Last weekend we had our bid tournament and it was a disaster.
OK, let me qualify that statement. If it was as simple as, "We got our ass kicked," at least there would be some clear conclusions one could draw and act upon. However, it wasn't that simple. We dropped all six of our pool matches. Four of them went to three games, and 11 games were decided by two or three points. Eleven games! The only decisive loss we had was against the team that would go on to the gold final, and none of us had even the slightest expectation of being there anyway.
So while this was fairly demoralizing, it got worse in the last two pool matches, where for the first time in my career we lost to poor officiating. Twice. Blatantly horrible calls that decided each match, both by the same official. I have no idea what this guy was doing reffing a bid tournament, because he was totally clueless, and worse, totally ignoring the line judges and down ref. And you wonder why kids aren't confident making calls. The opposing coach the second match was very kind to tell me and my team afterward that we should've won the match.
Fortunately, we won our bracket match at the end, so we were the best of the worst in terms of finishes. It was just so incredibly frustrating to get close to a win over and over like that. Eleven games!
I can say without even looking at the video that I know my kids' intensity level fluctuates like the mood of someone with bipolar disorder. With all of the confidence I have in coaching skills and game theory, this is the area that continues to elude me. How do you teach intensity? How do you keep teenage girls engaged at that level for two days?
At least we had our "happy ending" with the last match. It went only two games, but they were 26-24 and 28-26, of course. As one of our other coaches put it, "They only remember the last match anyway. That and the team outings in between." So very true.