Another double header weekend against two tough opponents, well coached, varying degrees of talent and not to be taken lightly. To say that I felt under prepared would be to minimise my disappointment in my preparation. I had missed our last practice due to a flare up following a course of treatment that my body did not agree with! It was also a baby sitting weekend and so my plate was full.
The drive south wasn’t too bad, just short of an hour and I was there. Access to the court was slow, the previous game had ran over somewhat so we had to wait. As usual, I spent some of my time meeting and greeting, speaking with parents on various issues loosely associated to the game, the team and the year, as well as their son’s performance. On this particular occasion I had spent a considerable amount of time talking to the referees. I knew them both and respected their professionalism and approach to their role in the development of young basketball athletes. In fact, I knew it was going to be a well officiated game.
Within minutes of the ball leaving the referee’s hand we were down 6-0. The opposition had clearly made it their focus to attack us early and apply pressure , something that we had difficulty dealing with early on. However, at that very moment I made a conscious decision not to call a time out, but rather to allow the players to play their way through the onslaught. My trigger is normally a +-8 and we weren’t quite there. The players fought their way through the pressure with a great amount of poise and togetherness, I was very pleased with them. It was however to be a close game throughout, one that would require our very best.
When rotating players I try to maintain a balance, both in ability, confidence and overall play. I try to assess the +- affect of making a substitution and hope to maintain a relatively equal standing. This being said, it is not always the case, some players’ acclimatise differently to the various pressures. I had made a number of rotations, based on previous experience of individuals coming in at certain points. Our opposition were somewhat bigger and stronger and played to both of these advantages. We quickly lost our momentum, turning the ball over and giving up 8 quick points. I couldn’t wait to see if we had the strength to get through this and pulled three players’ in a sudden and sharp rotation. I wasn’t overly happy with the move but it was the right one. Where I failed was to communicate my actions to the players, to inform them what it was I was feeling and why I had made the move.
The remainder of the game was tight, very much a back and forth affair until very late. Our opposition had shown themselves to be a worthy combatant and we had risen to the challenge. In fact, at times, we executed at a high ‘click’, demonstrating our ability to really move in sync and get what it was we were looking for from our different plays. I was happy, happy with the confidence and fight the players had displayed, happy with the level of communication that was emanating from the bench and the court. I felt as though it was a good day.
On the drive home I attempted to recall some of the last forty minutes or so, I saw good ball movement, great player movement, high levels of communication and a great deal of togetherness. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t looking at the full picture, I hadn’t taken the time to survey the entire landscape!