Thursday, October 18, 2007

Prepping for a "big game"

So I haven't blogged in a while, mainly because "in season" i want to be cautious to keep my generic online coaching blog separate and distinct from my week by week and player by player real world coaching experiences.

As those of us in the women's club world wind up our regular seasons and our territorial championship, the focus shifts a bit . For those of us who are traveling to the USA Rugby Women's DI Club Playoffs in Austin next weekend (aka Sweet 16s or Nationals, and yes, i know its an NCAA copyrighted term), we start to think about the "big games".

We should all be at a point in our season where we are starting to peak - when everyone's really clicking but there are still some things to work on. We should know by now what we're good at and what we aren't and maybe we are thinking about our opponenents and what they are and aren't so good at.

So I've got a question for the general audience and I'm sure there are more than a few opinions.

Do you prepare any differently for the "big game" than you would for any other game, or do you treat every game as the "big game", or do you treat the "big game" as if its just another weekend match?

Specifically - how much new stuff might you introduce? Do you still work on basic skills, or is the focus on decision making, or perhaps team pattern play? How about contact - is it balls out in order to get the best preparation, or do you take precautions in order to keep everyone healthy? How many of you play a match the weekend before nationals, and how many take it off? Which do you think is better?

We are running two full sides most every weekend, so for us our match at home on Saturday is a "big game" too - since there is a roster limit at nationals we've got some players playing their final game of the season on Saturday. So to add to the complexity, there are two tasks 1) get the developmental team ready to rock out anyone they play completely, finish that season with a big feel good, and 2) get the higher level players as tuned up as they can be for our trip to Austin (and a big feel good). It's a huge challenge.

It's been a while since we've all dialogged so lets have some comments!


Em said...

I found that towards the end of our season our focus started to slip a bit and we needed to go back and spend a little time on fundamentals.

southland said...

I think the last few practices should be towards team play...if you don't have basics by then, you're already up a creek.

J said...

Agreed, Southland. It's the point in the season where injuries are taking their toll, and where working on discipline and togetherness will get you a lot further than beating up on each other.

chiefcua said...

This week is our Big Game-- actually our Big Tourney for Div II college women, and going into the weekend (we had last weekend off) we have worked hard on keeping everyone focused on team pattern as well as PERFECTING the basics. By looking at the things that we do well, knowing that we can do them better, we were able to fine tune a few things. Our first round opponents played a good level team last weekend, which despite the weather gave US a great oppertunity to watch them play at a high rate... mean while, we choose not play a tune up match, and allow our injuries some more rest. Taking the weekend off also allowed the players to really focus on personal fitness and not having worry about not "over doing it" because of a match on saturday.

We tried not to treat prep for this game, and the one on Sunday, any different than the games leading up to the weekend. Each weekend, my players know that a win or loss has a huge impact-- this week is no different.