Monday, June 9, 2008

The beauty of the box score

I love box score. As a kid, I'd get up in the morning, run to the end of the driveway to get the newspaper, then sit down at the kitchen table with my bowl of cereal and begin pouring over the box scores -- both baseball and basketball -- from the night before. As I got older, I'd do it with a red pen.

[Click on the image at the left to enlarge. In this case, I highlighted the box from the perspective of the Lakers.]

As a head coach, I highlight every box score from our game. I also take notes on the front and back of the page, filling up almost every inch of it. Over the last 10 years or so, I started using multiple highlighters in various colors. Red is always in negative; yellow is positive.

Doing so not only gives me a more objective look at the game, but helps me identify trends, issues, red flags, and other items that might have been overlooked during the heat of the battle. Oftentimes, little things jump out at me when I go through the box score -- things that didn't seem to impact the game at the time but, upon further analysis, were a real key.