30 second time outs

Friday, January 16, 2009

Enduring That Tough Year

The first thing that coaches need to continue to tell themselves during tough times is that it's never going to be as important to them as it is too you. Even on a championship team it isn't. It's the coaches career and we passionately think about it all day. They think about it a couple hours at practice. The second thing to remind yourself that you hadn't forgotten anything in the past year or years since the last successful season. Coaches are no "worse" a coach when they struggle than they were when they were successful, so try not to determine your "self-worth" based on the record. Sometimes it's not the X's & O's but rather, the Johnny's and Joe's!

We tried to build some pride in playing *one possession at a time*. This really was the foundation behind a championship year in which we won a title. We had them convinced that a single possession in practice should be approached with the same intensity and focus as a play during the 4th quarter in March. That, kind of, became our rallying cry and took the focus off the score, which led to a number of comeback victories. We continued that philosophy when we struggled and tried to stay the course. We really tried to forget about the last play and execute the next one. It worked a bit. Didn't necessarily win more, but the effort stayed the same.

I found out that during difficult years what hurts the most is when team unity in the locker room begins to deteriorate. Players developed a lack of trust and that carries over onto the court. When things get tough, individuals tend to try to do it on their own and step out of their comfort zone to make something happen. Then it unravels even more... and in a hurry. At that point a good focus is the need to regroup and try to win the next couple minutes. We had a game just like that against Jordan Farmar's HS team during a most challenging season. Right there, down 8, PG is outscoring Farmar, a couple things happen and everyone tries to do their own thing. A flurry happens, the deficit was now 22 and the outcome is decided. But we regrouped and won the last 3 minutes with some inspired play. Former players still talk about the game almost as if we won, `even though it was close to a 30 pt loss.

I wouldn't lower the standards of discipline or execution... I'd just limit the things I'd ask them to execute. I would continue to work on creating intensity. The intensity should come from emotion that's released by inspiration.... and maybe we need to provide that inspiration. Making every drill in practice competitive can help with this. You can't always take them there - sometimes you can only give them direction and help them find the way. Sometimes we want them to get there way more than they do, so keep in mind what's in this story "Why They Call You Coach"

One of the first books on coaching that I read was by Dr Jack Ramsey called The Coach's Art and there is also a great excerpt here that might help put things in some perspective.

... and a good coaching freind of mine always reminds me, "...It's never as good as it seems... and it's never as bad as at seems."
Good Luck

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