One word "GUTTED"
It has taken me a few days to get the strength to write this report, quite frankly I was pretty gutted Sunday night, and needed a few days to get some clarity and perspective.
Our focus has been very much around building consistency; our physical and mental preparation, pre-game match routine and warm up and daily training environment. It’s like we have all the pieces of the puzzle sitting on the table, but we just can’t quite put it together.
Post- game the girls provide me with feedback and reflection immediately after the match in their communication books. I like them to do it straight away, because often it is very raw and honest. Over the next day or two, before training, I respond with my own perspective. Last night at training, I just wanted to sit with them all individually for 5 minutes and work through both our perspectives on their game. It is interesting, because at times it doesn’t seem like we were a part of the same game.
The planned 5 minute chat turned into 20 minutes for some. I love it that we can talk openly and honestly, and have mutual respect in our discussion.
The common thread though was disappointment that they all know we are capable of so much more. We need to refocus how we are going to get those puzzle pieces locking into place. Once we can overcome that, I believe we are as good as any team in the competition.
I have talked in previous articles about my emotional attachment to my players. I don’t have an ego when it comes to this. If we lose, and we were simply outclassed by better players and a better team, I can accept that. But when we lose by not putting our best foot forward, I take it to heart. I can’t change who I am or how I feel; I just hope that my passion and belief in the girls inspires them. I personally feel in the Wildcats game, we were fearful of making mistakes. We hesitated with our ball so many times, instead of having faith in our delivery. Maybe one poor pass or decision impacted on the release of the next 5 or 6. We have to take risks, we can’t fear making mistakes – I feel they have been preparing well in building trust and rapport on court so it will come naturally for us. Every mistake, as long as we recognize and are accountable, we will learn and grow from.
For us, my pick for best on court this week was Kalei Brighton. I wish we had Nissan Net Points on this game, Kalei would have blown the roof off! She contested hard, had great position, pulled in some amazing rebounds and cleared well in attack. Her best game yet!
Wildcats WD Sarah Morton was absolutely outstanding. The amount of ball she turned over killed us in that mid court. She really wore down our mid court and we didn’t adjust our initial movement, use of front cuts or utilize our fakes to draw her off. This is something we will look at and keep working on strategy to play smarter against this style of player.
All in all, we move forward as we always do. We know in our hearts we have got the goods, our minds just need to come to the party.
We have a weekend of coming up, we will clear our minds ready to take on the Thunder.