On scouting: 'You have to be a couple of days ahead as a coach'

Apr 02, 2019 by By Sarunas Jasikevicius - Kaunas Print
On scouting: 'You have to be a couple of days ahead as a coach'

In modern basketball, scouting is among the essential tasks for every professional team. Coaching staffs must learn what kind of plays their opposition likes to run, when and how. Then they must break that information down, decide how to use it to their advantage, create a game plan and teach all of that to the players. And with multiple games every week between the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and domestic competitions, it is no easy task. An accomplished player, Sarunas Jasikevicius is one of the most well-respected young coaches in the game and uses scouting to get the most of his team.

I look at scouting as just another tool, especially for your defense, but also for your offense because you are looking for weaknesses in your opponents. While you are looking at an opposing team, you are searching where you can hurt them.

How we have been doing it is that I watch a lot of games and our assistants watch a lot of games. Then, we try to come up with the same ideas how we are going to go about our game plan, where we are going to concentrate on attacking and how we believe the other team will attack us.

"All the video we watch, all the Synergy information we use, all the scouting tools, they are all here to kind of confirm that and help us with our ideas."

All the video we watch, all the Synergy information we use, all the scouting tools, they are all here to kind of confirm that and help us with our ideas. We do not do much scouting in the preseason. We know there are some teams we have to scout a lot and there are some teams we don't have to scout a lot and there are several different reasons for it.

Every opponent has its advantages and disadvantages, but for example, some coaches are more simple than the others. In the EuroLeague, you already know that some coaches have a lot of sets, while some other coaches prefer to have fewer sets, but do them right. Since you already know a few things about that coach and what kind of system he has, scouting and the amount of it we do depends a lot on that. In addition, some of our players already know most of the other players. But if and when new teams come into the competition, it is possible that we need to do more scouting on them to present it to the players, because players might not know that new team.

So, the way we do scouting and the amount we do differs from one week to another. It also depends on the schedule, but I like to be done with scouting on Monday or on Tuesday because you have to put it in practices and the guys have to work at it for two or three days just to get things automatic and get ideas in their heads. For that reason, scouting has to be done early because you sort of have to be a couple of days ahead as a coach.

A good thing is that these days it can be done in your spare time. With all the traveling we do, You actually do a lot of video watching on the trips or in our case during bus rides in the Lithuanian League. You spend time watching video whenever you can and, if you are behind, you will watch it at home, too.

"Personally, I like to watch four or five games for every opponent."

Personally, I like to watch four or five games for every opponent. And again, for coaches you know who use a lot of sets, you definitely need to watch five games. On the other hand, those coaches who don't use a lot of sets, maybe three games is enough. Then, our assistant coach Evaldas Berzininkaitis puts together a video that we present to the players. Sometimes I prefer certain details emphasized even more, but that simply depends on the opponent we have that week.

What I believe is important is that you have to do and have to take part in everything yourself. For me as a young coach, I think you have to go through the entire process yourself. I feel that for me it is very important to learn all the ins and outs of the job, to help make things automatic. So you try to learn things yourself.