“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” /Marcus Aurelius
And to play basketball. This is a thought that rarely comes into one’s head. What a privilege it is to wake up in the morning and be alive and well. Be able to train and play this magnificent sport – basketball. Truly a gift from gods. So is Coaching.
So I woke up at last Saturday’s morning after one hour of healthy sleep (was working night shift). A little bit exhausted. Originally Sunny wanted to deal with this game today as she coached the guys on my absence last time we met TSV Grünwald. She wanted to do better as first time. Unfortunately, she had her hands full so it was all on me. Instead of chilling on the bench and being mere observer – today was full get in and get banging day for me. As Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson says: Bring it on.
Very important game for the young ones. After struggling with the Round 1 where we got only two wins and landed on place 9 out of 10 Teams – we started Round 2 today by meeting the 10th place on our first game. I knew that this was the game that would set the mood for the whole Round 2 and win won’t come easy.
I knew the Coach of the Grünwald, we made our D-License together last Summer, August of 2017. A good Coach who knew his game and had a Team that was very able to give us hard time. I still trusted what Sunny had told me from the first time our young ones met them and I also trusted in my preparations with the Team on pratice floor. Our condition had gotten better so was our offense. I trusted my guys to do good ball control in defense and to be able to score in offense.
Prior to game I noticed that Grünwald had some height advantage. One of the guys could almost freakin’ dunk! That player had to be controlled and handled extra. Also I had a flair that on of their Playmaker’s could be a problem – if he managed to set-up game and play on big guy, we had a problem. Also he seemed very good on his feet, fast. He had to be exhausted.
My game plan from minute one was to take Playmaker on full court defense to exhaust him and pressure the other team to change Playmakers more frequently. Second point was to actively change defense on the Big guy. If he was to get the ball on post or near it, he had to be doubled by small guy on outside and helpside had to be ready on the weakside if he decided to drive basline/middle.
First five minutes our defense was in good control and opponents didn’t score. After that they got some freethrows and we continued our defense strong till minute nine. Then number 12 blasted three-pointer and it shook my guys. Important loss of focus abled opponents to score two more easy baskets in minute ten and we finished First quarter with -1, 8 to 7 for Grünwald.
Second quarter started better for opponents who made couple more baskets as we did. I didn’t sweat it as I still had two timeouts for this half-time. Around minute 14 our defensive work brought some fruits and we broke it even 14 to 14. Opponent Coach wasn’t happy about loss of lead and took time out to slow us down. After that we continued our effort in defense – it payed out in couple more baskets. I felt that our position was good and used my timeouts in minutes 18 and 20 to try out some strategic plays in offense. It was important to develop understanding of Coaching board and comprehending play small amount of time. It worked well and we scored another basket at the end. By winning this quarter with 13 to 9 we managed to go in half-time with 3 point lead, 20 to 17 for Hellboys.
Half-time discussion went well for both teams and start of third quarter was equal, couple points and not so big action. We opened more at the end of minute 24 what made opposing team’s Coach to take another timeout. It worked more for us than them and we scored six good baskets and came in lead with 30 to 19. After that game got more action and both teams had scoring opportunities, though we made their opportunieties in free-throws and spared two more points. Third went down 14 to 8 for us, 34 to 25 into the fourth.
We sticked to our strategy in fourth quarter also and made their offense hard by making our defense dense. It worked, but we missed some scoring opportunities in offense and didn’t make some freethrows. Overall fourth quarter was average in scoring as we broke even with 7 to 7. We won the game with 41 to 32 and got a win after a very long time.
As I awaited, Grünwald put up a good fight. Thanks to our efforts and ball control in Defense we were able to defeat them for the second time. What I liked the most was that team had gained increased Team Spirit which was now more present than in previous games in Round 1. It made them play better in offense and work as one in defense which will be crucial in upcoming games. Change has started and now I have to water it and let it grow. I am very positive that if we keep up the good work as in this game – we will play some good basketball also in upcoming games and hopefully get some more wins! Main factor – keep training hard, keep growing.