The NY Times has an article today called “Timeout Tactics Include Seating and Setting” that breaks down the science behind how and where some top college coaches seat their players during timeout huddles. I’m sure you’ve noticed that every team’s timeouts look different – bench, no bench, stools, etc. – but there is apparently real, detailed strategy behind the way players are situated. And it’s as much about girls as it is about game-planning.
Some coaches prefer their players sit on the bench â€” which is not a bench anymore, but a line of padded chairs. Some want them seated far onto the court. Some want them spun to face the sideline, and some want them angled with their backs to the opposing student section. Some want the players seated in a line, some want them in a half-circle, and some want three chairs in a row with the other two facing inward on the edges. Some want the players to sit in a specific order so the coach knows that the center, for example, will be on the far left and the point guard on the far right.
The only consistency is that everyone knows what the coach wants. It has been rehearsed, like a pick-and-roll or a zone trap.
“Before the first game, I remember vividly in practice, he said, ‘This is what we’re going to do during timeouts,’ ” the Texas A&M athletic assistant Dustin Clark said of Coach Mark Turgeon.
In the article, UCLA’s director of basketball operations describes it as “a real military action” and the article breaks down Ben Howland‘s timeout routine:
The use of timeout-specific stools is another trend. U.C.L.A. carries six of them to every game â€” five with blue metal legs and white pads with the university logo, one with wooden legs and a blue pad for Coach Ben Howland. When a timeout is called, stools are quickly arranged on the floor in a straight line.
“Wherever the loudest part of the crowd is, we try to have our backs to that,” Hillock said.
Coaches huddle near the top of the key. Someone goes to the scorer’s table to see if the opponent is substituting anyone and to double-check where the ball will be inbounded. The five in the game sit in front of the coach, and the bench players gather around them, where coaches can see them.
“Otherwise, how do I know that they’re not looking at the best-looking girl in the stands?” Hillock said.
Judging by the way UCLA got kicked in the teeth by Villanova on Saturday, they needed to worry about stopping dribble-penetration than who is sitting on blue seats and white seats in their huddles.
Article + Photo: NY TIMES