I had managed to contract the beginnings of ‘man flu’, more scientifically known as a viral infection, but no less deadly in its assault on my ability to function. I arrived at the venue in good time, we were getting dressed and appeared pretty relaxed. The Lions were a good team and we could not afford to take them lightly at all, in fact, we had only won one game more than them and so I envisaged a close hard fought game.
We warmed up pretty well, I had now settled into the fact that they could and would conduct their own warm up, that they had a number of routines that belonged to them and I was happy for this to the case. After all, what was the warm up for? Did it really serve to engage them physically and mentally, to move them to a state of readiness where they could visualise shots, recall concepts and get themselves performance ready? It was once more the battle between affording autonomy and confidence in what the collective felt was right, and dictating what should occur in order to be completely satisfied that we had done all that we could within our pre-game preparation to get us to a point of readiness.
We fought hard for forty minutes, it wasn’t always pretty, in fact, it was rarely pretty! Scrappy would have been a good descriptor, some of it good as we introduced ourselves to the floor in an attempt to rescue lose balls, to defend home and to rebound across all five positions. However, we couldn’t seem to do the simple things. Our inability to make an open lay up was on show for all to see. Not to mention our new found silence! The only voice I could hear was mine, I asked, I begged and I demanded that they communicate with each other. I described communication as directing, supporting, expressing, playing defence, playing offence and simply enjoying. Communicating was all of these things and more, yet I couldn’t get a word out of most of the players for most of the time. This being said, and I am being a little unfair, the bench was great. We had a real bench presence today, it was great to hear them. Unfortunately, we couldn’t carry this enthusiasm on to the court at either end of the floor.
It is difficult to unpick a game that you win by 50 points, a game where you hold the opposition to just 38 points, an opposition that has proven themselves capable of scoring 69ppg with a game high of 93 points. Furthermore, we exceeded our average of 75ppg, scoring 87 points, most of which came in phase one of our offence and was by design. It is difficult to want more from them yet I find myself demanding just this. At the end of the game I wasn’t really anywhere, I didn’t have a position or a comment other than to congratulate them on the effort and the togetherness demonstrated throughout the forty minutes that had just passed. Beyond this my thoughts had already turned to Monday, to my planning of our next weeks practice sessions and to what I needed to do better. I continue to battle with an image of the game I see for us and what I see us deliver in practice and games. The question is, where are the margins for improvement? I am convinced that I need to get better before they will get better.