We’re at that stage of the season. No matter the current level of success of our teams, coaches and players alike are susceptible to mid-season doldrums. The reasons are varied but include the following:
- Pre-season and early season excitement are on the decline.
- Schedules get daunting and can beat down a team or individual players.
- At various levels, travel alone can be exhausting. (I’ve always said that if normal non- basketball playing persons JUST traveled the NBA schedule or many college schedules, it would knock them on their butts.)
- Conference opponents’ scouting gets more detailed and actions that were easier in November and December become harder in January and February.
- Both players and coaches forget small, basic thoughts that keep them on track. As examples, “Block out your man as far as away from the rim as possible-so as to “own” more space on long rebounds” and “You need to close out on a shooter in stages-you can’t get there all at once.”
- Human nature takes over and many people “big-time” the familiar.
Whatever the reasons, all coaches have to be on guard for season slippage. The other night I was watching a team on the tube that I see often and very soon I observed that they were 5-10% “off” in the energy and focus area. That’s all it takes to slip enough to be significant and the team in question got behind by double digits. After the half, the energy and focus resumed to normal for this team but the first half damage had been done and the comeback came up short.
If a coach knows or suspects slippage from his team, there is no better way to illustrate this to players than by isolating on video 5 possessions with high energy and focus from an earlier game and compare them to 5 lower energy possessions from a recent game. Graphic proof always resonates better with players than verbal generalizations.
How do you prevent slippage with your teams? Let us know in the comments section below.