San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovic was asked what his game plan was for an upcoming opponent.
“We’re going to run our stuff.”
(“Our stuff” means the Spurs’ plays and systemized strategy, which has worked well to the tune of 5 championships during Pop’s tenure.)
Nothing about the opponent. Nothing about adjusting to them. Nothing about their strengths and weaknesses. We’re going to run our stuff.
In the NBA, every team employs Advance Scouts. These are people who travel separate from the team, going to the games of other NBA teams to learn what plays they run, individual player tendencies, and any other little nugget of useful info they can use against them later. So basically, every team knows al the stuff of every other team and player. And guess what? The most disciplined, best-executing teams still win.
(Talent helps too. But talent that doesn’t do its job, loses.)
But what about when your opponents know your stuff? Run it anyway. This is called execution.
Marty Schottenheimer was coach of the Kansas City Chiefs and they had Marcus Allen as running back. Whenever the Chiefs got close to the goal line, they would hand off the Allen, who would fight his way across the goals line to touchdowns. NFL films was filming the Chiefs sideline one game and the all was close to the goal line. Marty was talking to some of his players on the sideline before the play happened and he said, “Everyone in the building knows what were gonna do. They know!” He was referring to the other team. They still did it, and Allen scored another touchdown.
It’s not always about surprise and so much variety and having a bag of tricks in order to win. Sometimes it’s just about doing what you already do better than you’ve been doing it.