Thursday, May 1, 2003
TIME, TIME, SEE WHAT’S BECOME OF ME
So, we are half way to next Tuesday, when we leave for St. Louis. Practices have had a good feel. These next few days are the only ones we have left for some ever-precious practice time. We will do as much as I can cram into the hours and minutes that we will have on the field. However much that is, it will never be enough to send me to St. Louis satisfied that I have done all that I should or could have done to prepare us. We will get on the plane anyway.
LATER THE SAME DAY
If there is a particularly opportune time to have good practices, then this would certainly be it. Today’s session was an excellent mix of mind-sets and body conditioning. They played hard, and I was feeling very much at my demanding best/worst. As much as I looked for problems, I could find little reason to be a bitch today. .
They ran, they did every drill I dished out (a lot of them), and they did them with passion, fighting to penetrate fatigue and compete at their highest capability. The defense was crisp, making the offense work for any and every thing. At the same time the offense would not quit either, and had its moments, too. They just weren’t all scoring moments, and I know we need more goals than we have been getting in games to date. Still, I think our offense is building strength right now. They are less discouraged when they don’t score or whatever. I am trying to turn that disappointment into a deeper determination for the next go around, which can easily come along about three seconds later if you just keep the faith.
A very important ingredient for this team’s offensive production is shot selection. We must not take shots that are easy for a goalie to save. PERIOD! We have been working on that in many forms, but mostly quick skeleton type drills. I place them right where I want them to be, in hopes of pounding in some memory, muscle or otherwise.. They must get to good places to shoot, even though those exact places are coincidentally exactly where the defense doesn’t want them to be. For our offensive plan this week it is all about making offense after we create fresh space to allow it happen. Creating the space is the key and the hard part, too.
Even though the defense had the edge today, the effort “on both sides of the ball” was the kind of thing that made this coach feel good. They and I are committed to every day and every moment on the field. Each series is a chance to get better individually and collectively. I know that sounds like a broken record (broken CD’s sound differently), but we talk about improvement every day. They do, I do, we do. It is not just something I spatter on about in here.
How a team functions can give it the power to elevate individuals. I truly believe this. I don’t know how far along we actually are, but we are trying like hell to get as close to our nuclear power potential as we possibly can before next Wednesday. We are not sitting around talking about how great it is to be going to St. Louis. We have the pedal to the practice metal and we’re screaming down the yellow brick road.