Watch any NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA or High School tournament or playoff game and go back and watch just about any regular season game for that same team and there is likely to be a marked difference in the intensity level in the two types of competition.
It’s also likely that the higher the level, the odds are that the discrepancy is greater. This is so largely because of the greater number of games and greater travel distances inherent at each respective higher level.
Still, even at lower levels the difference in preparation, focus, and intensity is not surprising considering the stakes and the very nature of one and done games at tournament time.
But, should the difference be so great? Of course not! The very best teams play at or very close to tournament intensity all season long.
A worthwhile summer project for any staff would be to analyze this very issue by creating a video which shows clips of undesirable stretches of regular season games next to high intensity tournament clips. This graphic illustration can go a long way in creating a new normal level of hard play for one’s team.