Many team’s waste timeouts by not being prepared for their timeout. By the time the players get to the bench, get settled, and get water, the horn is blowing for them to get back out on the floor.
Here are 5 simple tips to get the most out of your timeouts:
- Everyone has a place – When the timeout is called, the players first have to get to the bench and the players on the bench must get off the bench. Our players know that the first 5 seats on the bench are where they are to go when the timeout is called and they are to run off the court. The players who are on the bench know that they are to meet their teammates coming off the floor and to circle around the bench. All eyes are on the coach.
- One person talks – Coaches should not speak over each other during timeouts. The players need to hear one voice at this time. If the head coach has enough time to finish his thoughts, it would then be appropriate to ask his assistants if they have anything to add. Players should not speak during this time unless they are spoken to.
- Water, towels, and board are ready – Before every game we place bottles and towels under the benches that are to be used during timeouts. The players are wasting the timeout if they are busy looking for water instead of listening to the coach. I also assign an assistant to hand me the dry erase board once a timeout is called — this way we always have it on hand and we are not wasting time running to get the board.
- Speak with a purpose – Most players are likely to only understand one adjustment during a timeout. As coaches, we should not overload them with too much information, but instead give them easy adjustments to help them be successful.
- Practice – We practice our timeout situations in our final pre-season practice of the year. We only discuss it for 5 minutes, but like everything else it is important for them to understand our expectations for these situations. I also will point out a bad timeout on film showing the players their poor body language or lack of focus.