Monday, November 26, 2012

Road Game in Paris

Picture day on the beach.

  After securing our first win last Saturday, DMBC Dunkerque hit the road this Saturday looking for our first road win of the season. This time in Paris.

  You're never not excited to go to Paris. No matter the reason, no matter how short the stay. Just being able to say, 'I'm going to Paris' or 'we're playing in Paris' is fun. There's an extra buzz about it, and a feeling of excitement as the bus navigates its way through the city.

  A road trip to Paris also meant a shorter bus ride for us. Something that is always appreciated. For once we didn't have an overnight trip on the bus. So it was a different experience to wake up on game day in my own bed, and then travel to the game.

  We had INSEP (Institut National du Sport de l'Expertise et de la Performance) on the slate this time around. I compare INSEP to that of the college playing experience in the US. They live, study, train, and play together.

  An extremely young, athletic, and very talented team. INSEP features France's best and brightest from the younger generation. They're training to be France's next generation of stars. But until then, as a professional, you cannot lose to them. So the pressure's on.

Institut National du Sport de l'Expertise et de la Performance
  INSEP came out of the gate hot. They couldn't miss. Mostly due to our passive defense. But to give their young players credit, they were making and finishing plays. INSEP knocked down every thing they put up, and we were looking at a 10-point deficit right away.

  As we increased our defensive aggressiveness and intensity, we were able to slowly chip away at their lead. By being passive defensively, we allowed the INSEP players to be comfortable and play at their own pace. We couldn't allow that to continue. As a defender, you have to make the offense uncomfortable. Especially if they lack the experience, like INSEP does. Put pressure on their players, and make them play a little faster than they want to play.

  Though INSEP maintained a small lead, we kept our heads, didn't get down mentally, and were able to draw even towards the end of the first half. Eventually we took the lead, and never looked back, taking a four-point lead into the half.

vs. Calais earlier in the season.
  A four-point lead is nothing, so we needed to make sure we came out of the second half gate more focused, and more aggressive than we did to start the game. And we did exactly that. Gradually we were able to increase our lead by exploiting our advantage inside, sustaining defensive pressure, and knocking down open shots from the perimeter. 

  A double-digit road win -- you really can't complain! Everyone contributed, and every win is a good win, isn't it? We're progressing, and I feel our team getting better and better. And that's exactly what you hope for, week-by-week, as your season progresses.

  After a fun celebratory team dinner at a restaurant in Paris, we hopped back on the bus with our first road win in hand. Let's hope there are many more to come!

  Two wins is a start. But it's up to us to continue to work to improve because it's certainly not enough!


Post a Comment