The Insider: Information overload

Too much info in a scouting report can overwhelm a player and take away his instincts. Illustration by Gluekit for ESPN The Magazine

Nothing is more important to a coach than preparation, and nothing says preparation like a detailed scouting report. But John Wooden famously eschewed complex breakdowns, focusing instead on his own team's execution. Then again, the game was simpler in The Wizard's time; game film and stats were way more than a click away.

Today, coaches can produce comprehensive reports that detail and diagram every play their foes run, how often they run them and each opposing player's tendencies. "We compile every turnover, where it comes from and what produced it," says Indiana coach Tom Crean. "That helps us spot trends and adjust our attack." In other words, coaches have never been more prepared.

Maybe Wooden was onto something, though. It's possible the game can give up too much info. How much can players absorb without being overwhelmed, anyway? "I wrestle with that all the time," Crean says.