The league I play in is comprised of 6 teams, and plays 3 games each Monday. The schedule is set up so that each team plays each other twice. No tournament or anything at the end, just 10 games and the best record takes home the trophy.
With that knowledge it didn’t alarm us much when we started the season 0-5. Sure we hadn’t won a game, but 4 of those games were decided by a grand total of 12 points. TWELVE POINTS separated us from 0-5 and 4-1. Had four measly three points fallen for us (plus a free throw here and there) throughout the first half of the season and we would be sitting atop the standings and not looking up at it from the bottom of the well.
So as you can imagine, the team had lots of encouragement coming into the second half of the season. “Sure we are 0-5, but there really isn’t a team out there we should lose to.”
Well, that was what everyone was saying two games ago. Now we are tooting a different horn.
After rematches with the first two teams we lost to by a three-pointer apiece, we have fallen to 0-7, with humiliating losses by 19 and 17.
In both games we were in it or leading at half, then VOILA, we stopped scoring in the second half.
I think there are two things at play in our recent losses. First is that at the beginning of the season, when we were barely losing, we were playing relaxed and moving the ball around well. Same with the first half in our two most recent games. However now that we haven’t won and the pressure to win is mounting (if nothing else, but to save face), we are getting antsy with the ball. We go from passing the ball around the parameter in the first half of games to dribble drives or one-pass and launch. We aren’t distributing in the second halves like we are in the first, or like we were at the beginning of the season.
Secondly, we didn’t have the un-needed pressure of knowing we were trolling the bottom of the league standings.
So what now? What can we do to get that W on our league standings page?
Well, first off I think we can play more relaxed. We need to realize that, while we wish it weren’t the case, this isn’t the NBA and nobody but ourselves, our girlfriends/wives, and maybe a friend or two are seeing the scores or hearing about our mountain losses. Effectively, like every rec athlete out there, we are playing for the love of the game, to sweat a little and for the social aspect of seeing our friends regularly. So if we can remove the pressure of winning, we should play more casually, have more fun and win more games (or rather, ‘a game.’)
Secondly, we get into the habit of changing our style at half time. I count tell you how many times we have all congregated at the bench during halftime and decide to change our fundamental philosophies. We either move from zone defense to man. Or we change up how we are playing offensively from a slow, methodical style to a run and gun type of game.
None of the losses can, or should, be pinpointed on any individual. We have all had great games, but it seems like we haven’t placed two or three great individual games together on any given night. But I don’t think that is the issue. We are good enough as a team that we should be winning these games without someone having the game of their life, but for one reason or another, the ball isn’t bouncing our way.
So next week, if you are our opponent, WATCH OUT! We are going to play calm, poised and under control. We are going to go out and play the same way in the first half as we play in the second and we are not going to change our philosophies. I know for a fact, because I, for one, won’t let it happen.
Any suggestions for my squad? Leave a comment below.
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