Our collective task is to prepare teams for success. How much preparation is enough and does basketball have room for innovation?
Atul Gawande has written a remarkable series of books including Checklist Manifesto on improving performance, with special emphasis on checklists. In other fields from construction, to aviation, medicine, and elite restaurants, checklists improve outcomes.
Can innovative coaches design a pre-game basketball checklist, simple but elegant enough to focus players on critical elements that augur success?
This embeds key statistical “Moneyball” outcomes such as shooting percentage differential, turnovers, and rebounding disparity that predict success with high probability.
A simple basketball checklist won’t replace skilled teaching and specific game planning as needed. It won’t make shooters where none exist. But it emphasizes the central tenet of controlling the things you can control.
Ron Sen is an assistant coach in a middle school girls basketball program and a primary and specialty care physician. Follow Ron Sen on Twitter!