December 10, 2004, Newsletter Issue #192: MISMATCH ETIQUETTE

Tip of the Week

Coaches, in the 1st half - do your thing, play your game, anything goes. If the lead starts to get real big, your regulars may not be benefitting anyway, so play your substitutes a little more. Mix up some lineups and play a couple of subs with the starters. You may find a diamond in the rough. Try a player at a different position. You may get a pleasant surprise.

When playing against teams or players who are not quite as talented, it is still important to play at YOUR best. Do not drop your level of play simply to defeat the opponent. Compete against your own personal best every time out, and try to achieve that. In the 2nd half (or at least the 4th quarter) however, play everyone and don`t press. I don`t care if you are a pressing team and `need to work on it`. What kind of work are you really getting against that type of inferior competition? Iīve seen teams NEVER press an overmatched opponent BECAUSE IT WASNīT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF ANYONE INVOLVED.

Don`t get steals and shoot uncontested layups. Do that in layup lines. Pull it out and work on some sort of continuity that will help you run out the last possession of a game when you have a one point lead. Or better yet imagine that it`s tied with 35 seconds to go and you want to take the last shot. Iīve seen teams run thru their entire offense for 25-30 seconds before they shoot, or then run a special play that needs some work. THAT will help you get better.

Play a tight zone as if you need to stop some big post player or a team that can`t shoot outside. Don`t deny passes and get steals in the half court either. Play a tight defense demand a block out and rebound - then WALK IT UP!

If a team did that for an entire half using 35 seconds and even assuming that the losing team didn`t `play along` and shot in their first 10 seconds, the team would have to shoot 100% just to score 40 pts in the 2nd half. A more normal 50% and they score 20 pts. Maybe the other team scores a few and you only win by 40.

I loved winning by 15-20. Safe enough lead not to blow it in the last couple of minutes and big enough to get all subs in the game. Does not demoralize the opponent and lets you work on the parts of the game that you need to improve to beat the good teams. Who cares what you do against the bad ones, you`ll beat them anyway! Practice what you need to do to beat the best.

Unless of course you think that it proves your manhood and ability to coach by winning by a larger amount. In which case - you are showing neither.

Oftentimes, there is a game within a game.
When itīs over was it about dignity and respect or was it about win at all costs? As important as anyone might feel about getting the "W" or a "big win" by a large margin, trust me when I tell you, it becomes old news the day after. I doubt seriously if many can easily remember last yearīs champions. What about 5 years ago? Ten years? 20 years? But I can guarantee if you ever played the game you will remember a team or two that ranked high when it came down to class. For this season what teams can we list? Let`s make sure that there are many nominations?

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