This has been a very busy couple of months since my last post and I have some great news for the readers of this site. Ontario has proved that player development and hard work does pay off. For the first time in 25 years Ontario Varsity Girls Basketball has won a league championship.
In what has been quite a stunning turnaround, Ontario went from being a doormat in league to the top team in just 5 years. Here is where the team stacked up just before I took over:
After implementing a very rigorous player development program and working to create a system on offense and defense that would create success, I noticed that we were playing at a much higher level. Here are the final standings from this season:
We are now currently preparing for our first home playoff game in 15 seasons and hope to get a playoff win in the 1st round as we face San Gorgonio. This has been an incredible season and I look forward to continuing to see my team make history.
This is definitely a busy time of year. We have played 10 games in a very short amount of time and my players and I are all exhausted. We have gotten off to a great start with a 10-0 record to start the year. This is the best start at Ontario since the early 1990’s. At this point in the season we have played a fairly weak schedule but our confidence is now sky high.
Our work that we put in during the offseason is definitely paying off and all of the things that I have blogged about are working. Here are the scores of our opening 10 games:
La Puente 8
Saddleback Valley Christian 25
Jurupa Valley 53
South El Monte 24
Lennox Academy 10
Mountain View 40
We are currently in a week and a half period without a game and we are putting in some very hard work during practices. In spite of a 10-0 record, I believe that we have a long way to go to maximize our potential. By drilling down on defense and running to stay in shape, we will hopefully be more than prepared for our next game on Wednesday December 20th against Pomona.
My priority is my team so my next blog post will probably be in January. Have a very happy holidays and may the new year bring your teams all great success.
This was a great week for my team. The weekend had us playing 2 fall league games against both Rosemead and Fontana. We finished up with a short week of practices on Wednesday due to a pep rally on Thursday night. The pep rally was introducing all winter sports teams at the school.
The first fall league game against Rosemead started out a bit slowly with us out to a 2-19 deficit to start the game. Instead of losing my temper, I called a timeout and refocused our offense and tweaked our press break. By halftime we had cut the deficit to 5. By putting the focus back onto our defense, we ended up taking a lead and holding onto that lead for a 36-31 victory. I am encouraged by the fact that we held a very solid Rosemead team to just 12 points in the last 30 minutes of a running clock game. However, we need to be better to start out games and be focused on not digging a hole.
After a one hour break, we then played Fontana High School and had the opposite start of the first game. We led 36-2 starting out the game and were much more focused. After the huge start, I allowed everybody on the bench to get in for extended minutes and pulled off our press. Had this been a regular season game I think that I would have pushed a little bit longer just to ensure that the game was out of reach. This was a great opportunity to allow those players who probably won’t see the court as much to play a lot and get opportunities to score. We ended up winning this game by a final score of 49-12.
In practice we had a focus on conditioning for the first 30 minutes of practice and then spent another 2.5 hours on getting better on the court. Monday and Tuesday went exceptionally well, so I presented the team with a challenge. If they all turned in grade checks on Wednesday and at least half of the team had over a 3.5 GPA, we would have a light day on Wednesday. On Wednesday I found out that 9 of my 13 had a 3.5 GPA or higher and 3 of the remaining 4 had a 3.0 or higher.
Because of the excellent work that they had put in on the court as well as the excellent work in the classroom, I prepared a scavenger hunt as a team building activity for that day. We spent an hour running around campus to solve riddles and find clues. The team enjoyed the activity and also had a great time doing something different from the typical practice. It was an excellent week to close out the week and to prepare for the season.
We are a couple of weeks put from the start of the regular season and we have started to really ramp up practices. I am a strong advocate for making the two weeks prior to the regular season a very difficult challenge both with conditioning and basketball skill work. The reason behind this is that it help your team improve and also gives them a sense of accomplishment when they’ve finished what they have set out to do.
This week I had practice just Monday-Thursday but they were some solid practices. We did 30 minutes of sprints, defensive slides, and burpees, followed with 2.5 hours of basketball work. My team worked hard and did an excellent job of showing tremendous growth. As a reward, I gave them Friday off from practice which they were excited about because it’s a non-school day.
One of the best signs from this week was when we scrimmages against our freshman boys basketball team. In the past we have scrimmages this team and never gotten a victory. On Wednesday we beat them in two out of the three games that we played. The team is starting to really come together and I have come up with a fun team-building activity for next week as a reward.
This will be a very short post explaining a major change to this blog for the next few months. As I stated in one of my initial posts, I am going to put my money where my mouth is. I have implemented the tools that I have outlined on this blog with my own team and have predicted success for my team this season.
Every day will now be more of a journal entry keeping readers up to date about how my team is progressing both in practices and in games. Stay tuned for updates and feel free to send me any questions or suggestions as the season unfolds.
As you will read tomorrow on the blog, we are going to change the format for a few months. When we come back from the hiatus, we will be running a series of posts on different team concepts that will fill your playbook. Here is an outline of the different chapters of the series that we will delve into:
I feel like many coaches have a very negative viewpoint of referees. Since I started coaching in 2004, the relationship between coaches and referees has deteriorated quite a bit. If you look at the shortage of referees that we currently have, a lot of it can be traced back to the treatment of referees by coaches.
By no means am I trying to come across as a referee apologist; however, I think that we have a problem that exists in basketball that needs to be addressed. I’ve had games where I felt that referees did a poor job; however, I can look book at some games that I have coached where I didn’t do a very good job either. The point is, we all have off-days and it doesn’t help to have the mistakes magnified and to be publicly embarrassed.
As coaches, we are going to have to work with referees during games and it is much more effective to make this an amicable relationship. Think about human nature when you are talking with a referee. If you scream and berate a referee and you later in the game have a close call, who do you think they will make the call for.
Additionally, I encourage you to have referees help your team out in the pre-season. Invite a referee to come and talk with your team as a way to help players understand what referees are looking for and how to tailor the game in a way to avoid foul calls and violations.