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Mismatch Etiquette

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Mismatch Etiquette

Coaches should try to schedule games against teams that will present somewhat of a challenge. While padding the schedule with wins may seem attractive, playing teams of inferior talent will actually hinder a team's development. Many times in preseason tournaments, obvious mismatches between two teams occur. The tough thing for the coach in this situation is figuring out a way for his team to get everything out of the game that it can without humiliating the opponent.

At the more competitive levels, coaches tend to encourage players to "do their thing and play their game" in the first half. If the lead starts to get really big, your regulars may not be benefiting anyway, so this is a good time to play your substitutes a little more. Mix up some lineups and play a couple of subs with the starters or try a player at a different position. You may just find a diamond in the rough or get a pleasant surprise. At the developmental level, or if the mismatch is recognized ahead of time, this might even start early in the game.

If the team you're playing against is not as talented, it's still important to play your best. Do not drop your level of play simply to defeat the opponent. Consider playing players in different positions than they are used to. This gives athletes the opportunity to continue to give their best effort, even though they may just be less likely to be as good they are in another position.

Encourage your team to constantly compete against their personal best every time out on the court. In the second half of the game (or at least the fourth quarter), play everyone and don't press. What kind of work are you really getting against that type of inferior competition?

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 thirty-five seconds to go and you want to take the last shot.

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!

It's great to win by fifteen to twenty. That's a safe enough lead not to blow it in the last couple of minutes and big enough to get all subs in the game. It does not demoralize the opponent and lets you work on the parts of the game that you need to improve on 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.



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