On Tactical Periodization

This entry is the latest chapter in the blog Complexity, Creativity, and Everything. The addition was made on February 23, 2017. The whole blog is here.

Previously in a blog we reached this question: When should a player need to use conscious control? To set up an answer, we will now look at some concepts drawn from the tactical periodization approach. It was originally developed for soccer but it is quite useful a theoretical framework for other invasion team sports as well.

According to the tactical periodization approach, “every game action — involves a decision (tactical dimension) an action or motor skill (technical dimension) that required a particular movement (physiological dimension) and is directed by volitional and emotional states (psychological dimension).”

In the complex system of any invasion team sport, the tactical dimension is the one most directly connected to the outcome of the game. That is because “basketball is interaction between the two teams and the rules of basketball”, and it is elementary how a player decides to try to manipulate this interaction in favor of his team.

The technical dimension is subordinate to the tactical dimension because a motor skill only becomes directly relevant after a tactical decision has been made to execute it. For example, a player’s three-point shooting skills are relevant only if his team’s tactics allow for him to do some three-point shooting.

Accordingly, the physiological dimension is subordinate to the technical dimension. That is because of this: a player’s physiological capabilities are relevant only to the degree that they are used to execute motor skills that the player decides upon (in order to execute certain tactical actions). For example, jumping ability has been found to be important in basketball. However, it is not important per se,  but as a prerequisite for certain motor actions, such as blocking shots or getting up to grab rebounds.

At least Delgado-Bordonau and Mendez-Villanueva (2012) discuss the psychological dimension of the tactical priodization approach as if it were a phenomenon of the same scale as the other three dimensions. To me this seems misleading.

That is because the tactical, technical, and physiological dimensions affect the teams’ interaction directly – in concrete ways touched upon above. Conversely, the effects of the psychological factors are indirect. In other words, the psychological dimension affects the interaction by affecting the other three dimensions.

This does not imply that the psychological dimension was less important than the other dimension. Quite the contrary: one could argue that the psychological dimension was the most important one. That is e.g. because motivational factors are a part of the psychological dimension. And if the player had no motivation to play basketball, the other three dimensions would immediately lose all their meaning.

However, the aforementioned essential difference does make the psychological dimension irrelevant at this point of this analysis. Namely, we are now concentrating on what directly affects the interaction between the two teams – i.e. the other three dimensions of the tactical periodization approach.

In the beginning of this entry it was asked “When should a player need to use conscious control?” The next time an answer is looked for.

Complexity, Creativity, and Everything

“Basketball is interaction between the two teams and the rules of basketball.”

That was my definition of basketball I wrote in a previous blog. In this blog, I will first try to justify the aforementioned definition. Then I will discuss where it takes us – in other words, what it implies regarding coaching, practicing, and playing basketball.

There will be profound questions about complexity, collectivism, creativity, variability, mindfulness. All the way through, I will draw practical conclusions from the theoretical musings.

As James C. Maxwell remarked: “There is nothing more practical than a good theory.”

I am writing this piece by piece. The latest addition was made on Thursday January 19. The update starts with the subheading Creativity in Basketball.

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Let Us Re-imagine Basketball

We should re-imagine basketball.

The current equipment and rules are designed to suit men’s top level. Elite players can go coast-to-coast in a flash, palm the ball, throw end-to-end passes, dunk the ball thunderously, hit threes as if they were lay-ups. You know, do all kinds of cool stuff.

The rest – kids, women, recreational male players – are left with a ball game that’s nice not really suited for them. This could be changed. We could modify the rules so that players of all levels would get to really enjoy the game.

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Why eFG% Is Invalid for Measuring the Efficiency of FG Shooting

Whenever you see basketball performance analysis where eFG% is used as the metric to measure the efficiency of FG shooting, you immediately know that the whole analysis is invalid. Since eFG% is widely used, much of the current basketball performance analysis is invalid.

Nothing helps: not the huge amount of the data, not the sophistication of the analysis methods, not the great looks of the graphics. In a way, they only make matters worse since they help hide the invalidity of the underlying assumptions.

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Improving Andre Drummond’s Free Throw

In a previous blog entry, I wrote about shooting and practicing shooting at a general level. Here I try to show how to implement those ideas into a real-life situation.

To make this concrete and familiar, let’s have a look at a much-publicized dilemma: an NBA player’s free throw shooting technique that is flawed and produces bad results. In other words, let’s look at Andre Drummond’s free throw shooting.

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Remarks on Shooting and Practicing Shooting

This entry is an attempt to combine some principles and some nuts and bolts regarding shooting and practicing shooting. Originally, I published this post in March 2015.

In November 2015 I put it back together piece by piece and also added some new remarks. The latest additions were made on Monday Nov 30. Drills related to this entry can be found in this blog entry.

Shooting Accuracy and Efficiency Are Not the Same Thing

For starters we must define the primary goal of shooting practice. That definition is a prerequisite for any intelligent discussion about the subject. That is because if we do not know exactly what shooting practice should accomplish, it is impossible to assess its efficiency.

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Coach, Why Do We Practice This?

Recently I started putting together a practice plan, as I usually do. This time it proved to be a laborious task because I couldn’t stop asking this question:

What should players practice?

This wasn’t just an acute question regarding the content of that particular session. Rather the question concerned me at a more general level. Meaning, what types of tasks should be included? Scrimmaging, running, ball-handling, shooting, defensive footwork? Yes? No?

And, most importantly, why?

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