Using Timeouts

In close games, if possible, I try to save two or three time-outs for the last few minutes of the game, when you may need to stop the clock, set up a play, discuss your team's strategy, etc. Sometimes it doesn't work this way. You get behind early, and must use your time-outs to hopefully break the opponent's momentum, and reset your own strategy. If you are trying to slow the game down, you might also use some time-outs early. If you are getting beat early, there is no point in saving your time-outs for the end of the game, when you are down 20! Sometimes I will look over at the opposing coach and notice that he is going to call time-out, and this may save one for me. Sometimes I see a coach call a time-out 30 seconds before the end of a quarter and wonder to myself, "Why?" Why waste a time-out then, when you can use the time at the end of the period as your time-out? Remember, that at the end of each quarter, you have a free time-out.

Keep it simple in your time-out huddle. The kids will often only remember one thing you tell them in a time-out... usually the last thing. So use your time-out to make one important team point... don't waste a time-out to instruct just one player... you can substitute for him and explain things to him on the bench quickly, and then send him back in. An example of an important "team" pointer might be stressing getting back quickly on defense and keeping one or two guards back if the opponent is fast breaking. Another example might be to change your defense, or your offensive plan, and another might be to simply prod the kids into increasing their defensive and rebounding intensity and overall hustle. But keep it simple.