Founded in 1989, ALBA BERLIN has become the most popular basketball club in Germany and one of the premier franchises in European basketball. With an overall record of 11 German League titles, 11 German Cup titles and winning the Korac Cup in 1995, the club is among the most successful professional sports teams in Germany. 

Its men’s team competes in the German easyCredit BBL and the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, continuing a 32-year-long streak of playing in European competitions and qualifying for the German playoffs every season. 

From season 2019-20 until this year, ALBA BERLIN won the German national title three times in a row. Not only successful at the male professional level, ALBA BERLIN is proud to have the largest youth and women’s department in Germany, being regularly awarded for their athletic achievements and excellent development standards. Its women’s team so far competed in the German second league and has now been promoted to first division. Norbert Opitz is a youth coach for the club and leads their human performance data program. 

"Before, coaches used to wonder if what they were feeling about player load was accurate or just a feeling. Now we have proof in the data with Smartabase."
Norbert Opitz
Youth Coach and Data & Analytics Lead, ALBA BERLIN

Key Takeaways


The Opportunity

 Coming off yet another German league title, ALBA BERLIN has proven its ability to succeed in the present. To help sow the seeds for continued success in the future, the coaching and performance staff recognized an opportunity to have a single athlete management system (AMS) tracking players all the way from developmental youth teams up to the pro level. ALBA BERLIN saw that collecting more data on its athletes, centralizing it in an AMS, and making it available to coaches and domain experts would also improve load management, injury monitoring, and more. On the operations side, the club also wanted a way to bring together disparate data sources so its logistics were streamlined, organized, and efficient. 

The challenge

The Challenge

 With more than 160 basketball players spanning the entire development spectrum from boys’ and girls’ teams in every age group up to its professional men’s and women’s squads, ALBA BERLIN has many head and assistant coaches, each with their own method of doing things. How the coaching staff collected data on their players ranged from using spreadsheets to writing handwritten notes. This made it difficult to standardize how information was collected, presented, and acted upon. For operations, the biggest challenge was collating data on everything from player and coach interviews, travel itineraries, practice and game schedules, and more and making this available to everyone who needed it. 

Solution 1

The Solution

 Smartabase is enabling ALBA BERLIN’s coaches to log detailed, session-by-session practice notes in a central repository, rather than relying on spreadsheets and notebooks. For load monitoring, subjective data from a wellness questionnaire is combined with practice data to create a personalized acute-to-chronic ratio. The club has also completed the technical requirements for enhanced injury monitoring. When this goes live next season, everyone from team doctors, physiotherapists, and other medical staff to coaches and domain experts like sports psychologists will be able to see detailed injury profiles on each player. 


The Impact

 Coaching and performance staff are able to look at how the details of each practice relate to on-court performance, injuries, and player development milestones. The club will continue to progress in each of these areas – plus player scouting – as it continues to log more detailed player health/availability information, testing results, anthropological data, and more. Smartabase has also helped personnel throughout the club become more organized, with players no longer missing media interviews and medical appointments because their schedules are kept up to date and individualized calendars are easily accessible via Smartabase. 

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