Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Dead Legs

Pace. Conditioning. Execution. Rest

Those are the four factors that every System coach has to keep in balance throughout the season, and last week we frankly forgot about maintaining that balance.  As the game was unfolding, I kept asking myself, "Why is the opponent breaking us down so easily?  Why are we having such a hard time in transition creating good shots? Why do we seem a half-step behind?  I thought we were farther along than this!"

Then it dawned on me.  We overdid it.  We came back from Christmas break, had hard practices on Sunday and Monday, lighter on Tuesday. Hard road game on Wednesday.   Moderate practice on Thursday, too hard on Friday (concern about our defense), walk-through on Saturday morning.

Result?  Dead legs.  I should know better by now and should have been more proactive in advising Michelle about the dangers of a long week.  Live and learn. 

But we all fall victim to the "More is More!" temptation at times.  We know how importance System pace is, so we practice at sprint speed.  We know how important System conditioning is, so we go full-court every day.  We know how important System execution is, so we work out too long.  And we know how important System rest is, but we figure, "They're kids... they'll recover."

No, they won't.  They didn't.  We were tired physically and mentally. My bad.  So I thought back to Gary Smith's passage in our book, Coaching the System (pg. 298-99) about how they kept things in balance at Redlands during his 132 point season.  At the risk of plagarism, I will quote that passage in full (oh, wait... can a co-author plagarize from his own book? :-)
  • Mondays--Hard practice.  Some scrimmage work, shooting, game plan in place.
  • Tuesdays--Strength training for thirty minutes before classes in the morning (circuit training format) followed by 25-30 minutes of shooting drills.  That was all:  no afternoon practice that day.
  • Wednesdays--Game day! No walk-through, but optional shoooting for those that wished to, prior to our team meal.  There was no pressure to be present, and many were not.  Then, game at 7:30.
  • Thursdays--Practice varied on these days.  Sometimes we practiced fairly hard, other times we did only shooting and skeleton work, and watched some video.
  • Fridays--Repeat Tuesday's format.
  • Saturday--Game Day! Repeat Wednesday's format.
  • Sunday-- No practice.
At this point in the year, if they don't get the System, they probably never will.  So if you've been overtraining, back off a little and see how much fresher they'll be.  And at the risk of being repetitive, I'll remind you (and myself) again of that old System truism...

Less is more.

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