Learning to finish a big step for teams
The Fat Quitters had a comfortable 15-point lead in their first round playoff game with the Clangers in St. John’s Amateur Basketball League division 4 play.
They built the lead with the help of some savvy ball movement, hot shooting and a bit of sound defence.
Everyone was feeling good and their formidable opponent was left scrambling. Then, the shots stopped falling, they went long stretches without a bucket and the Clangers crawled back into the game.
Players got comfortable, stopped getting back on defence and before the halfway point of the third quarter what was a 15point lead had evaporated into a one-point advantage.
It’s something that’s happened before. The Quitters — made up of players from the Trinity-Conception-Placentia region — had relinquished big leads before.
It happens. Guys run hot and cold during a game. The shots that go in during the first half, stop going through the hoop in the third and fourth quarters.
Some teams just like making things hard on themselves.
So, what’s the point telling you about a group of weekend warriors?
I’m getting to that. First, let me tell you how things finished.
The Quitters tightened things up, made their shots, found their defence and took care of the ball on their way to a 10point win.
Now, here’s the point in all this.
Situations like the one the Fat Quitters found themselves in happens to teams every day, no matter the sport.
Teams jump out to big leads and drop them. Sometimes they lose the game and sometimes they find a way to hang on and win.
The ones that can stop their opponent’s momentum are the teams that know how to finish games.
They’ve learned to re-focus and re-apply themselves.
Experts will tell you a team has to learn how to win before they can be successful. A crucial part of that process is learning how to finish games.
It’s not an easy thing, reversing momentum in a game. When a team gets rolling, like a boulder going downhill, leads shrink rather easily.
If that lead becomes a deficit, it can be next to impossible to regain the advantage.
How do you tell if a team has given up a big advantage?
Players’ shoulders slump, their body language goes in the toilet and they start fighting amongst each other.
Unfortunately, there is no playbook for helping players with this situation. You can only learn from having surrendered the big lead.
Cruising to victory doesn’t help either. Learning how to finish games only comes with having given up the big lead.
You can only learn from your mistakes.
Once you get that under your belt, winning gets a little easier.
“Teams jump out to big leads and drop them. Sometimes they lose the game and sometimes they find a way to hang on and win.”