This is the latest in a series of blog posts by Wentzville Liberty Boys Basketball Coach Chip Sodemann as the team begins its first year as a varsity program. You can find other posts here.
Learning how to win
“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor”. I am not sure where I heard this saying but it sums up how our return from Christmas break has been. We opened the new year in the First Annual Warrenton Winter classic as the 6th seed. We lost our opening round game to the host school and followed that up with a tough defeat to Hannibal down the stretch. We rallied and beat Barat academy to finish 7th.
Each day at practice, we usually start with a few general comments or a “thought of the day”. It seems as if the reoccurring theme this year is the “growing process”. I believe that learning how to win is as much an attitude as it a skill. For all the practice on shooting, passing and reviewing plays, players must have a will to execute and the confidence to embrace making a play in the clutch. Part of our “growing process” is learning how to win. Our last 2 games we have seen it from both sides of the ball. On the road at Seckman we were down as many as 16 in the second half and battled all the way to cut it to 3 with the ball and 1:30 left on the clock. A series of turnovers and offensive rebounds given up on missed free throws allowed Seckman to survive for victory on their home court. The next night at home against Warrenton, we played a decent half of basketball and saw ourselves up 8 at halftime. The second half was a back and forth battle and again had some offensive mistakes and defensive lapses at crucial points in the game that allowed Warrenton to escape with a victory. Our ability to calmly make a free throw under pressure or box out a bigger player and secure a defensive rebound when the game is on the line shows that a player is “in the moment”. They are not worried about anything else but what is happening that very moment; not a past mistake or a future play. You are able to play in the moment when you have been there before. For most of our guys, we have not; until now.
One of the parts in learning how to win is learning how to lose. The mood in the locker room was one of disappointment, not so much from the loss itself but the fact that we were right there. My hope is that sooner than later we can take these recent disappointments and learn how to win.
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