Coach Randal S. Doaty
It isn’t one of those statistics that many teams keep – the tipped ball. It seems so insignificant to the outcome of a basketball game. It’s not insignificant! As a Focus and Attitude Coach, I watch momentum generating events that fall under the radar of many coaches and their statistical staff. I must admit that even I was amazed at what we have learned from following tipped ball statistics in recent years. A tipped basketball has incredible momentum altering power.
First, let me explain my definition of a “tipped ball” event. A tipped ball occurs when a player is able to simply touch a basketball that is being passed between two players on the opposing team, being dribbled by the opponent or shot by the opponent. A tipped ball does not necessarily need to alter the course of the ball completely. Even a lightly tipped ball is effective. It requires cat-like speed and anticipation by the defender.
Now I’ll explain what is not a tipped ball. When a rebounding frenzy is occurring beneath the basket and players are wildly reach for the basketball and someone happens to touch or tip the ball, I do not consider it a recordable tipped ball. If, on the other hand, the ball is intentionally tipped to a fellow player while rebounding, I consider it a tipped ball. If the ball, while out of control, happened to slam into a player – it is not a tipped ball. Was it intentional? If the answer is yes , then it is a tip.
So what do my statistics show? When a defense is able to tip the ball during an opponent’s possession, the likelihood of them scoring is reduced by 15% during that possession. If the ball is tipped twice during the same possession, the likelihood of the opponent scoring drops by as much as 25%. Let me assure you that every tipped ball in a basketball game has latent value far beyond the understanding of most basketball experts. Tipped balls are one of the unsung heroes of the sport of basketball.