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    JUST A FEW THOUGHTS......TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT

    Well, the girls basketball season has come to an end.   There were some great highlights and, of course, there were some forgetable moments, as well.  It is both, no doubt, that all the girls will remember.  I have some commentary, or opinions, if you will, regarding basketball and how it pertains to life in general.  Some of this may fall on deaf ear, but I live with teenagers, so I'm used to being tuned out.  Take it or leave it; I don't expect it all to make sense to everyone.

    I observed most all teams having a couple of "stars" or the "go-to players" and the other players the "supporting cast." Everyone's roles are important ones, however, if you expect to compete and play as a team.  What I have to wonder, though, is does the supporting cast know they play an important role?  Do they know their teammates trust they can get the job done, too?  That is most likely the job of the coach.  The coaching staff has to make sure everyone knows their importance and that they trust each and every player they put out there. 

    For instance, does the coach say to the player, "Get in there and do what you know how to do," or does the player hear/feel, "Get out there and don't F it up."?   Now, I'm not saying that a coach would ever actually say those words, but I bet they might make a player feel that way.  I'm guessing the player that hears/feels the latter might not produce, or even try as hard, for fear of doing exactly that, messing up. 

    Now, you're probably thinking, how does this pertain to life?  Or maybe you've tuned me out by now, but I will explain either way.  How do you suppose you would feel if every time you went to work, lookin nice in your suit and tie, and you sat down at your computer and waited for that opportunity to do some work.  You started off enthusiastic, but as time went by and you never left that desk and just sat there staring at your computer, you started wondering if you were going to get that work you were waiting for.  But then, finally, the boss comes to you and says, "Here you go, and don't F it up."  I don't know about you, but I might be intimidated enough to do exactly that, mess it up.   Will I lose my job if I mess this up?  But if my boss had confidence in me, and at times let me know that, I would take that work and do the best job I knew how.

    So as I watched the games, and I watched a lot of games this season, from A to AA, I often wondered what those girls heard or felt.  The stars always know their coach believes in them, that their teammates believe in them.  They usually don't have trouble producing.  But does the supporting cast know they're equally as important?  I saw many supporting cast players not producing; sometimes looking timid and unsure.  Could it be they don't feel they have the same level of trust and confidence from their coach and teammates that the stars do? 

    It takes a team to win games, and that goes beyond just your starting five.  Whether it's girls or boys, the supporting cast needs to hear/feel, "Get out there and do what you know how to do."  The game depends on it.

    7 Responses

    1. SOD BUZZARD Says:

      +1 like -1 dislike

      Good read Buzz, but I have to respectfully dissent a little. Most of the schools we have around here aren't big enough to have equally gifted "supporting casts" that can match the talent level or the composure level of the studs or studdettes of a team. Even our AA as a norm don't often have multiple kids moving on to play college hoops. In even smaller towns, one quality player can lead his or her team a long ways. They can change defenses and allow the supporting cast group to be able to excel. It's not often that one of those supporting cast is mentally or physically prepared to be THE guy or girl on the team, but that certainly doesn't mean they can't contribute at a high level.

      Louie had wingmen, but outside of Mellette County, those names won't be quick to the tongue. RJ Estes and Matthew Bartlett just don't have the allure of Louie, but they were all staters no less. In Winner, Skyler Kuil has been a consistent double double while doing the dirty work under the boards. He compliments Horstman well. I hope he garners some post season attention as well.

      It's OK to do your job, and it's OK to not like being on the bench. But are you willing to put the time into it to become THE guy or girl? Or do you just wish to be.

      Thought provoking post, nonetheless.

    2. BuzzKill Says:

      -1 dislike

      Sod,

      I agree that there are players that don't have it in them to be THE guy/girl, but my point was you will get a heck of a lot more from each player if they all FEEL like they contribute more than giving Sally or Johnny a breather. Not everyone participates in sports to go on to the next level. It was more the perspective of how can you get more out of the other players. In some cases it's Sally and Johnny not trusting their teammates and they feel it's their job to get it done. In other cases it may be the coaches don't design much beyond Sally and Johnny. In any event, it was interesting to see how one guy's thought provoked another.

    3. Birdman Says:

      "Are you willing to put the time in?"

      No more really needs to be said.

      The kids who don't look scared and timid are the ones who play all the time. They are the ones that should be taking the majority of the shots. A coach would be a moron not to have the kids that are truly devoted to basketball -- and make it look like second nature -- shoot, dribble and pass the most.

      A coach also has to boost the confidence of most all of his players at some point. In my experience it takes a pretty odd duck or ridiculously arrogantly, talented guy for a S.D. coach to have to reel in somebody's confidence. And if they're that good, you might as well let them think they're as great as can be. Most high school kids need a boost somewhere and if you're a coach you want to win, right?

      All coaches are trying to find the best formula for their teams' to succeed. Some coaches are better at it than others.

      But some coaches have kids that play all the time and don't look scared and timid, no matter who their coach is.

    4. Birdman Says:

      And I don't mean that in a condescending way at all.

      It is a truism of South Dakota basketball. If you can shoot, you will get on the floor. Granted, there is a certain baseline of athletic skill that is involved. If you cannot catch a ball thrown at you very well, you probably won't ever be a very good shooter. But if you can catch the ball, it doesn't matter how slow you are, how short you are, how skinny you are ... you can put the time in to become a shooter. Shooting is all about baseline hand-eye coordination, understanding and repetition.

      If you do that? You play.

    5. Think About It Says:

      BuzzKill,
      Also, there is a lot of really "stupid" parents who believe every word their kid says. Most kids who are told not to "F up" are very uncoachable and are reminded not to "F up" because they have a habit of doing just that. Players have to justify their lack of playing time and performance by "blaming the coach". "Stupid" parents, especially those that think their kids are Gods gift of basketball, buy into little Sally/Johnny's excuses. On the other hand if a coach has to tell a kid not to "F up", that kid should be happy he/she even sees the floor.

      If I were one of those "stupid" parents with this concern and my daughter/son was not a senior, I would make sure my son/daughter doesn't play next year because the coach and the rest of the team would prefer my son/daughter hang it up!

      For all those parents who want to run to little Sally/Johnny's rescue, you should get the heck out of sports. Selfish parents are the problem in todays sports world. IMO.

    6. justdoit Says:

      +1 like

      100% agree with the parents being a major problem in sports comment. The kids usually know their roles and they also know who the team go-to-person is. How do they know this? Well they are in practice everyday, they also know which teammates are going to the gym in the off-season, camps, lifting, running and all the other things that make a person better. And kids, believe it or not, know their own limits and abilities. The parents however, no matter how fair minded they think they are usually have problems dealing with the ugly green headed monster. And then what do they do. They pass this on to their kids in various ways. Bad mouthing the coach, other players, or better yet giving their child all kinds of execuses to use as to why they are not the "star player". Hey parents, why not be accepting of your childs abilities. And if nothing else, lace up your shoes and go out there and play with your kid. Not only will it be time better spent it may also help their game. And for the record I have been on both sides of the fence. I have been the parent of the go-to player and the role player.

    7. BuzzKill Says:

      I do believe, for the most part, players know their roles by the time they get to high school. They also are happy to contribute in any way they can. BUT......after observing many games this girls basketball season, it appeared some players weren't playing up to their potential, which got me thinking. Like I said, it's just a thought.....take it or leave it. There are also plenty of "stars" that play as though they don't trust their teammates, i.e., shooting nearly every shot in desperation at times. Well, not every game is your game. If you're not on, let someone else give it a shot. There's another thought......take it or leave it.

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