July 14, 2008 - Season Three
The 2008/2009 season started back up last Monday and Thursday of this past week with our summer practices before we go to camp. We had the July 4th week as our down week as required by state rules. I have also started up Sunday night shooting.
In-between practices several of the players have been getting together for conditioning workouts. What is especially gratifying is all our seniors have been there to show the younger players their commitment to the team.
After August 1st we will move in to our 3 player and coaches workouts (including shooting). This is a great time to work and evaluate players for the upcoming season. We had great success with this last year and it will be even more valuable this year because of the size of our team. We will be more athletic which means we will need to become much quicker and stronger. It will be very difficult to make up for the size and skill we lost from last year but we will make up it up with
"94 Feet to Glory."
We will be playing baseline-to-baseline offense and defense, which requires we have a rotation of 8 or 9 players who are in shape and can shoot "accurately" on a dime. More importantly it means conditioning will be a major factor for those who want to play both ends of the floor. In your shirt defense is the standard for all five players on the court.
Shooting accurately and quickly is a must if we are to be competitive in every game.
We are very excited about our returning players because they realize they need to step up this year. Each of them has the ability to get ample playing time if they work on their conditioning and skills (not just at practice).
Being in game shape requires more strength and conditioning than just running so we will be adding additional strength and conditioning to our workouts starting August 1st and for the remainder of the season.
Next – A New Team & A New Camp
July 24, 2008
Camp was very interesting this year. Our lack of size was very apparent but our effort made up for our lack of height. Varsity and JV each played 10 games in 2 ½ days and it was very hot and muggy in the gym.
Both the JV and Varsity had ups and downs as far as playing well together but that is what can be expected when you have a young team and limited practice before going to camp.
Both the JV and Varsity Coaches were very pleased with the overall results and the Varsity coach was able to find some players that may have a chance to make Varsity.
The best part of the camp for me is being able to watch and learn from our coaches and to see the interactions that take place as the chemistry of a team comes together.
The worst part of the camp was the injuries we sustained during the camp, some minor (Blisters) and a few major (Dislocated knee, ankle break) injuries.
Next – Three with Two
Our 3 player workouts which we began last year with the season change has again proved worthy of the time and effort that goes in to each one twice a week. We have also been3 player shooting on Sunday nights that continues to show promise as each of our players are becoming well-tuned shooters.
One new aspect of this year’s planning has been our 15-minute weight lifting program that is at the end of each player’s workout.
The players are also working on their conditioning two times a week running and exercising. They know the importance of our new system and they know that hard work and no let up attitude will amount for playing time. They are like young colts waiting for their first race. They see the improvements they have made and would work out every day if time and space allowed it to happen.
This season will be one of changes and special situations based on the talent and characteristics of our team. Coach is building a team unlike those of the past. Not necessarily for change itself but because in order for us to be successful this year and in the upcoming years we must be ready for “94 Feet of Glory.”
"94 Feet of Glory" is based on Defense and our ability to disrupt the guards on the opposing team they will be screaming for their Momma’s to pull them out of the game. We have four “Mighty Mites” that are going to make life miserable for opposing players up and down the court. This does not leave our other players with less responsibility, in fact the pressure is on them to make steals and know what “Anticipation” really means.
Updated November 9th, 2008
The girls have been chomping at the bit to be able to hit the floor with a basketball with more than three girls allowed on the court at the same time. I would relate this to football when it’s time to put on the pads and start hitting and blocking people. Tomorrow tryouts begin and the coaches are eagerly waiting to see how our off season workouts and conditioning have paid off. We are really proud of the girls because they did not have to be prompted to push themselves without a coach. This team is extremely proud and knows this a much different team than the one who went to the state final four last year.
Coaching will also have to be different this year. A good leader whether it is in business, education or sports knows that to get the best out of each player so that it forms in to one complete unit is to be a situational leader.
Coaches must be patient and consistent this year. Emphasizing a certain method and then abandoning it when things get tough or to win one (piece) game but sacrifice the season (whole) will be a constant task. I believe the coaches and the players we have will rise to the occasion when called upon to do their job.
There is little room for error this year and defense is a must, not just good defense, but defense like no other team at this school has ever seen.
"I am only one, but I am one I can't do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, that I ought to do. And what I ought to do By the grace of God, I shall do."
- Edward Everett Hale
Two Games Played
We won our first game of the year by playing good defense and hitting some key shots. The one area we must improve on is balancing our outside shooting with passes to our Bigs and guards penetrating as far as they are allowed and then pitch out to the wings for better shots.
Our second game we played hard in spots but we were not able to handle the Bigs form our opponents, especially as our two Bigs sat on the bench with 1st Quarter foul trouble. Much was learned from this game by both players and coaches.
This week has been spent scouting a number of our future opponents. It’s going to be very easy to determine the outcomes. If we play “Defense” at 100% we will win. If we lose sight of the ball and the man after our person passes the ball we will lose.
End of Story
So far this season has been one of difference. While we are in the midst of changing coaching styles and team chemistry it still comes down to the basics. More commonly known in Football as “Tackling and Blocking.” If I can’t add or subtract it is useless to go on to multiplication and division tables. These terms are called “Fundamentals.”
The Varsity team is 1-3 after a loss last night. Big Loss, Big Crowd and Big Questions.
When you have a small team like we do this year Fundamentals are the difference between winning and losing. Coach has told the girls repeatedly that our margin for error is slim if we want to win games. That margin can only be made up with Fundamentals.
Like Football he same can be said in Basketball. If we can’t dribble, pass, defend or box out nothing else can be improved upon. And, as the coach says, “If one player does not run the play correctly then it will fail, it takes all of us to work in unison.” The same can be said for playing defense.
It is not about doing fundamentals right, it’s about doing the right fundamentals right.
So what do we do when there are big gaps between levels of player’s fundamentals? Aggh that is the beauty of coaching, making decisions at the right time for the right reasons.
It all depends on the situation you are in and knowing your players strengths and weaknesses. When you are being pressed you must not have poor dribblers and passers on the floor. Above all you must not have players who shy away and do not want the ball by playing close to their defender as to look if they are covered.
Coaches like Business Managers own the system. The players and the employees who play and work for us can only succeed if the environment by which we place them is conducive to their talents and skills. None of our players goes to practice each day hoping to screw up or make a mistake.
We must know what situations are right for players to be on the floor and which are not. Sometimes it may be a small line up and sometimes a big line up. Knowing when is vital, and that is a coach’s job not players, so it is are fault if we make the wrong decisions not the players because we put them in a situation to fail.
So what do we do when we don’t have five skilled players to put on the floor? We simplify our offense and defense until we do and we play the best we can and have fun knowing we did the best with what we got. Are we satisfied? You are not a coach if you answered yes, but we must also understand it is our system and the whole must improve not just each player or each level.
We are still struggling in a number of fundamental areas but we are showing improvement in others each game. Our record is now 2-5 with a win last Saturday on a very cold snowy winter afternoon.
I have said since the beginning of the season that I believe this is a March Team. Which means it is going to take us all season and hopefully be ready for a run in the State Tournament.
Our league seems to be very balanced this year with everyone getting beat by someone. Just goes to show you that Basketball is a game of match-ups. Unfortunately, because of our size this is a very tough match-up for us in most of our games so far.
We are expecting more snow and sub zero temperatures this week. However, our play must continue to stay warm.
No, the update date is not an error. I have not posted in over a month. No excuses I just have not had anything to write.
Our record currently stands at 5 Wins and 11 Losses. I have played on losing teams but I have never coached one. In losing I mean the record not the the players.
Our team is like playing a round of golf. Sometimes my long shots are good but my putting is bad. Sometimes putting is good but my approach shots suck. You know the feeling it just does not seem to want to come together at the same time.
While some have said we are undersized and lost all our talent from the previous year these are not excuses the coaches will put forth as reasons. Defense requires all out effort and we have not done that consistently in a game for the whole season. If you play good defense you can stay in a game and hope at the end some breaks will go your way. However, first you have to stay in a game.
We did not defend our Catholic League Title nor our Divisional Title. We have one goal we still shoot for and that is to get ready for the State Tournament that starts 3/2/09. We still have four games to play but our effort will be towards winning our District.
Our team is like Notre Dame. Teams don't want to beat us they want to kick our ass and many of the girls on the team don't understand what it means to always play with defensive effort.
One of the highlights of each year "Poster Night." After the game (We Won) tables are set up and all the players and coaches sit around them and sign the poster of the players for 2009. The first 100 school children get free posters and they are allowed in the game free.
We have three games this week and next Monday the State Tournament begins which we hope to play in three more games in our District. I have said all year that I believe this year's team is a March team and now we will see if I am correct.
We have won our last 4 games including 3 this past week. All 4 of the teams won their leagues so it nice to close the regular season on a high note. Last Thursday was a big victory but last night (Saturday) was very satisfying because we had a 1 1/2 drive home and the bus was filled with harmony (much singing), pizza and just happy feelings.
As coach said "We go as Turnovers go." Of course those words are not new to a basketball team but for this team it is the ultimate truth, even more than our lack of size.
I'm so happy for the seniors and this week we start our District games. Hopefully there will be 3 games this week with the last one on Friday being the crown jewel. against our rivalsNo one likes to look ahead but I want Friday Night so bad and does the team.
We took a six game winning streak in to the District Title game but the season ended last night with a well played game by both teams. We led for three quarters but lost the 4th big with defensive breakdowns that have plagued us all year.
It's always sad to say good bye to the seniors but this team has laid a solid foundation for us to be better next year.
Thanks for reading and I'll start writing again in July when we leave for camp.