We had our first tournament yesterday, and we ended up placing third in Gold. Not quite the finish I had hoped for, but not bad. Since it was a "power tournament" we still get 10.857 toward our rank. I won't complain.
We won our pool, coming down to a three-way tie of teams that went 2-1, with matching game percentage, and it was decided on points. In that gold semi we just had a few bad breaks in the first game, and the kids kind of shut down in the second. They were clearly disappointed. For me, "disappointed" is probably too strong of a word, but I will say that I expected that they could pull through and win.
Now that I've seen them in action, I can start to build a more clear vision of what my expectations for the team should be. In comparing them to previous teams, they're certainly the most talented, and my initial guess is that their mental ability sits somewhere in the middle. For that reason, I need to figure out a way to push them in the right direction.
My assistant coach a couple of years ago used to tell me, "You can't make them play." My club director jokingly said, "You can lead them to water, but you can't necessarily make them drink." I think I've come to accept that to a certain degree, but I won't let it be a total cop out. Certainly as a coach there must be some way to get them to feel the same intensity that I do when I play. I haven't played competitively in years, but when I practice, I go all out. Teaching how to be that way is the most elusive thing for me as a coach.
I saw some little victories here and there with certain kids. I feel really good about that and hopefully my feedback to them made them feel good about it as well. I encountered two minor attitude problems, not show stoppers, but I think I can deal with those.
On a side note, I had nice chats with several coaches and officials, and got their signatures to run for the region's board of directors this year. I partly just want to get more involved, but I also want the region to have more meaningful and widespread discussion about the way our seeding system works, because I feel it's broken and inadvertently causing the cannibalization of local tournaments at the higher age groups.