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The importance of scouting varies from coach to coach and from year to year. While it is obviously very important to do the things that you do well, I'm sure that each coach has determined different aspects of an opponent's game that are important to his preparation. What that coach must do then is develop an approach to compiling and using important information. Over the years, I have found that a thorough, simple, organized method of scouting an opponent can aid in preparing a game plan against that particular team.
Before you play an opponent, it is a good idea to "scout" them and find out how they play. When doing so, some things to look for are:
Once a team is scouted effectively, whether you saw the team one, two, or three-or-more times, how you use the information really varies. Some teams go over all of the information in great detail with the players, while others post a summary in the locker room or give each player a copy. I like to leave the players with some very general team concepts and, immediately before the game, hit them with some specific individual tendencies.
Scouting helps determine an effective practice plan in preparing for that team. More importantly, though, I think that it gives the coach some peace of mind in knowing that he has done all that he could do to make sure that his team is the most well-prepared team that it can be.