After two weeks of practice we have our first home scrimmage on Friday at 5 p.m.
The downside is we are operating shorthanded with injuries and illness depleting our strength (temporarily) from 18 to 13. Not that I needed to be reminded of the importance of depth in System basketball, but this situation is driving the message home again. I'm glad we had enough players on the roster to weather this storm, but we will still have to make some adjustments to the shift chart on Friday in order to get through the scrimmage.
One way to do this has been to have several players learn two positions. For a team running the true Grinnell offense this isn't as big a problem. Since Coach A's approach is to focus on roles rather than positions, he's better able to use different combinations. When a player knows that his job offensively is simply to defer to the "preferred shooter," that makes things pretty clear, regardless of who happens to be in your unit on any given shift. In the Grinnell offense, once coach makes it clear who those preferred shooters are, the various player combinations plug into that reality. As long as an offensive unit has a handler and a shooter, any three other players can play screener roles. Of course, defensive assignments must also be taken into account, which is why Coach A's players identify themselves by their defensive position, rather than their offensive role ("I'm an Interceptor").
One weakness of the path I've chosen to take with System basketball is my use of a more structured offensive set. Like the Loyola Break, mine has definite jobs for each position. For example, our 4 player is the low post, and that position requires a specific skill set. We also have more structure in our OB plays on the side and underneath, so when a player changes positions, she must also know what to do in the OB plays, too. Yesterday I mentioned we don't have many plays (quick hitters) or OB sets, but we have enough so that there is a learning curve there for the players who you might need to play in multiple positions.
Bottom line: We will have a few players in roles tomorrow that they are not very familiar with, so at times we will look somewhat ragged.
The good news is that we are scrimmaging an opponent who will--to say the least--be willing to run with us: ONU! We had an opponent cancel a scrimmage on us a few weeks ago, so we called Lauren up and asked if the Tigers would be willing to fill the date. It will be good for us to start out against an experienced System team, and I'm sure we will learn a lot!
Which reminds me of another story...
A Horse walks into a bar. Bartender comes over and says, "So... why the long face?"
This story does not illustrate any particular point... I just like the joke. :-)