Sunday, February 3, 2013

On the Other Hand...

79 FGAs
35 Threes
41% ORBs
30 TOs
+7 Shots

Like I said yesterday... the Olivet offense will never work! 

I hope you understand by now how stupid I feel sometimes, revealing my day to day thoughts in a public blog.  But any coach has experienced how much second-guessing goes into a season, and a career. My biggest flaw as a young coach was an inability to settle on philosophy or a system, which is why the Grinnell approach has meant so much to me.  It fit me in a way no other style ever did, which is what a well-chosen philosophy does.  It is not just a style of play that you select from among a multitude of pretty choices, like picking through the sale rack at K-Mart. A philosophy reflects who you are. 

It's no surprise then that it takes some of us a long time to find a philosophy, for the simple reason that we don't always know who we are until we grow up a little.  What I discovered while in the process of  growing up as a coach is that...
  1. I'm a risk-taker,
  2. I'm a non-conformist,
  3. I'm not particularly creative.
Result?  I finally ended up by coaching a high-risk, very different style that was created by someone else. A style I could adopt ready-made.  But being a non-conformist, I had to question it and tinker with it from time to time, just to show that I was my own person.  Thus, the struggle every year with deciding whether this or that System offense is the "right" offense.

Oh well, enough psychoanalysis.  We played our best game of the year last night against an Elmhurst team that beat us 97-90 three weeks ago, and the Olivet/NCC offense worked just fine, thank you, without any tinkering at all other than an emphasis on passing a little more, and driving a little less. 

We had 21 assists in 34 baskets, 41% ORBs, and shot well enough to win (43% FGs, 34% 3FGs, 71% FTAs), which just goes to show that when you play team basketball and shoot decent you can win.  So, although we only took 79 shots, reflecting Elmhurst's decision to spread and hold the ball in attacking our press, we forced enough TOs (30) and got to the foul like enough (25-34 FTs) to make things work.

I still believe what I wrote yesterday:  Defining each player's role, and putting them in a system where they can play it to the hilt, is critical to success in any style of play.  And Grinnell's approach to offense is all about roles.  But though it can be harder to identify and fill roles in an equal opportunity offense like what we developed at ONU, it's beautiful to watch when it all comes together.

I'll let you know when I change my mind.

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