Success When It Matters

Game Keys to a Successful Team

It’s game day.  There are fans in the stands.  There are referees on the court.  There is an opponent in the building. We’ve been working hard in the classroom.  We’ve been working hard in practice.  We’ve worked hard to recruit talented athletes.  Now we’re going to be put to the test.  They want to win just as badly as we do.

Win?  Did somebody say win?  If there’s a winner that means there’s a loser.  We’ve been competing in practice.  We’ve won and lost in drills.  We’ve won and lost in scrimmages.  We can even tell you every player’s win loss record in practice.  Those wins and losses don’t go in the record books.  No one else really knows anyone else’s record, nor do they care.  Why do we care?  The record really isn’t important.  We only care that we work hard.  We only care that we are improving.  We are focused on winning right now.  We want to win this moment, this matchup, this drill, and this possession.  We know that if we win right now on a consistent basis that we will win overall.  If we are focused on winning the overall picture, that means we’re not focused on winning right now.

We have to help players focus on winning their individual matchup in a team setting.  How can I keep my player from scoring while also be ready to help a teammate if they stumble?  How can I make sure my player doesn’t get the rebound?  How can I play aggressively but not out of control?  How do I know if this is the best shot for our team on this possession? How can I help our team get the best shot without touching the ball? How can I be a good teammate right now, even though I’m not on the court?

There are 3 keys to winning any game.  We must defend every possession. We must rebound well every possession.  We must value every offensive possession by taking care of the ball and making sure we get good shots.  This requires a very narrow focus by coaches and players alike.  We must be focused on the task immediately in front of us.  If we are focused on anything else, our chances of winning narrow significantly. If we take care of each individual possession, winning the overall game will take care of itself.

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