Alba Berlin: How the German Basketball Champions Use Video Analysis

By Duncan Ritchie

21-July-2021 on Users

7 minute read

The coaching staff at Alba Berlin, led by Aíto Garcia Reneses on the bench and Himar Ojeda in the backroom, has developed a working methodology which is undoubtedly bearing fruit in the German basketball league and beyond.


In recent years, they have won two consecutive league championships, been winners and runners-up in the cup and put in great performances in the Euroleague, where they compete against much more economically powerful teams.


In this article, we’ll delve into the key points of their working methodology, as envisioned by Aíto García Reneses, and adapted to the current climate of multiple games per week which forces them to be more selective in the aspects to be analysed.

Adapting to a Complicated Year


Every season brings unique problems due to the various demands on the team and the 2020-21 season was particularly taxing due to the influence of the COVID virus. Not only this, but Alba Berlin were overloaded with matches, competing in the domestic league and cup as well as the Euroleague. This meant that, on average, they had a game every three days.


This has had a direct impact on team training as half their time was spent in airports, trains or other means of transport. It was extremely common to see Aíto García Reneses huddled with Israel González and the rest of the staff analysing matches and reviewing the action in these places.


Israel González and Aíto


The difficulty was so extreme that the coaching staff joked about the possibility of training for three consecutive days. 


“It was impossible last year,” confirms Israel González who goes on to add that somehow part of the training had to take place “on the plane”.


Focused on Their Own Performance


Given these conditions, Aíto and his staff decided to optimise their resources and reinforce those aspects which had already been worked on, specifically the performance of their own team.


“The idea was to survive from day to day”, explains González. “We had to base ourselves on our own rules and philosophy without looking too much at our opponents. We had to play each game based on these ideas.”


He goes on to reiterate that more exhaustive analysis was impossible due to the sheer amount of games and the travelling involved.


Analysis Structure


In addition to Aíto, Alba Berlin’s coaching staff is made up of three other assistant coaches: Israel González as assistant coach, Carlos Frade and Sebastian Trzcionka. Due to the volume of work last season, two other coaches from the junior teams joined the pro team as video analysts.


Alba Berlin staff


Regarding the distribution of work, Israel González is responsible for tagging and analysing each of their own games post-match as well as for the analysis of opponents in the Euroleague.


For this type of match, four games are generally analysed, three of which are done by the analysts from the junior teams and the last one by Israel himself.


The report by the junior coaches is usually around 25 minutes long, which Israel then filters down to about half this duration. This video is then shown to the players in the game plan.


Working Methodology


Israel González is extremely organised and dedicated to his work, to the point that the first post-game summary is done the moment he gets home from the game. However, he does admit that, if it’s very late, he’ll simply tag the match before going to bed and filter and analyse the cuts the next morning.


Israel González


“The game doesn’t end until the players see what they have done,” he says, going on to stress that the most important thing for the coaching staff is the post-game analysis.


Positive Reinforcement


The next day, before the first training session, a video session is held with the team, during which a summary of the positive aspects of the game are shown.


This is one of the strong points of the philosophy of Aíto García Reneses and his team of coaches. They use these videos to reinforce every good play to encourage and motivate their players. For their part, the players want to appear in these videos to show their skills off to their teammates. 


“The balance is 90% positive and 10% to be improved, where we analyse some things that we can do better. The negative aspects are usually no more than three clips,” says González.


Alba Berlin travel


From here, the players have a training session and, afterwards, the individual video sessions begin. Each player is shown, in private, a series of actions that could be improved upon in subsequent games.


“Teaching to improve is key for us as coaches,” says González.


Although the talks and post-match sessions are undoubtedly the most important, they also emphasise on the pre-match which, again, focuses more on the individual.


“Our goal is for our players to get to know the opposition players,” explains González. “We don’t pay much attention to their game systems, but we do like for our players to be alert to what the opposition has a tendency to do in various situations.”


So, this is the philosophy and methodology that has been prevalent at Alba Berlin since Aíto García Reneses and his staff took over in 2017. 


And, with Berlin winning 3 titles in the last two seasons, it obviously works!


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