Wednesday, January 16, 2013

'Good Game'

Poland days.

  In sports, what qualifies as 'playing well'?

  It's a very broad term, with vastly different meanings.

  I came across a tweet earlier this week from a basketball coach, Kevin Eastman, and it got me thinking on the subject. Here's the tweet:

  @kevineastman: Your stats may be good but that is not how you should judge your performance. It should be judged against your standards & not just stats!

The Stat Sheet
  Far too often, a player is quick to grab the stat sheet and check their line following a game. I've always wondered, what are they looking at? Where do their eyes go first? What do they value the most? They already know the final score, so they're not checking that!

  To many, players and fans alike, playing well (in basketball) is defined solely as scoring a lot of points. Personally, I think that's a naive way to define it, the lazy way -- the novice's way.

Post game -- Germany.
  Different players have different skill-sets, and different roles. With that, each players' abilities alter a game in different ways. So points alone might not do their game justice.

  There are players who have an unbelievable ability to put the ball in the basket. So yes, their role may be that of scorer. But if a 'scorer' puts up 20 points, it doesn't give him a free 'good game' pass. What if it took him 25 shots to get his 20 points? What if he isolated himself from his teammates, and took poor shots? What if he did nothing on the defensive end of the floor?

  Or what about a point guard -- she dished out nine assists -- good game? What if she also had seven turnovers, or didn't make the right plays at the right times?

  As competition gets better, the game gets more intricate, and roles are more specifically defined. The point of the game will always remain the same: put the ball in the basket. But not everyone can be a scorer.

Hyped bench -- Sweden.
  What do YOU bring to your team? What is YOUR role?  

  By themselves, stats have no value in my book. Basketball has too many game-influencing factors to be defined solely by numbers.

A Feeling
  For me, playing well has always been a feeling inside me. I know when I play well. I know when I play poorly. I don't need the stat sheet to tell me. And I don't need any one else to tell me.

  I play to my own expectations. 

Warming up in Dunkerque.
  Yes, you need your coach's input about specifics to your team, whether it'd be a strategy, or a particular play. But even so, I know.

  I smile sometimes when talking to friends about their own games. I'll ask them, 'how did you play?' Some will shoot back their stat line -- how many points they scored, or how many rebounds they grabbed.

  But that's not what I asked, I think to myself...

  Basketball is more than just stats, or numbers on a board. It's about winning. It's about your team. It's a feeling.


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