The Team Behind the Team …

Getting to Know Catherine Proto, Liberty Manager of Scouting and Video Operations

Now that the 2007 WNBA season is off to a roaring start, NYLiberty.com is offering fans a sneak peek at the team behind the scenes.

Ever wonder who’s responsible for who keeping track of the plays that the team is running on the court? Curious as to who spends time preparing special breakdown tapes of the next Liberty opponent? Or who manages to be in more than one place at a time keeping an eye on other teams around the league?

Wonder no more – meet Catherine Proto, the Liberty’s Manager of Scouting and Video Operations and find out how her job off the court helps contribute to the team’s success on the court.

What are your responsibilities as the Scouting Manager for the Liberty?
I have a variety of responsibilities with the team. I am part of the coaching staff and assist them on a daily basis with practice, video editing, game breakdown and organization our live Advanced Scouting. There are other daily tasks that I oversee on a daily basis as well, such as supervise our Video Operations intern Gayle, our game night staff and several team statistical databases.

What is it that you do during a game?
During the game I chart our play calls. That entails that I chart what plays we run and how effective they are. Throughout the game Coach Coyle will ask me which plays have looked good or which we have scored on. With this chart, I can give her the plays that worked well against a certain opponent and why they are so effective.

What do you do while the team is practicing?
During practice I assist the coaches on court with drills. I also tape practice in our video room and chart team statistics whenever we are scrimmaging.

How involved are you with the daily preparation for practice?
Every morning the coaching staff and I sit down to discuss what we want to cover for that individual practice. I type out our practice plan and distribute it to the coaching staff for that day's practice.

What does being in charge of team video entail?
I am in charge of organizing all of our game tapes and breakdown tapes. I also manage all of the WNBA game tapes. We tape a majority of games that are on TV and I also have to request games from our opponents. I make sure that we have the games we need to watch and breakdown in order to prepare for our opponents and that we have them cataloged and stored in our system.

I also manage our video editing system and log opponent games for breakdown using the Sportscode editing system. Once we receive the necessary tapes of our opponents, my intern and I breakdown each game by possession. Within these possessions we catalog all of their sets, their players, their defenses and other information from the game. From these breakdowns I create what we call a "Master" tape, which has all of the opponents sets in a 10-minute clip tape for the team to review. The coaches also uses these breakdowns to watch the game and find clips that they wish to review about a particular set or defense a team is running.

As an extension of the coaching staff, what kind of interaction do you have with the players?
I have a daily interaction with the players at practice. Someone may ask for help diagramming/ reviewing a new play, or may request a special breakdown tape of an individual player or opponent that we will play.

What are your responsibilities when it comes to scouts? Is there a procedure that you follow when assigning them to a particular region or team?
I am responsible for organizing the live advanced scouts schedules, travel & expenses. Most of the scouts are college basketball coaches from different regions in the country. I assign these scouts to WNBA games within the region they are located. I try to map out a season schedule where the scouts try to see our opponents about 4-5 times before we play them. This assists the coaching staff in how detailed we are when preparing for our opponents.

What exactly do these scouts do when they are on assignment?
The scouts attend their assigned WNBA game in person and watch the game live at the arena. During the game they will watch the team we are scouting and try to pick up what their game-plan is. They will diagram their sets, write down all of their play calls, as well as, report any special situation plays or other important information about the game. The scouts have a scouting report that they must complete and return to us for review. These Advanced Scouts are instrumental to helping up prepare for our opponents. Since we can't attend every game, these scouts are our eyes and ears giving us a live look at who we will be going up against.

What might be something that you are responsible for, but fans would never know?
There are a lot of little things are happen behind the scenes to assist the team's preparation. Many people do not realize that I manage the team's playbook, our play-call database, our team efficiency charts, the team's goals and all of the video breakdown needs for the team. As an extension of the coaching staff I assist in the coaches meetings and understand what the team's game plan is on the floor. With this I can create breakdown tapes for Coach Coyle to review with a player about their individual play or the team's breakdown tapes of their good and bad sets during a particular game or practice. We all wear several hats and perform various jobs in order for the team to be successful.

You can see Catherine in action at your next Liberty game, score your tickets now by logging onto www.nyliberty.com, visiting The Garden Box Office or by calling 877-WNBA-TIX.