Monday, October 8, 2012

Off to a Slow Start

DMBC team huddle.

  Two regular season games in the books. Two slow starts. Two losses.

  Not exactly how I wanted my team to start the 2012-2013 basketball season. But that's the reality we're faced with.

  In both of the games, DMBC Dunkerque (my team, in case you forgot!), was slow out of the gate. Lacking aggressiveness and being passive defensively, which quickly led to a double digit deficit by the end of the first quarter.

  In the season opener, at home against Pau Orthez, we worked our way back into the game. Even though we trailed by as many at 16 points, we scratched and clawed our way back to take a one point lead midway through the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, we weren't able to build on that lead, and lost by six.

  Our first road trip of the season (was a long one -- 10 hours on the bus overnight) to Laveyron resembled the previous week, almost to a T. Slow out of the gate. No defensive energy as our opponents racked up easy basket after easy basket. We didn't seem to get into the game, mentally and physically, til well-after halftime. We kept the score respectable, but never truly made it a game -- losing by 16.

  The LF2 league is too difficult to spot our opponents a 12+ point lead, and expect to win any games. Only playing 20 to 30 minutes of a 40 minute game, is a surefire way to chalk up the notches in the 'L' column.

  After game one, I attributed our early-game timidness to first game nerves. Being a bit unsure of our opponent put us on our heels. That was all. But after a second consecutive game, you have to think it's a pattern.

Games haven't been all smiles, so far.
  So now we're searching for a solution. We need a different approach to the game. Because once we really start to play, we compete and we succeed. But we need to do it for 40 minutes.

  Whenever there are struggles in games, I go back to practice. You play how you practice, and you should practice how you want to play. Practice needs to prepare you for games.

  The speed, the tempo, the physicality of games, MUST be matched in practice to succeed come gameday.

  I've never been a player who could turn it off and on, so to speak. Some players are blessed with that ability to turn it up a notch when it's gameday, but not me. I rely on practice to help me develop a rhythm and a feel for the game throughout the week.

  Maybe it sounds silly. We've all played hundreds, if not thousands, of games. So we should be able to adjust quickly, right? But your body gets used to certain things, and we develop habits quickly. Practice is the place where you should encounter the difficult situations day after day, so you adapt, and solve them there. And are not seeing them for the first time come gameday. Practice helps you push through the difficult spots when they arise during the game.

  My teammates and I have to work to develop this atmosphere in practice, so we aren't finding ourselves on our heels the first 10 minutes of every game. Adjusting to a new intensity level when Saturday night rolls around, and we're tipping off against a quality opponent, is no way to chalk up notches in the RIGHT column -- the win column!

  We'll see how we develop in the weeks to come. We have a bye, so no game this weekend. But we do have a practice game midweek that will give us a chance to work on the things we've been struggling with in a game-like scenario.

  I'll keep you updated!


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