I can remember the several times that I searched online for what other basketball staffs were using for their in-game bench sheets. I found nothing. Then, while searching through some old clinic notes, I found two. One from Don Meyer and one from Billy Donovan. While coaching at Valdosta State, I extracted what I liked about both of them and made our own.
Above you will see the bench sheet we used this past year at Kentucky Wesleyan. Before I explain the technical aspects and the shorthand language we use you must know this: your bench sheet will only be as good as the person using it. If you assign your manager this task, but he or she doesn’t know the plays – your bench sheet will be inefficient at best.
If you assign the responsibility of the bench sheet to a staffer who gets too emotional during games and misses every third defensive possession; your bench sheet will be ineffective. A coach or staffer keeping the bench sheet must stay focused every possession.
The most critical review of the bench sheet should be at halftime. The staffer keeping the bench sheet will need a few minutes after the first half to figure out the cumulative numbers for the coaching staff to review. A calculator is a must for this to happen quickly.
Shorthand for Offense
made basket (2FG): 2 made basket (3FG): 3 missed basket (2FG): 2x missed basket (3FG): 3x dunk or layup: 2! mid-range: 2m turnover: to orb: 2xor / 3 xor
Shorthand for Defense
same as above, but we assign the opp. player's # to it: (#45 scored in the post): 245 (#45 misses a short corner jumper): 2x45 (#45 commits a turnover): to45 (#45 obtains an ORB): 2xor45
The staffer will have to tally how many possessions the opponent only gets one shot attempt that misses (2x). Also tracked are “kills” or each time we get three consecutive defensive stops.
Going into each timeout, I like to review the bench sheet while listening to other staff members input. At these times, I pay attention to the change in scoring margin every 4:00 period, what offensive sets are working and whether we got a “kill” since the previous time-out.
If we have to inbound the ball out-of-bounds underneath (OBU) or side-out-of-bounds (SOB), then I look to see if any previous OBU or SOB sets have worked.
The staffer has freedom to write notes in the margin, knowing that I look at the sheet every timeout and at half-time. For example, if our PG is having success on a particular iso play or if a particular ball screen set late in the shot clock is effective – he’ll note that.
Feel free to comment below with any questions that you have!