Here are a number of our pictures of practice from Monday, courtesy of team mom extraordinaire, Lisa Berglund. Even though our season is over in that we are playing no more games, we still work out together first period every day until the end of the school year in May. In the Spring, I really try to focus the kids on two aspects of the game; offensive skill development and learning how to compete/strategize/win and the second is more difficult than the first. I heard a great coach once say that boys play too much and drill too little and girls drill too much and play too little. I agree but would likely change his use of the word play to compete. Although we rarely talk about winning and losing in regards to our games with other schools, I know that if players do not hate to lose, they probably will be relegated to the average zone for the remainder of their athletic careers. Losing gracefully and learning from the experience, that's another blog for another day.
One thing we do everyday in the Spring is have a tournament and post the results on the locker room door. I use online printable brackets and let the kids seed themselves 1-12. They are honest and do a good job and we can complete most of these mini-tourneys in fifteen minutes. Sometimes, we do timed skills and post the rankings. For example, yesterday, it was Left Elbow Shots One Minute. Believe me, writing everything they do down greatly enhances the concentration factor! One type of game we have incorporated is chase drills. We put four cones in a square at equal distances with a player/ball at opposite cones. They chase each other until one catches the other or one loses control of their dribble. We have separate tournaments for right and left hands.... and today we did it with two ball dribbling, a contest won by Chelley. Early this week, we divided the kids into four balanced teams of three players each to do the chase. The game was the same with the exception of having two players from two teams involved. Each game lasted until there was only one player or one color left. (Each team had to sit a player out but no player could sit out consecutive games.) It was a great test of going as hard as possible while maintaining possession of the ball and remember, players never dribble for thirty/forty seconds consecutively in a game. You can see some of the game footage above. The red team won the single elimination tournament.
As this team chase progressed, we found a dilemma I had not thought of: do you pass your own teammate? If you knock an opponent out, the next person in front is a girl with the same color jersey. I saw they were reluctant to pass their team members even though it was for the best because it was slowing them down and hurting their chance to win. You'll notice in several of the pictures that we are discussing the best options to come out on top. We decided that the best thing to do is for the slower teammate to drop out. But that goes against everything we teach in sports; you know, NEVER QUIT! But what if it's for the best to sacrifice one player for the benefit of the team? Can you justify that line of reasoning? Is that a legitimate and fair strategy? Sports and ethics sometimes are separated or conjoined by fuzzy lines. I once had a parent of a player of mine, a man who had played and whom I greatly respect, tell me it was wrong to intentionally foul when behind because it is willfully breaking the rules of the game. I did not agree but I had to admit I had never looked at it like that.
On our Test #3 yesterday in all of my classes, the students had to recite this quotation from John the Baptist about Jesus taken from John, chapter 3 and verse 30:
He must become greater; I must become less.
Of course, John knew he was the forerunner of the Savior and not the Christ himself but it must have been tempting to try and supplant Jesus when he had such a large following himself. John even spoke about it in the context of a wedding. I asked the kids if they could conceive of a scene where at the altar, the bride tells the groom he should marry her maid of honor because she would be a better wife/mother and give him a greater chance of happiness. They thought that was pretty funny and yet that is not so far from what John did willingly and prophetically. We're not good at that kind of sacrifice- I'm not good at that kind of sacrifice. I wish I was but at least my players are getting better at it. One dribble at a time. One cone at a time. One tournament at a time. One unselfish act at a time.
Applicable quote of the day, # 1:
"It's funny - nowadays people that are famous get chased by paparazzi. They have this fame, but they don't have the money to hide from it."
Applicable quote of the day, # 2:
"I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion."
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