Monday, April 02, 2007

Lessons from Tournament 2

Hey Folks,

We went to Central Michigan this weekend for our second tournament in the college series. We took a smaller roster and lost two players early to injury. This left a skeleton crew to struggle against Notre Dame and Michigan State - two of the key games against quality opponents we were hoping to learn from.

The main lesson I learned this weekend was one that applies to a personal skill I need to develop if I want to be a coach in this sport. Normally, I take a captain roll meaning I play and coach at the same time. I find this position very natural because I'm always interested in what's happening in the game, and I get a feel for adjustments based on what happens both on and off the field.

Pictured Above: Nate Brown from Torontula marks a Denison player at B!G Green last weekend.

I got injured early in our game against Notre Dame and was now a sideline coach who wasn't actively participating in the game. I found it challenging to focus on the game and help out the guys from the sideline. Whether my lack of focus was due to frustration from being injured or because we were having problems executing the fundamentals I don't know.

I think anotther problem was that a captain is friends with all the players as peers, but as a coach on the sideline the loss of focus resulted in too much joking that probably had no place in the teams situation.

The lesson is that a coach needs to stay focused to help their team and this job needs to be executed with some seriousness. The question I still have is what does a coach do when their team can't execute the basics consistently?



Anonymous said...

The question I still have is what does a coach do when their team can't execute the basics consistently?

Call a time out, make everyone grab a water bottle so they have time to decompress, do a 10-20 second talk about one thing that will help create space (ie. make deeper long cuts or dump on stall 3) and put on the seven players that are doing the best job of correct execution, even if they aren't your best seven.

I'd love to hear other suggestions.

boozemachine said...

you can't switch players on a timeout

dusty.rhodes said...

That's not your job as a coach. Game management is strategy, simple talking points, encouragement, subbing and tweaks to the game plan.

You can't fix a player not executing the basics in a game. You can only fix that in practice. You've got to cover it in drills, small sided games, scrimmages, strategy sessions, etc. Once you get to the tournament (unless you are treating it as a full-on practice tournament) you can't worry about that stuff. Now's not the time.

What you can do (and I recommend) is to take notes on exactly what you see that needs to be improved. Make check marks next to each item when you see the error repeated. After the tournament, go over the list and prioritize your practice time in the context of your season-long plan and get to work.

Coaching is rarely finding the quick-fix strategy adjustment. It is instead being the big picture man. You've got to have a plan and follow through (Brian Boitano would make a great coach). In other words, you need to provide the team with a long-term method to reach the goals that they set for themselves.

anonymous #2 said...

I think it was implied that the timeout should be called between points.