Game Strategy: Timeouts

The topic of "timeouts" came to mind after watching the Pitt Panthers play Syracuse and Notre Dame.  Coach Dixon has recieved quite a bit of criticism on the timeouts called in those two games.  


After considering those two situations I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on my use of timeouts and use this opportunity to grow as a coach and further develop my game strategy

Reasons for Calling Timeout:

1.  Rest

2.  Remind

3.  Substitution

4.  Stop Negative Momentum

5.  Situation/Set Up a Play

6.  Stop the Clock/Stop a Count

7.  Ice a Free Throw Shooter

8.  Teach

9.  Help, Challenge, Support

10.  Motivate

11.  Save Possession

12.  Discuss


Things I have Learned 

1.  Always be aware of the number of timeouts you and your opponent have remaining.

2.  Try to save a timeout or two for the last minute.

3.  Be prepared for situations without timeouts.

4.  Don't waste timeouts.

5.  Sometimes it is best not to call a timeout.

6.  Use timeouts to stop "runs".

7.  Have a procedure for timeouts set in place to ensure organization.

8.  Evaluate team performance immediately following timeouts.


I understand that some of the items above sound very obvious and vague.  I am calling upon my own experiences and observations to create this list.  I have wasted timeouts and wished I had not called timeouts.  I really did not know how and why until after the game.  

I learn a lot from watching other coaches.  This past weekend I attended the Big Ten Conference Tournament in Indianapolis.  The semifinals consisted of Wisconsin (Bo Ryan), Michigan State (Tom Izzo), Michigan (John Beilein) and Ohio State (Thad Matta).  I'm not sure you can beat that combination of coaches.  It was really impressive to watch these teams execute both offensively and defensively.  The number of TV timeouts is a big part of game strategy. I learned a ton and will use some of the observations and questions for future blogs.  March Madness is a great time to learn!