driscoll made players aware of the differences between camp games and those of the regular high school season.
“In a camp setting, you tend to try to score quickly because of the substitution patterns,” he explained. “However, you have to be able to slow the game down if the situation calls for it.”
Everything a basketball players does, whether its during practice or during a game, has a purpose. By using Synergy Sports Technology, players like Prospero and Kopriva were able to process why their NBA idol plays the way he does. “Using film study to rest your body but still engage your mind and recognize the patterns in the way I play is something I really enjoy doing,” Prospero said.
“If a player does one thing in a game setting that they learned in this film session, then the investment to come to camp is well worth it. Players have to remember that camp is about learning off the court and then applying that knowledge in a game. Its not just ‘come to camp and play for hours at a time,” Driscoll said during the session. “We try to give the young guys who come here every opportunity to learn off the court as well.”
Follow Ashley Biddle on Twitter: @Ashley_OnSports