Video Analysis for Basketball Coaches

By Duncan Ritchie

04-February-2021 on Tips

22 minute read

Is video analysis in basketball useful? 


Well, we would say that you just need to look at the number of top teams using Nacsport software in order to answer that. Current world champions Spain, who won the title at the 2019 FIBA World Cup, are long time Nacsport users, alongside the majority of club teams in La Liga ACB (Spain’s domestic basketball league), including current champions Saski Baskonia.


Further afield, current German champions, Alba Berlin, use our software as do the Canadian national team and FIBA World Cup runners-up, Argentina.



So, yes, we would say that video analysis is very useful for basketball.


But how should you use it? Well, this article, inspired by the work of professional basketball coach Pedro Carrillo, is designed to answer that question and to give you some ideas of how to get up and running and moving forward in this ever growing discipline.


Note: We've included links to video tutorials and articles giving more information on the tools and features we are discussing. Feel free to click through any of these links at your leisure.


Let’s get started…

Step 1: Set Your Goals


video analysis basketball goals


Before you get started with the actual analysis, it’s important that you set goals for what you want your analysis to do, otherwise you’ll be shooting hoops in the dark.


Talk with other members of the coaching staff and come to a collective conclusion about what you want to get out of your analysis. 


Make these goals specific not just “win the championship”!


You’ll probably want to look at both your own team and opposition, but for the sake of brevity, let’s stick to the latter.


When scouting out an opponent, it may be useful to split your analysis into three stages: attack, defense and individual players.




In general, you’ll want to discover the weaknesses and strengths of the opposition. You won’t just look at the starting line-up but how they play overall per quarter.


Some specific questions you might want to answer include:


•    What are their common offensive plays?

•    How do they organize their offensive formations?

•    Is there a specific “go-to-player” for different situations in the match e.g. during clutch time?

•    How do they set their screens and prepare for pick and rolls or pick and pops?


Again, we recommend that you speak to the coaching staff to formulate a plan for what exactly you want to check in an opposition’s attack.


video analysis basketball computer template




Like in attack, you’ll be looking for general strengths and weaknesses in defense, trying to find the gaps that can be exploited when you are attacking.


Some specific questions you might want to ask include:


•    How do they protect their rim?

•    What are their best defensive plays?

•    What presses do they use and where on the court?

•    Do they use zone defense or defend man to man?

•    Are they physical in defense?


An effective analysis of an opponent’s defensive strategy will lead to the formulation of an effective attacking strategy for your own team.


Individual Players


Here, you’ll look at specific information such as:


•    Height and speed.

•    Offensive / defensive tendencies.

•    Overall shooting percentage.

•    Percentage of contested or uncontested shots.

•    Do they need to see a lot of the ball or do the play catch and shoot?

•    Basketball IQ.


This information can help inform your game plan and even your starting line-up as you find players who are perfect to go man-to-man with the opposing players.


Whether you are looking at attack, defense or individual players, video analysis can help you with this task.


Step 2: Choose Your Tool


video analysis basketball tools


We always say that there’s a Nacsport product for everyone and offer a range of products for all skill levels and budgets. Obviously, the professional teams we’ve mentioned above mostly use our top-of-the-range products, Pro and Elite, software suites that offer our most powerful video analysis tools to suck every last piece of insight out of a game.


Having said that, if you’re just getting into basketball video analysis, there is plenty on offer in our entry level products, Basic and Basic+, to be getting on with. However, please note that Basic only allows you to create Categories, not Descriptors (more on these later), and you may wish to opt for Basic+, which allows you to create both.


Slap bang in the middle of this is our Scout program, which is an extremely well balanced compromise between tools and price. We believe this to be the best value for money in the video analysis market.


Whichever of our tools suits your needs best, the first thing you’re going to have to do is create a button template…


Step 3: Create Your Video Analysis Button Template


video analysis basketball template


Your button template is the basis of your analysis, all the work you do stems from this point. The template is the tool you use to mark your video with actions you want to analyze and there are 3 main types of buttons you will be working with. These are:


Categories (All versions)


Categories are the main actions you will be analyzing. For example, 3-Pointer, Free Throw, attack, defense, rebound and Pick and Roll are just some examples of main actions that you want to analyze.


Set a button for each of these moves and when they happen on the video, press the button on the video and the move will be marked. At the end of the match, you can recall all of these actions, so if you want to see all the 3-pointers in a match together, you can.


video analysis basketball- analysing live


Descriptors (Available from Basic+ Onwards)


Descriptors describe the Category. For example, for a Pick and Roll, you might want to say if this was successful or not, so you set a “Good” and “Bad” button. When a pick and roll happens, you first press the relevant Category, followed by one of these buttons to describe the action.


This means that, at the end of the match, you can recall not only all pick and roll moves, but you can filter them even more and find all the bad pick and rolls.


There are many different type of descriptors you can add, for example, the area of the court the action happened, the time the action happened or the player who was involved in the action. 


That’s right, you can set up Descriptor buttons for every player in the team!


So, if you want to find all the good rebounds by John Smith in the third quarter, you can easily view these.


Enhanced Graphic Descriptors (Available from Scout Onwards)


The third type of button you may want to include are graphic descriptors. These basically give you a button which is a graphic representation of the court. You can click this to add a coordinate to your category. Using these coordinates, you can produce heatmaps, movement maps and much more.


A very useful tool!


How to Organize Your Template


How you organize your template is entirely up to you. 


Some analysts have different templates for every facet of the game they want to analyze (in our case there would be at least six different templates: attack, defense and individual players for our own team and the opposition + additional templates for special situations). Some analysts have all their buttons grouped together on the same template. Pro analysts using our Pro and Elite software use Panel Flows.


We’d like to suggest this article which will give you some tips on creating your first button template and give you some good examples to follow.


However you decide to organize your workflow, our advice is to keep it as simple as possible. If you’ve planned well in Step 1, you’ll know exactly what you're looking for and have exactly those buttons on your template.


Yep, planning really is the key to success here.


Step 4: Observe and Collect Your Data


There are several ways to perform a video analysis with Nacsport: from a video file, in real-time and without a video source


We won’t go into too much detail about each of these methods here, as they all involve the same process of watching a match and tagging the actions that happen during the match, but each one has its own methodology and workflow and the equipment needed may vary in each case.


Step 5: Use Your Data


video analysis basketball use data


Nacsport has several ways to analyze the data you’ve collected but there are also some external methods we’d like to mention.


Here are a few ideas…


Nacsport Timeline and Data Matrix


These will be your main tools for recalling the data that you’ve collected. 


The Timeline is where you’ll see all your actions ordered chronologically. This is linked to the video player and the registered actions log, allowing you to see your tagged actions at the click of a button.


The Data Matrix allows you to order your video clips filtered by Category and Descriptor. Want to see all the 3-pointers made by John Smith? This is where you’ll find them quickly and easily.


Nacsport also offers a Dynamic Matrix which not only allows you to filter actions by Category and Descriptor but also by game time. So, you want to see all the offensive rebounds by John Smith in the last 5 minutes of the second quarter? You can find them here.


Nacsport Dashboard


video analysis in basketball dashboard


The Dashboard is one of Nacsport’s most used tools. This allows you to create eye catching graphs, charts and labels to see all the data from your game at a glance.


Nacsport dashboards are easy to create as there’s no coding involved in creating them. Everything is done from the intuitive interface.


The Dashboard also has some tricks up its sleeves when doing real-time analysis. It can be streamed live to other devices so that coaches and players can get real-time data. It’s also possible to set up alarms on data labels to tell you when certain strategy may not be functioning too well.


A powerful tool in the Nacsport armory.


Export to Excel and XML


Nacsport also has a wealth of export options for working with data externally. The first of these is exporting to Excel, of which there are various different options.


Excel data can then be used in external programs such as PowerBI and Tableau for even more visualization options.


XML exports allow you to share your work with other video analysis programs that are based on timelines. This works both ways, by the way. It’s easy to import data from other programs to Nacsport, so, if you want to change your software but are unsure if your previous databases are compatible, fear not! Just saying…


Working in synergy with other programs and allowing you to share your data with other users is important to us...which brings us to our next point…


Step 6: Present Your Data


video analysis basketball presentation


The whole point of doing video analysis is to learn and improve. To do this you’re going to want to share your insights with coaches and players, right?


Well, it’s very easy to do this with Nacsport. Use the Timeline, the Data Matrix and Dashboard to collect relevant examples of the types of action you want to share and collect them together in presentations lists which can be used to produce and export short video presentations.


In addition, you can also:


•    Use the integrated KlipDraw telestration software to add professional illustrations to highlight the action that is happening.

•    Add personalized text and audio notes.


•    Import PowerPoint slides as covers or chapter inserts.


•    Create scripts to share with the audience before the presentation so they have an idea of what is going to be covered.


•    Share your work online with our integrable cloud sharing app, Sharimg.


•    Control your presentations remotely with our completely free iOS app, Remote.


Professional montage videos are easy to create with Nacsport.


Step 7: Professional Tools


video analysis basketball pro tools


Nacsport contains some great professional tools which are ideal for use specifically in basketball. Most of these are only available in Pro and Elite, but they are well worth mentioning. They include:


Clustered Buttons


Basketball is a fast paced sport and you want to make registering your actions as painless as possible. Clustered buttons allow you to overlay buttons on your template so you can click two or more buttons at the same time. Very useful.


Variable Labels


In a sport where individual performance can change the outcome of a game, it’s important to be able to monitor this performance quickly and easily. Variable labels on the Dashboard allow us to do this quickly and efficiently. A very useful feature.


Player Connections


Another tool which helps to monitor team performance is Player Connections. This basically gives you the ability to compare different groups of players and see where the chemistry is in your team. It can also help you choose the starting line up and inform strategy throughout the game.


In a sport where there are constant changes to the players on the pitch, this is the perfect tool for spotting strengths and weaknesses.


Search Tool


The pace of basketball and the sheer amount of end-to-end action that happens during a match means that it is essential to be able to search for specific clips quickly. Nacsport Pro and Elite give you this tool.




For creating easy presentation lists, Nacsport’s Autolists function is another boon for the analysts. In the button template you can give your Category buttons the Autolist property which means they are automatically grouped together, saving yourself a lot of time.


Some Extra Help


If you want to see Nacsport in action and get an overview of some of the essential tools in the software, check out this webinar that we recorded last year:



Try Nacsport Free


As you can see, professional basketball video analysis with Nacsport is thorough, to say the least. It’s also extremely user friendly and intuitive.


The best way to get a feel of how Nacsport can help you is to download a FREE 30-day trial and try it for yourself.

If you want a thorough introduction to video analysis, we can also offer you a comprehensive course in getting started with video analysis as it relates specifically to basketball. The course also includes a Nacsport license for 3 months. So, if you want an extended trial period with some great guidance, this could be the perfect option for you. New courses start every week, click the link below to register for the next one.


video analysis course basketball


Apart from that, we’re always here to help you. We pride ourselves on the level of support we give to our users. If you have any questions, feel free to get in contact with us at any time through Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn and we’ll be glad to help.


Thanks for reading!

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