Champion’s advice: Dual winner’s tips to Supercoach glory

Back-to-back Big Bash Supercoach champion Andrew Langley shares some advice on what's required to claim overall glory.


G’day Supercoaches,

I am still pinching myself after defending my BBL Supercoach title earlier this year, however, we are all back on a level playing field with excitement building as we approach the BBL|13 season.

Supercoach is open, so it is time to start thinking about what it will take to drag our teams to the top of this year’s summit.

I have heard many people comment on how BBL Supercoach comes down to pure luck due to the volatile nature of scoring in the game.

Whilst I agree that an element of luck is required for ultimate success, I firmly believe that our approach to the season can put us in a position to minimise our reliance on the amount of luck required.

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My first goal each season is to not do anything too outrageous early, focussing more on trying keep my team in a good position amongst the main pack.

Last year was the fourth season running where I have finished inside the top 100.

The more often that we can get our team into the higher rankings, the more chance we have of achieving what we dream of when that little bit of luck goes our way in the final sprint to the line.

Let’s have a look at what I think are the key areas to focus on if we want to perform strongly in BBL Supercoach.

My priorities are based around focusing on the fixture, building team value, player role and maximising flexibility.

Playing the fixture

Each year BBL Supercoach presents us with a fixture where teams have one, two (or even three this year) games in a round whilst other teams might have a bye.

It would be silly not to try and use the fixture to get an advantage over other coaches and this is something that I always prioritise.

Before even looking at a player, I try and analyse the fixture to determine where teams play multiple matches in a round and where teams have byes.

This helps with planning which team’s players should be prioritised for getting in or out of my team each round.

Whilst there are advantages to be gained through having extra scoring involvements from players playing multiple matches in a round, the importance of players on a bye, can sometimes get overlooked. 

Not only are they handy for looping a good emergency and vice-captain score, they can also be used to help us take the better of two emergency players that we might be comparing.

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It is important to consider both aspects when planning out the season.

It is also important not to focus purely on the number of extra scoring opportunities that can be gained from choosing players with multiple matches in a round.

The better the players who have multiple games in our teams, the better the score is likely to be, so we need to make sure that we are rotating those good multiple game players through our team.

Many coaches will be reluctant to trade a good player out of their team and will often trade out a weaker (or cheaper) player to another player with multiple games and hope for the best. For example, a player playing one game who averages 60 and a player with a double who averages 30 will score 120 points between them (60 + 2 x 30 = 120).

However, if we had the courage to trade the better averaging player out of our team to a similar player on the double and kept the lower scorer as our single game player, we are actually better off and will score an extra 30 points (2 x 60 + 30 = 150).

The other thing to consider when multiple teams have multiple matches in a round is that the more players that we have in any given match means the more chance that we will have players who are likely to fail.

Therefore, we should consider going heavier on players who are playing multiple games in rounds where the multi-match teams do not play each other to minimise the risk of having too many players playing in one match.

Value matters

BBL Supercoach is no different to other fantasy sports. The quicker that team value can be increased, the quicker that we have freedom to select whoever we want in our teams

Coaches who increase team value sooner will not have to compromise on team selection as much as coaches who take a little bit longer to build team value.

Breakevens are our friend early, so we need to consider them when trading during the early rounds.

Not only does this mean taking advantage of trading players with low breakevens into our teams, but being prepared to trade players with high breakevens out of our team.

The main thing that we need to be mindful of is that our focus on breakevens doesn’t take us away from our initial plan of playing the fixture.

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Player role

Supercoach scoring shows that about 60% of points go to the fielding team and 40% to batters, so that needs to be considered when weighing up players.

The more involvement that a player is likely to have in a match, the higher that their score is likely to be.

For batters, historically, those who bat top 3 score similarly for batting points, closely followed by those who bat at 4, then scores drop away with each batting position below that.

For bowlers, those who bowl four overs score the most fielding points on average and scores drop away slightly to those bowling three overs. Due to the economy bonus not kicking in until three overs are bowled, there is a significant drop to those who bowl two overs or less in each game, but they score more fielding points on average than players who don’t bowl.

Unsurprisingly, wicketkeepers benefit most from general fielding (non-bowling) points. Apart from wicketkeepers, the more agile fielders are the next to benefit from these points as they tend to field in key positions that benefit from catches or runouts.

Therefore, players who bat top four and bowl at least three overs and have friendly fielding positions should be the priorities to bring into our teams. Their dual role also makes them attractive single game players who we can consider when taking on the players who may be playing multiple games in a round.

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As each round unfolds, we need to position ourselves to stay as flexible as possible.

If we can make sure that we don’t fall in love with any player, the volatile nature of scoring in this game means that we can make decisions based on how the round is unfolding.

I believe that maintaining flexibility from round to round is more important than just having the best players available in our team.

Information is power and keeping our options open helps us to weigh up decisions based on how those coaches around us are performing.

The more that we can delay decision making and not lock our teams in each round, the greater our chances for success over those who had to lock in their trades and team structure earlier.

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When weighing up between choosing between two players, I will choose the player that lets me make my final decisions later in the round unless there is a clear difference between them, such as their upcoming fixtures.

This helps with not having to “guess” what might be a good emergency or vice captain score because I can wait to see how other teams are going before deciding.

This can help with determining if I want to trade in a more reliable scoring player over a more volatile scoring player based on how my team is sitting in comparison to others.

The trade update function is a very handy tool in the Supercoach game, so don’t forget to consider it when planning out a round.

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Far from perfect!

My strategy has worked well for me the past couple of years, however, I still make poor decisions.

I have no doubt that someone out there is developing a better game plan than the one that I follow.

Thankfully, the great thing about BBL Supercoach is that we do not have to play the perfect game to win.

There have been plenty of occasions over the past two years where I have realised a game into the round that I should have played a player in the bowlers instead of bats, or vice versa. This has hindered my flexibility at times and I still need to eliminate those mistakes! 

Fortunately, there is no one way of playing this game and we do not need to play the perfect game to do well.

Good luck for your season, and I hope that I have been able to give you some things to think about that might help with your own game this year.

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