Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Joseph Campbell, photographed by Jeff Farsai
The special guest blogger series continues as we accompany Coach Will and the Jaguars to their big game on Friday:
POST TWO. HARMONY.
We may not have a gym, but we've got Harmony.
I had the team do two laps around the whole park to warm up. Cody R. started way after everyone and finished way before everyone. As they started the run, there were guys actually going in the opposite direction as the rest of the team. There was a wide, wide range of how long it took guys to complete this small warm up.
I pointed all this out when I talked about what I wanted the theme of today's practice to be: Harmony. It's something we need to develop. Something as simple as clapping in sync with one another is an opportunity to be in harmony as a unit. I asked them if they had heard of the word symphony, and then if they had ever heard an actual symphony: All the instruments in harmony with one another, adding up to create something greater than the sum of it's parts- depending on each other, and working together in a context where everyone has a part to play.
We started with defensive slides as a team, an opportunity to work on harmony right away. I asked for three staggered lines and they spent a good amount of time arguing with each other about the spacing, and then it took them a while for everyone to achieve a decent stance and remember to tap their feet. I had to smile. Finally, the harmony of screaming quickly moving teenagers had begun.
We reviewed closeouts with faster, smaller steps. We did the shell drill for rotations and defensive rebounding- this did not go well, giving up a ton of offensive boards. We reviewed the new offensive sets we put in yesterday, emphasizing that for them to work, we have to create space and not let anyone in our hula hoop while we wait for the picks and look for the cutters.
Building on this, I had everybody form one line on the baseline to work on flashing to the ball with some conviction. I explained that so many of them think they're open when they're not, and as a guard, I'd never pass them the ball. I had them flash hard, with two hands, and scream for the ball. Alex seemed to literally whisper the first couple times, and I had to make many of them do it again, and again. I told them the idea is to flash so hard and blatantly that the would-be-passer looks like a complete jerk if he DOESN'T give you the ball. They're having a tough time doing this, and I told them this is a big reason that the brilliant offenses that coach Rich gives them aren't creating more good shots.
We reviewed the sideline inbound plays, "Shayla" and "Mozhan." We also reviewed the 1-3-1 offense, which frankly did not look good.
We finished the practice with pressure free throws, and the sun was just about down at this point. You-know-who's lip was bleeding and he said he couldn't feel his hands, so naturally, I chose him to shoot. He air-balled, and then yelled about the 14 straight he had hit before practice. I explained that none of those will count in the game tomorrow, and he quickly yelled back that the one he just missed won't count either. Sometimes if you’re determined enough to be a victim, you will be.
Nobody could seem to knock down 2 straight so they to had run down-and-backs. I told them I didn't want them to worry about speed, I just wanted everyone to finish at the same time. It took all practice, and a few practice runs, but we finally got some real harmony. Watching them cross the baseline together as the sun went down, in a horizontal line spread across the entire court -- It looked better than any symphony could sound.