“Most of us aren’t defeated in one decisive battle. We are defeated one tiny, seemingly insignificant surrender at a time that chips away at who we should really be.”
– Jocko Willink
How can I help? This is the question that got me here. Well that and advice of my Coach from BC Herren 2. “You should get into coaching girls. Yours will grow up and you’ll need the ‘know how’ if she wants to do the sport.” About at the time came answer to my question – I could take on u16w girls team and help out at u14w. At this point I had been coaching only boys at the same age. This meant even bigger work load and time in the gym, but, man, I was curious and wanted to take the challenge.
Last year the u16w girls went to win the Kreisklasse without losses in an quite easy manner. This year they went one league up, which ended up to be a one step too small. Team is combined from u16w girls with some coming out of 14w to fill up the roster. As I overtook the team, our Spielleiterin Miriam and u12-14w coach Sandy pointed out that girls needed discipline and structure as they’ve been doing nothing else than winning easy in that little league. Roger that. Bring in the big guns from the day one.
Unfortunately I didn’t know myself what I will get done. I brought the discipline and hard trainings. That only made them stronger, some left because it was not as fun anymore or because their injuries/growth at the time could not keep up with the training pace. It happens. I don’t like complicated things, all I do is follow one simple idea:
“I don’t require much from you, but only one thing – your absolute best.”
Now, the problem with this is (and what I didn’t realize till now) that when you get a team that bring havoc upon it’s whole league – it’s hard to get them to develop themselves. They do it more for fun. Many have what we could call “natural abilty” for the sport (or sports in general). Intelligence also. But when everything comes easy, they get sloppy, they don’t want to push. What for? It’s too hard. Better stay at the little league and win every game with +30 and up. What the hell? Sadly there is no option to change the leagues once you have started the year… Next season. So, there need to be preparations! Starting with breaking the team.
This half a season they went 6 games, 6 wins. Demolishing the league with no mercy. When you do that there come dirty thoughts and bad attitude in your head – you start to think that you’re invincible. NO SIR, not your coach girls. We are in the wrong damn league! Winning all the time is not normal! IT IS NOT HEALTHY.
But how can it be? Out of ten Top-Scorers we currently got two. Not even in the Top 3. They sit at the places four (14 pt avg) and seven (11.2pt avg) respectively. This is without unleashing the true power of the team. I have been playing to develop the newer players for the next season coming up and some more unskilled players who need the game practice to sharpen their abilities. So we don’t particulary win in the offense. No, sir, we don’t – we D the hell up! Noone in this half of the season managed to drop more than 39 balls in our bucket. This is where the story starts with every team I get – Defense and Team Effort.
Everybody likes to score. They feel the adrenaline of the basketball going throught the hoop and get the pride looking at the scoresheet after the game. I like to fustrate opponents of not letting them score. I like to watch my team to develop in Defensive Machine and taking pride on running down the court. Taking pride in statistics not presented anywhere. Noone’s counting.
Stop the ball, push it sideline, push it baseline, double it, get the helpside in, defend the picks, switch the picks, slide, get the defensive rotation straight, box out, rebound, close out, hands up, move the legs, close the middle, close the penetration. That’s how we roll in here. Hard, fast, effective. Most of the teams got only one or two offensive techniques, three at the most and we know how to defend all of them. In past couple months girls have developed a team and individual techniques to stop the ball early and push it where we want the opponents to go. It’s a beauty to watch in the action. Now we can start to work on the offense and push it really hard.
Oh man. Up till now it has been like this: we get the ball, we do a fastbreak. Almost all the game long. Fast break basketball. At the beginning of the season the endurance of girls was pretty bad. We are running a lot, but we should be doing even more as it is not up to my standards. After three months I can feel that all that suicides and stairs running starts to add up. Breathing technique in-between allow them to bring their mind back in the game. Though, I knew that this is not the way to develop them. We were staling on our basketball education, all except defensively. So I had to come up with some action.
I decided to go insane in the last game on this half of the season. We played 35 minutes without doing a single lay-up and shooting exclusively outside the paint. Okay, a few of the shots were one step in, but the world isn’t perfect, is it? So this was a hard game. It was up to strong girls team from MTV Schwabing and game was tough. Just as we like it. They also had a leagues #1 top scorer in their lineup and there was some job to do in the defense. This worked like a charm. We barely won by sliping through in last quarter with end score 39-46 to us. We played at their gym and it was perfect what I had in mind. It was smaller. Way smaller. Maybe the smallest gym I’ve ever been into in my fifteen years of basketball. Three-Point line was almost at the middle line, there was less place around the paint, funnily enough one corner of the court was cut off with a wall. IT WAS A MESS. Just what the girls needed. No more bravura, no more calmness… I dare to say it all went to shit for a moment there. They had to get themselves together to return and hold the game at equal score. They played hard defense as always, but they were not able to get a reward for it all the time in the other side of the floor with fastbreaks. There was just no space and they were not allowed to do layups for most of the game! So they played defense for the sake of not getting beat. They had to start to think how to pass and make place around the paint in the offense in order to get some shot free – and believe me, opponents didn’t give them one free and easy centimeter of that floor. They wanted to win, they had the chance and they fought. This game was the start of the breakdown which will continue in the next half of the season after the holidays.
“If you can get through to doing things that you hate to do, on the other side is greatness.”
– David Goggins
– “WHY ARE YOU LOSING?”
– “We can’t shoot coach!”
Yes, you can’t. Well, you can shoot when you are alone in the gym. You can’t shoot in a two times smaller field with constant pressure from all sides. It’s okay. Maybe noone ever pushed you to do it. Maybe someone let you think you’re good as you are. Sorry, not me. We need to talk. I will present you the reality, maybe you will even hate me. Fine. Somebody has to do it. There is nothing more dangerous in this world as words “good job” in the wrong time (“Whiplash” reference). It’s a hard reality to get checked in the face.
It might not be your fault, but it is your responsibility.
From now on we are doing shooting. We are doing exactly that what we are not good at. Anybody can go through meadows filled with nice flowers and butterflies in the day with warm sun shining and a light breeze to cool you down. We ain’t going there ladies. That’s the way of the weak and we are all, but weak. We are going to get nice and uncomfortable. Even if we can beat the league, we are going to beat it in crazy fasion. With doing what we suck at. Can’t shoot? You better believe we are shooting 95% of the game. Can’t pass properly? Roger that. We are going to play a game with just passing, no dribble. Can’t cut? We are going to do offense with only cutting and filling. Can’t make layups go throught with left hand? Some games with doing only left hand coming in! We are going to that dark place and face our weak side, then we are going to come back from there with many lessons. Nex time – we are going back in. Lessons for life, young ladies. Break it down, build it back up – stronger, better, more complete.
Let’s get back to the quote at the start of this post. Parents tell me – they are getting better, they are developing. Yes, of course, because before that they were getting worse by winning. What? Let me repeat – getting worse by winning. They got to the point where they can win and then they went on winning all the time, at the wrong league. And every game won made them lose themselves a little by little. Well, at least that’s how I see it. I see the intelligence, potential, skill, natural ability. What I fail to see is the hunger. They have been in the easy game for too long. Nobody to kick them in the butt. Confused?
It’s very dangerous.
“Everybody wants some magic pill – some life hack – that eliminates the need to do the work. But that does not exist.”
– Jocko Willink
It all leads to this. It’s a false reality. Me, I am in this to teach the youth. Basketball is a very good platform to do it. Recently my good friend reminded me of the fact what it is – that it’s a parallel world. You can do much in it, you can be a good player. Heck, if you’re lucky you can even spend half of your life playing the game. For most of us – it all ends, but we will always share the love for the game. What matters is – what lessons learned in this parallel world we will be able to apply into our real world? That’s why I am here. Teach the youth on this platform. A tough ride. Hate me now, thank me later.