Anchor Week Wrap Up: It's All About The Team

Plymouth freshmen basketball highlights from this years team Anchor Week.

What a week!

It was a good week for our team and myself to begin some great work for the season. Yesterday brought a day where we did basketball combine testing on the players to gauge where they were athleticism and skills wise.  Testing is vital as it helps see where we are at. Numbers don't easily lie and it was also good to see how players responded to be tested. While physically it was the lightest day of the week it was a good help to the legs after playing in two tight games the night before. 

Today being the last day I wanted to go out with a team centered focus. Complimenting the individual aspect of yesterday I thought it was right. The great quote from legendary Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler was used for our quote of the day. "THE TEAM, THE TEAM, THE TEAM" is what he said and it was important for players to hear that the team is what mater most, more than me or anything else. I wanted to put guys in a position to work on their team cohesiveness without having a necessary focus on the X and O's of basketball. So what we did was a little unconventional.

We lifted aluminum benches. Not super heavy mind you and thats what players thought...but if you have to hold that bench for long somehow it adds weight. We took off for a walk making a few stops along the way to do shoulder presses, squats (as a group), and overhead holds. One stop we made was going through the balcony of the main gym. We only used this gym once this week on purpose. That gym is special and you don't just get to go in their as a freshmen, you earn it. I reminded them of that and in some words alert them that to get to that floor you must develop your team now. Looking over into the dimly lit thousand seat gym I hope thoughts of great things ran through their heads. We didn't stop there. We made our way back down stairs which was a great thing because I got to see which guys were going to step up and take action. Who would take charge and organize the awkward movement (see Ross in the Friends episode with the couch). With two groups it was also to see the dynamic of what group two did after seeing group one go ahead of them. TEAM. We took the traveling benches out to the football field. Going to the field group two who was behind started talking to each other. One players said of the other group "Hey they have guys on each side of the bench". Observant outlook. Another player commented that "Yeah, they're smart". With teams of all types we need to take this example. First spread the load evenly, you can be more efficient and extend longer. Second, we often are so quick to point out our flaws and why were can't measure up to others. That serves no purpose. 

Getting to the field was a setup to run. Sorry not sorry. In a quick use of the time we did a four corner drill mixed with a few hundred yard sprints. The 100 number, as I loudly yelled at 6:45 in the morning, represents the distance our TEAM must go to complete whatever it is we are pursuing. Going 99 yards all out is great, but doesn't complete the job for the TEAM's sake. If you are going to just sprint 99 yards and coast the final three feet you might just as well jog from the get go. The TEAM needs everyone's best. We finished and picked our benches to go back to the gym, but I hope the lesson struck at least one player. 

TEAM aspects were mixed into our basketball work for the day and got us better. Perfect passing was introduced and we failed at it for the first 4-5 attempts. Here we wanted 30 seconds of perfect passing mixed in with the correct rotation and movement.  We must communicate and move as one group of separate individuals. Yes that's what I said. Basketball, teams games, business groups all have the same destination in mind with purpose. Those parts that make the sum however have different functions and places they must go sometimes to get to that destination.   Basketball teams have plays where everyone has a purpose and specific movement they must perform to make the TEAM outcome the best it can be. This drill which took maybe eight minutes of our morning was what we really needed to learn from. Shooting, passing, ball handling work aside this was the big thing today. 

With all the work we had done this week there is always one final thing you have to do to cap it off. Everyday we had an opponent. No not a literal opponent who came and played us, but one of our teams in the NLC that we have to play for the conference crown. The challenge was to work hard enough in every drill, rep, sprint to beat that team. Great thing about this is it has solely been on the players to decide that for themselves. Today was a special day. It was Warsaw day. The rival in our conference. The team you want to beat. Coincidence it was saved until Friday...? The final work we had to finish on this last day of Anchor Week was a set of sprints that every TEAM member had to pass to beat Warsaw. We had a certain sprints paired with times that the sprint had to be finished in for each quarter of a game. We narrowly made it through to the 4th quarter. Guys were picking each other up knowing what was on the line. Music blaring so loud I'm not sure if they heard my yelling. The 4th quarter was five down and back in a little over a minute. They responded. But just when you think you've done it there's more. Overtime! Just one sprint to win in overtime. Our TEAM won. Big team breakdown and excitement. 

Anchor Week 2018, done. 

Moving forward it will be interesting to see how this group responds. We have the choice to either rise up and keep elevating or just go back to where ever we were prior to this week. The TEAM needs everyone to buy in, remember that.