Excellent performance yesterday ladies. It was damn cold out there but we played well and deserved the victory.
Positives from the game:
- Reshuffle: I thought everyone playing out of their normal positions (Chloe, Hannah and Helen) were excellent in those positions. I didn't really have to tell Hannah anything - I knew she was a competent WD from coaching her last year but what I liked about both Chloe and Helen was they only needed anything saying to them once: Chloe, you were done for marking with your arms once and held your skirt when you were blocking for the rest of the game. And you were done for marking off-court once and didn't get done for it again. I spoke to you about falling in, you stopped, I suggested vertical jumps sometimes rather than leaning against the shot sometimes and you did. Helen, all I asked you to do was find your player on the centre passes and drive straight out. I shouted that to you during the first quarter and you were free for pretty much the whole match. I'll add to that that following the last match (and delayed Narsh ramble) I'd said we needed to think about mixing up how we feed Emma and have some lobs, some bounces, some short passes from the circle edge etc. We didn't even work on it at training but you could physically see Sharon throw the lob and then at the last moment, gather it back in and make a different pass as she could see the space wasn't there. There were one or two that were thrown that shouldn't have been but overall I was happy with Sharon's feeding.
- Centre passes: I think these worked well in general. Clare, I think the only thing I'd say about our centre passes is that if the WA isn't on we're rarely keeping hold of possession. Panic seems to set in and a ball gets flung towards Sharon at the end of the three seconds. Just be aware of the support behind you in those instances as well as Sharon coming forward for it. The ball doesn't always have to go forward and it's better for the pass to be a controlled one backwards than a panicked one forwards. Also, while the ball's with Emma or Sharon you could run back to the GD/WD and quickly discuss that you need support so to make sure one of them is coming forward and that you know which side the support is coming on. Overall though, I think you gave good passes to Helen for most of the game and it was very smooth and they didn't know how to defend it.
- Defence: I think all three of you (and supported by Clare and Helen especially) were excellent - we won (caught!!) some rebounds, forced good interceptions, supported the attack well. As I said earlier, I was particularly pleased with how we stopped letting them have two bites of the cherry by cutting out the penalties in the circle after the first quarter.
Talking: There was loads of talking all the way down the court - good encouraging communication and not just encouragement but sometimes it was shouting a 'switch' or telling people where to be or even shouting when someone's doing something wrong but in a good, well bonded team, players can do that and it's taken constructively. In a team where teammates are at each other's throats it can be taken as criticism and be detrimental. It definitely felt like the former to me and us being vocal meant they were quiet. Of course, in our team, there are definitely a few players who don't need a second invitation to talk;-)
To think about for our next game:
- Positioning: Sharon, I think there were quite a few times when you ran across the circle straight into Emma's space and there were also times when you and Helen or Helen and Clare were in each other's space. I remember Chloe shouting that two players were in the same place at one point. We need to have a look at where our teammates are before we make a move. I think, however, that part of this was Helen not being one of our usual players so really the aspect I'd want to focus on most here is the attacking circle. Emma, on a slightly related note, I think your hand should always be up to show your players where you are. You don't need to worry about whether there's space there because the player passing the ball to you will have the best view of whether the space is there. If your hand is up it gives your teammates something to aim at and it makes it a more demanding job for the opposition because they'll constantly think the ball's about to come in and it'll distract them from defending all the passes. Having said that, if you'd had your hand up for the whole game yesterday, it would have probably dropped off your wrist having frozen by the end of the game.
- Final quarter brains: In the last quarter when we were still building up a lead we threw two or three appalling passes. I remember one trying to be thrown into Emma from near the centre circle with two short options either side. I don't mind that if we're losing and desperately trying to get some quick goals to get back in the game but in the final quarter with a narrow lead, we need to look after the ball, work the short passes and force them to work harder to make an interception. They'll inevitably overcommit players and then we should be able to feed the circle nice and easily. Fortunately for us, because they were playing catch up they threw some silly passes as well and we turned them over and got few goals in quick succession and put the game to bed but it's not good for my heart!
- Attacking circle rebounding: Emma, I don't know whether it was the weather but I reckon you probably only followed your shots about 60% of the time yesterday whereas normally you follow all your shots and I'm left banging on about it to shooters in other teams how Emma Bush is the only shooter in the club that follows her shots and wins rebounds that she's got no right to win. Sharon, you're probably in position for a rebound 40% of the time which could be higher and, having got in position, what percentage of rebounds do you reckon you jump for? Anyone care to make a guess? I'd go somewhere between 0 and 0.2%. Even if you're not going to win the rebounds because you're little, going for them makes their defence work even harder and tires them out and gives you an easier job next time the ball gets fed to you. We shouldn't be making their lives easy for them.
In all honesty, I'm splitting hairs a little bit - the performance was excellent and there was little to complain about - Emma could have followed her shots more and Sharon could have tried to rebound now and again but actually, they both shot pretty well so it kinda doesn't matter! We could have been tidier in the last quarter but we saw the game out with a comfortable 8-goal victory in the end. All in all, as I've said before - if we continue to do the things which I'm happy about it (the four positives I've mentioned) and keep snatching balls in and competing I'll be happy enough.
Helen, thanks a lot for playing up for us.
Sorry I had to dash off at the end, my mate was waiting for me to head up to the Cov game. Shame really, I'd have enjoyed reveling in our victory after my C-team game littered with coaching mistakes.
Have fun in the snow,
See you all on Tuesday,