Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The FUNdamentals of basketball

“They've just got to run up and down, open up the floor, use their athleticism and play some exciting basketball. It should be fun.” Mike D'Antoni

Writing again after a leave of absence it’s getting harder and harder to be excited about the matches and I don’t think it's just me.

I was in Chirk a few weeks back playing basketball on the outdoor court with a couple of friends and it was great fun ... roll back a week or so and we finished work, made the trek out to Llandudno, where we lost and then trekked back... it’s hard to find the joy in it.

Since I last wrote, the team has won a few, but lost a whole load more, and though we’re getting better, it’s just not happening fast enough. When you’re in a team made up of a group of old friends it’s a different feeling. The natural team spirit allows you to ride out the rough learning curve. I’m not saying our team aren’t friends, but as you see with professional football sides, if they get off to a good start the team spirit builds around that success. If they start with a string of losses however, the early shoots of that spirit get snuffed out before it has a chance to grow.

That kind of feeling lies heavily on a team and it’s a horrible suffocating feeling. Get off to an early lead in the game and the spirits rise expectantly, but hit the difficult patch in the game (and there always is one) and too easily the heads drop, as though it was only to be expected.

For me, I find the solution that works for me is to ignore the scoreboard completely (which has its down sides) but at least means you play each point for what it is, enjoy it and move. If you score or defend against them, great! If you miss or they score, it’s forgotten instantly, doesn’t matter - you’re already in the next point!

The sad part is that we’re moving in the right direction. Even the few characters I worried might pull the team apart have checked their attitude for the good of the squad and in little spells during the games you get glimpses of where the team is heading, surprising teams as we go on fast runs of points.

There’s not many games left in the season and strange as it sounds that’s almost a relief. Obviously we’re going to keep on working hard, trying to pick up game experience and wins, but if I’m honest I’m looking forward to putting this year behind us and putting in a proper off-season with the team so we can get ourselves into gear... something I just don’t think is going to happen going from game to game.

We’re all taking it seriously... but I think we need to find the fun in it again.

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