Saturday, December 8, 2012

Little Dutch Boy

NCC 83- Lake Forest 88
88 FGAs
51 Threes (12-51
42% ORBs
27 TOs forced
+11 Shots

We plugged one hole in the dike vs. Lake Forest College on Friday night, and saw two more spring open. 

Leak #1:  Our offensive rebounding, which has been a point of emphasis this week, was significantly improved, but this game we shot poorly from the arc (12-51, 24%), handled the ball poorly, and fouled too much. 

Leak #2:  We shot great from the foul line (21-26, 80%), but couldn't force enough turnovers (27) and fouled too much (24 PFs).  I'm hopeful that at some point everything will come together for one game, but this is very typical of early season System teams.

Leak #3:  In addition to our poor shooting from the arc, I'm concerned about those failed layup putback opportunities.  After the game I calculated our two point FG% and saw that we shot only 30% inside the arc in the second half!  Given that we teach our players to shoot only three-pointers or layups (i.e. inside the paint) we have to conclude that those misses were at pretty close range. 

Why do we miss what ought to be relatively easy chances like that? (I'll bet we are the only team in America with this problem right now!)  I can think of only two possible explanations:
  1. Lack of skill.  Against stronger opponents who can intimidate with their size it can be tougher to finish around the basket.  With all due respect to a solid Lake Forest team, this was not the case last night.  We know how to make layups, so what other explanation might there be?
  2. Lack of concentration.  This is the more likely explanation.  I've seen a pattern with inexperienced System teams of poor inside shooting early each season, and this may be due to the faster pace, higher adreline levels, or just lack of focus and discipline. 
On a related point, I find it interesting that when we are working on offensive execution in practice, our passes often require an acrobatic move on the part of the receiver in order to catch the ball, which might be thrown overhead, at their feet, anywhere but to the shooting pocket. 

Do we not have the skill to pass accurately?  No, it's lack of focus, the inability to concentrate on fundamental execution while learning to play at a new pace. So, as I remind players, "It's not good enough to just pass the ball in the general direction of the receiver!"  In other words, it's not acceptable to settle for sloppy execution.  Little things like passing and finishing layups make a difference, and require concentration... at least until excellence becomes a habit.

How do you solve these problems?  I don't know, but my experience has been that if you keep plugging the holes in the dike, eventually you either run out of fingers or you stop the leaks and save the town. 

So, keep plugging!

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