Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Playing Your Efficient Best

Colorado bench - 2002-2003.

  A competitor wants to be in the game as much as physically possible. Find a game anywhere in the world, and the most competitive people will never want to be on the sideline. Competition feeds something deep inside of you, it gets your blood boiling. A competitor also believes down deep, that by being in the game, you're giving your team its best chance to win.

  If the game lasts 40 minutes, I want to be on the court 40 minutes. I never want to sit out. Period.

  But there is a fine line between wanting to be in the game because you're ultra-competitive, and staying in the game a few minutes too long and causing your team harm. At some point, efficiency takes a hit. Obviously, you work to condition yourself to be able to stay on the court, and be effective for as long as possible. But you WILL get tired. In an intense, high-paced game, there WILL be a point where you tire, no matter how good of shape you are in. You get fatigued, and can no longer play as hard. Your legs get tight, and your reactions become a step slower. You lose your focus mentally, and you make some mistakes. Fatigue can arise in many forms, and when it does, it has the potential to cause a player to be counter-productive.
Subbing out in Germany - 2010.

  Once that fatigue hits, you always think you can get through it. You'll catch your breath, or your legs will come back to you soon enough. You always try to push to the next possession, or the possession after that. Or you try to find a place where you can rest on the court. But in hindsight, that's probably a selfish move, and exactly where you do your team more harm than good.

  In this situation, hopefully you have a coach that sees when you are trying to rest on the court, or heaven forbid, you just ask for a sub! I have been horrible with this throughout the years. Maybe it's a pride thing, but I HATE subbing myself out of the game. Sometimes, it might be exactly what you need to re-energize yourself, and raise your level of play for the remainder of the game. You have to trust your teammates enough to know they'll be able to survive without you for a couple of minutes. ;)

Sweden - 2008-2009.
  So the reality is, sometimes less really IS more. Fewer minutes on the court might result in playing 'better' in the time you are in the game. Better overall statistics, and playing a more efficient game. If instead of pacing yourself through 40 minutes, you only play 30, you're able to play your hardest the entire time you're on the court.

Even the best ever, Michael Jordan, didn't play the entire game. Over the course of his career, played an average of 38 minutes a game (NBA games are 48 minutes). That means he was allowed 10 minutes of game time to rest and re-focus on the bench.

  Now don't get me wrong, I still get mad when I am subbed out of the game (as all my coaches can attest to, I'm sure). Even though I know it's for the best, and will benefit me later in the game, I can't help myself. I've always wanted to be on the court every second of every game, and don't see that changing anytime soon.

Fast break in Germany - 2010.
   Call it what you want: maturation, experience, etc..but I've finally realized a little rest isn't a bad thing. To be at your best on the court you have to be allowed a few minutes to re-focus mentally, and re-gain your legs physically. But once that recovery has taken place, get me back out there coach!

  ~ Sabrina


  1. Sabrina, you need to somehow get every college freshman in the country to read the part about "less is more". :D

  2. @maccascruff

    Hard thing to realize as an 18 year old!! We want the world, and we want it now takes precedent!! :)