So much goes into winning and losing basketball games. Coaches and teams prepare to the best of their ability, but sometimes the ball bounces in the other team’s favor. Wins remain joyous, while losses hurt for days. Coaches have a number of elements to consider in this regard.
Winning and Losing Basketball Games: The Winning Side
First 3 Quarters
Nothing should change strategically through the first three quarters, regardless of the lead size. The only change worth contemplating would be a slight shift in gears emotionally. Specifically, addressing any play or conduct that is only taking place because of the lopsided score. These play or conduct could either create bad habits in competitive games to come, or provide obvious motivation for future matchups against the same opponent.
Composure and Discipline
Avoid disrespecting or embarrassing your opponent at all costs. These mistakes in professionalism might inspire a comeback in the current game, regardless of how improbable. They might fuel future inspiration for many years to come, and possibly a lifetime rivalry.
Tim Hardaway once said that talking trash when the game is “nip/tuck” or when the outcome has yet to be decided, is completely respectable. However, talking trash when the outcome of the game has long since been decided, is 100 percent disrespectful. That’s because the main objective of winning has already been achieved.
Winning and Losing Basketball Games: The Losing Side
I can vividly picture the well-known TV Commercial Character “Captain Obvious” saying that being blown out in any sport is not fun. Thanks Captain Obvious. Although that is the truth, there’s actually a number of positive things that can come from being on the losing side of a blowout.
What To Take With You
A big one is being reminded of how hard winning really is. More importantly, how much consistent hard works it takes to win or even be competitive against today’s level of size and talent. How we apply these reminders to our team going forward makes the biggest difference. Physical, mental, emotional, and attitude adjustments must all be made at some point in the process to apply what we learn in the most humbling of defeats.
Many positives can actually occur while the blowout is still taking place. A great example is the freedom a blowout provides to give unproven players a chance to get some well needed playing time. They also provide time to experiment with new lineup combinations. The most important piece of a blowout for a team to take with them, is the memory of the blowout itself.
Embrace the carry-over, and every emotion that comes with it, good or bad. Mark it on the calendar, write it on the wall, save the tape, and don’t ever forget the feeling. Let every single second of that embarrassment be a driving force for future success. One of the greatest motivations for the joy of winning, is never wanting to feel the pain of losing ever again. Of course, that pain is just one part of the overall improvement process, but it’s a great place to start.