Here is my in studio radio debut with Austin David and Juan Vernal on the Community Sports Report
One of the things we do a great job of with FGB is getting parents and players information year round in the form of our updates which we send at a minimum once a week. Here is our latest installment on my thoughts on the high school season as I address players in our program.I hope everyone is doing well. At this point all of our focus will be on scholastic basketball (high school) until the conclusion of the season. To me as I was a high school coach for 8 season, I know the demands and amount of effort high school basketball takes and I want to give it your full effort. While there may not be a ton of coaches out to see you every day in high school do not fool yourself, what you do in high school…
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Five wins, four losses and six draws is close to comprehensive mediocrity, but the specific manner in which this record has come about is well south of mere mediocrity, and the cause for my present anguish. I can no longer tolerate generic calls for more effort, or endure another misguided bystander noting “they just don’t want it”, not in the face of soft goals, incoherent tactical play, merciless ref-baiting and vision-less, overwhelmingly incompetent passing.
Incompetence has a cumulative effect. Simple plays that go awry, runs that go unseen, support and cover that vanish or never appear erode the very notion of a team leaving eleven frustrated, isolated individuals. The cumulative effect of this incompetence becomes tangible in the behaviors of the team, and calls for more effort, more subs or better officials serve only to obscure the cause and existence of the team cancer.
The answer is reestablishing a collective identity, recalibrating the demands placed on each player to fit their skill set, defining a process of preparation and producing a manner of play that meets the challenges of the game. Training sessions must be tightly structured to the issues at hand, and effectively re-create game-like situations that have been the difference between winning and losing. Disractions and excuses need to be identified and excised from the collective mindset, replaced with personal pride and accountability.
I asked a player with whom I am quite familiar what he could have done better after a game, and he said “nothing”. To be fair, he played well, made very few mistakes and generally had a postive impact on his team’s performance, but the answer was troubling. It was bloated with contentment, and contentment is the enemy of greatness. Greatness is the result of an unrelenting push at the extreme margins of performance, and demands constant critique.
This is distinquishable from confidence-sucking, second-guessing as it requires a detached assessment of performance that does not invade the hallowed preserve of self-belief, but recognizes that subtle, incremental changes to a decision, speed of decision or technical execution can result in greater consistency, or a game changing play. To be critical of an ostensibly good performance manifests a heightened level of confidence, and is mandatory for transcendant development as a player.