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Monday, September 10, 2018

Basketball: Lessons from an NFL Opener

Sports shares lessons as siblings share parenting. My sister and her husband generously took Ellen and me to Gillette for the Patriots opener. Lessons emerged.

(Margaret Atwood, from MasterClass)

Almost every game has ebbs and flows. So do seasons and even careers. But success finds consistent players and teams playing present and well. Fight off Dickensian worst of times with situational play. The Patriots punted inside of two minutes left and downed it at the one. Brilliant. In the "Hail Mary" situation, immediately Rob Gronkowski trotted onto the field with five seconds left as an extra defensive back in the Hail Mary Defense. The Patriots had seven defenders inside their own twenty with the ball on the Texans' forty-four. The Scouts model conveys the need, Be Prepared. Game over. 

Turnovers kill. Three out of four NFL games are lost not won. After a fruitless opening drive, the Patriots turned a fumbled exchange into a Brady to Gronkowski touchdown. Value the ball

Grow your skills; expand your role. The Patriots acquired Phillip Dorsett for Jacoby Brissett last season. Dorsett had deep speed but mediocre short and intermediate routes. He grew his route tree and caught seven balls for 66 yards and a touchdown. "Do more to become more; become more to do more.

Good teams can fail strategically. The Patriots often kickoff high to pin returners deep. Kickoff rules have changed, so coverage doesn't get a running start. The Texans repeatedly returned kickoffs beyond the thirty. Touchbacks return the ball to the twenty-five. The Patriots didn't adjust. "Do more of what's working and less of what isn't." 

The Patriots lost a timeout with a failed challenge. The Texans unwillingness to risk a timeout cost them a big completion to Rob Gronkowski. Saving timeouts can have merit, but failing to deploy them to stop momentum or make a substitution can fail decisively. As Jim Rohn says, "suffer the pain of discipline or the pain of regret."

The Patriots had a two touchdown lead with less than half of the fourth quarter remaining. A Patriot rookie muffed a punt leading to a costly turnover and Texan touchdown. There wasn't a play to be made and he had three Texan coverage members bearing down on him. There's a real possibility the rookie gets released tomorrow, as much for his poor judgment as for poor execution. "Discipline is more important than conviction" and "life is about the management of risk." 

Lagniappe: modified from CoachingToolbox

5 Spots in a Row Shooting Drill

We're too young to run this from the three point line. The shooter must make three consecutive shots to advance to the next spot. You have to finish by making five in a row (one from each spot) to finish the drill. In other words, you have to make a minimum of twenty shots. We're not consistent enough to do this yet. Move the distances in and see how far the shooter can advance in a set time (e.g. 3 minutes). 

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