Coach's game

Inside the Huddle

Controlling what little he can on the court, the basketball coach truly takes charge during the game’s stagnant moments, micromanaging every detail of strategy sessions conducted during breaks in the action. To maximize focus on the sideline, coaches rigidly dictate everything from seating arrangements on the bench to the location and formation of the huddle. “It’s a real military action,” said Joe Hillock, U.C.L.A.’s director of basketball operations. “We try to be as precise as we can.” The Bruins carry stools specifically reserved for time-outs, orientating them to block out the crowd's most hostile enclaves. West Virginia has abandoned the sideline altogether, opting instead to conduct huddles on the court and away from fans, around a coach directing from atop the key like a point guard.