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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Really Playing Well

Many years ago, I had a parent who was not easy to please. He was not happy with how we were doing and certainly not happy with how I was coaching. (This was not the first or last time there has been an unhappy parent.)

Toward the end of the year, another coach at GHS ran into the unhappy parent. According to the other coach, "He says you guys are really playing well." The compliment was surprising, and the assessment was interesting.

We were a little below .500 that season, but we had won something like 4 games in a row. Thus the comment that we were "really playing well," would seem appropriate. It just happened the end of our schedule included games vs. four teams who were all well below .500- Canton, Macomb, Quincy, and Monmouth. Today only Quincy is even still on our schedule.

Were we indeed "really playing well?" Not really, but we were indeed playing teams who were not very strong that season.

What made me think about this?

At the beginning of this season, we lost games with Washington, Queen of Peace, Bloomington, and Normal West on the non-conference schedule. We added New Trier, Jacksonville, Maine South, and Manual. New Trier, Jacksonville, and Maine South all have 6'3"+ centers being recruited on DI level. Knowing the strength of these teams, I realized our record might not be as good as the year before. I told our players in the summer we would have a tougher schedule, and I would not have done it if I didn't think they had the toughness and maturity to handle it.

At the end of the year, I had poorly set up our schedule. We had a stretch which included:
Normal U-High- #12 in 3A
Morton- #6 in 3A
Rock Island- #6 in 4A
UTHS- 2nd in WB6
New Trier- article in Tribune about their "hot second half"

We lost all 5 of these games. I don't list them to say, poor poor Galesburg, or as an excuse for losing. But I mention who we played down the stretch to say we were playing very good teams.

Years ago, when we were playing easy games, some saw it as we were "really playing well." This year when the coach set up a poor sequence of games vs. tough teams, it would have been very easy to say we "really are playing poorly."

The reality is we lost 5 games in a row. But I don't think anyone in Western Illinois challenged themselves with a stretch like this, and for that matter this season.

It would wear down teams if they are not tough. I really think it has just made our players tougher and more committed. Looking forward to the tourney!!

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