Coaching Tools – Possession Chart

By Randy Sherman


Using a possession chart for tracking in-game flow can offer basketball coaches valuable and instantaneous feedback. 

One handy tool to use for in-game tracking is this downloadable possession chart template. This chart is used for tracking game flow and can give you valuable real time info such as points per possession (PPP).

Tips for using the possession chart:

  • Use a separate chart for each quarter or half (NCAA men).
  • Assign an assistant coach to possession chart duty during the game
  • A possession is “a statistic in basketball defined as the time a team gains offensive possession of the ball until it scores, loses the ball, or commits a violation or foul.”
  • Track your opponent as well. For example, any time your opponent scores on three straight possessions the coach on chart duty alerts you and it triggers an automatic timeout.
  • Have extra charts on hand in case the game goes to overtime!!

For an example of what a possession chart looks like in use, check out this chart for a completed quarter. This will give you a key to know how to note possible possession outcomes.

  • Either a “2” or a “3” is used to denote a field goal attempt. When circled, that means the shot was made.
  • TO = turnover
  • A hollow circle is a missed free throw and a dark circle denotes a made free throw. Bracketing the circles can show whether it was a two-shot or one-and-one situation.
  • Another possible possession outcome would be an offensive foul.

In the example below several possession outcomes are noted. From the chart we can derive that we scored 16 points on 15 possessions.

Possession Chart

The chart can also be used to track “scorebacks” and “kills.”

Scorebacks are a defensive concept. A score-stop-score sequence is most desirable. You score, your defense gets a stop and you score again. Surrendering a “scoreback” means you score and your opponent answers. The goal is a 40% scoreback rate meaning you get a stop after 60% or more of your baskets.

A “kill” can be defined as three consecutive defensive stops. Simply put, your team should try to amass as many kills per game as possible. The possession chart can track both of these team concepts in-game.

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Randy Sherman is the owner and founder of Radius Athletics - a basketball coaching consulting firm - where he consults with basketball coaches at all levels on coaching philosophy, practice planning, Xs & Os and teaching a conceptual style of basketball. While a head basketball coach at the the interscholastic level, Sherman's teams won 197 games in nine seasons.
Feb. 3rd, 2016:.Southern Methodist Mustangs head coach Larry Brown on the bench during an NCCA Mens Basketball game between the UConn Huskies and the SMU Mustangs at Moody Coliseum in Dallas, Texas..SMU wins 80-54..Manny Flores/Cal Sport Media

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