Wednesday, May 4, 2011
BRASS TACK TIME
It is the second season now. We are indeed getting down to brass tacks and the time when it is important to have brass you-know-whats, too. We leave tomorrow for the RMLC Championships, which will be held in Grand Junction, Colorado this year at Mesa State. Our first round opponent in this lose-one-and-you’re-done tournament will be C.U. We beat the Buffs a few weeks ago at Invesco, but they proved during the second half of that affair that they are indeed capable of beating us, and I feel quite sure that they came out of that game with a great deal more confidence about playing us than they had going in. I feel like we not only need to come out sharp, but we also need to prepare and play like we are on a mission. The Buffs have both good athletes and some really good players, and that adds up to us needing to do and try some different things and combinations. We cannot approach this one as ‘business as usual’, but rather as a supreme need to be fresh as well as and on top of excellent. Our players know what they do best and what their rolls are at this point of the season. Now it is up to us as coaches to create the harmonic convergence, the place where the coming together puts the team in a special place where it had not been before. I love this time of the season.
Even though there is almost no way we don’t make the National tournament in Denver later this month, we very much want to defend our league Championship and punch our ticket to Denver as a highly seeded, on-a-roll team, and not to just make the field. In my opinion that pretty much makes failure not an option from here on out. We must think only about how great it feels when a team really finds itself and we need to become that team right now. We can’t think about the scoreboard, but rather much more about doing what we do.
NO TIME TO BYU BOO HOO
As was widely reported and amply recorded, we lost to BYU in Provo the other week, 8-5, after leading at the half 3-2. We need to learn from this game. The woulda coulda shoulda approach is wasted analysis. We did not lose that game because of one thing or any isolated moment. The sum of us was not greater than its parts that night, and that is where we need our focus to be.
There are many things to say about the events that night in Provo, but ultimately we have to score more than 8 goals and I almost view the fact that we gave up 8 to BYU as not altogether bad. What was bad was that we had the ball in our possession not very much, especially in that second half. We subsequently talked about missed opportunities and things like that when it was done. Well, the truth is that we needed to just have and make more opportunities. BYU owned the middle of the field and won the fight there in my opinion. Ultimately and to sum it up we did not impose any of our will on the Cougars, and when they saw that thing happening it fed their kitty and then the cat got fatter as the game went on. We played a bit like we were trying to not make mistakes. We weren’t becoming the life force of that game by exuding and using the kind of energy that would make the game our kind of game.
BE THE BALL
We can change that BYU or any other outcome by how we connect and by the pace we play at and by being smart. Simple success breeds unconfined confidence. We need to do little things well and make only smart choices. We need to demonstrate to our next foe that we can play and not that we are thinking about how to play. I am very big on body language, and I think it rings the bell on a team level, too, not just on an individual body. We have to make statements on the field that we can live by and with, and that’s how dreams become reality.
The old cliché’ is that the definition of insanity is when one tries to solve a problem by doing the same thing only more, or better, etc. Change must be the Chi to altering the way things ‘play’ out and that is what promotes and induces a new or different outcome.
We cannot play the same only better in order to find success in this second season. Other teams have scouted us well and exposed our weaknesses and vulnerabilities. If we allow the next team we play to expose those same deficiencies in the same ways, our season could come to the kind of quick and sudden death that we had to endure in 2010. No team is perfect and of course we are no exception, but if we seek perfection in the simplest of ways, that will be reflected on the field and in the game, and this team does have the ability to shine. Then the scoreboard, as I so often proclaim, will take care of itself. Team success almost always comes from wide spread contribution. Happy endings rarely fall off the reliance wagon that perpetually rolls downhill. A team must define itself every time they play. Expectations that one guy will do this or that is often folly. Preparing for and handling the unexpected is where the true life force comes from within a particular game, and again, the rest will take care of itself. So, I guess what I am saying is that I firmly believe that we have solid X’s and O’s, but we must find any potential greatness with and in our collective heartbeat. The challenge really is to use many to make A one.
I will say one thing, however, in terms of X’s and O’s, and that is that if we don’t clearly improve our clearing efficiency with clearly better thinking and script following, we will be cleared out of any chance of finding another level or a higher road this year. We must get the ball out of our own end well, and in a way, in order to do that we kind of need to get our heads out of our you-know-whats.
CATCHING THE BUS
So, I really think we are good enough to meet the challenges ahead, but we can’t just show up and expect anything other than the unexpected to happen. We need to make the simple plays with dogged consistency. We don’t need to try and be heroes. We do need to play heroically.