With Stanford looming, Lady Vols look to cut down turnovers

Dean Lockwood remembers playing for a coach who used to ask: “What’s the best pass in basketball?”

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Comments » 9

johnlg00 writes:

The one thing most likely to keep this LV team from the Final Four is precisely their failure to value the ball. While it is easy to blame the passer for any turnover, Lockwood made a great point about players not being ready to catch the ball. About half of the turnovers I have seen have resulted from the receiver being surprised at the ball coming their way. It is quite possible that the passer shouldn't have thrown the ball to a player who wasn't ready to receive it, but if you are on the court you have to ALWAYS be ready for the ball to come your way.

While far too many of these turnovers have come with no discernible pressure by the opponent, they haven't always handled defensive pressure that well, either. When a teammate is caught in a double-team, the other players must move so they are in their teammate's vision and CALL for the ball. You can't just stand around when a teammate is in trouble. Post players need to do a better job of making themselves available for passes and then SNATCH it when it comes in to them.

Holly may have to tell the team, if not us fans, that the rotation is going to shorten up a bit, and that the players who do the best job of taking care of the ball in practice are going to be the ones getting the bulk of the minutes. I get the implications for team morale in sitting talented, highly-touted players for extended stretches, but the standard has to be performance, and any player who pouts over that may well deserve to sit until they get their head right.

MaxVolFan writes:

I said this over a hundred times the past 2-3 yrs. Team chemistry is important in winning a national championship. Yes its great to have such a deep bench to plug in fresh players to wear down a team but with this team theres no cohesion yet. It ok to experiment early in the season but now with Stanford coming up and SEC play I think we should have a starting five that plays at least 26+ mins together until foul trouble or the game is well in hand. Substituting too much just causes confusion IMO.

DroopyDrawers writes:

in response to MaxVolFan:

I said this over a hundred times the past 2-3 yrs. Team chemistry is important in winning a national championship. Yes its great to have such a deep bench to plug in fresh players to wear down a team but with this team theres no cohesion yet. It ok to experiment early in the season but now with Stanford coming up and SEC play I think we should have a starting five that plays at least 26+ mins together until foul trouble or the game is well in hand. Substituting too much just causes confusion IMO.

Can they play 26+ minutes a game. I think they have gotten used to 18-20 minutes a game and may be out of shape.

RLL59 writes:

Just my opinion. This isn't middle school. The punishment/reward system based on practice results hasn't worked for years and won't work now. Players become afraid to make a mistake and the play becomes tentative rather than flowing. Some players practice well, other are 'gamers'. Start the best 5 players based on talent and overall contribution, not based on the last game or practices. Develop cohesion by playing the same 5 players together. With the talent they have, I'm surprised Coach Holly hasn't tried two five person rotations. Let playing time be determined by how well a group plays together, not predetermined by an individual's most recent performance.

Something is seriously lacking in the Lady Vol game. Individual talent is far better than their performance as a team. While taking care of the ball is essential to success, putting total emphasis on the 'correction of the week', based on results against a totally overmatched team, isn't the way to resolve those problems, nor to prepare for games against upcoming strong opponents.

ModelMaker writes:

I think you all have made some very interesting observations. I think they all have a lot of merit.

oldster writes:

in response to RLL59:

Just my opinion. This isn't middle school. The punishment/reward system based on practice results hasn't worked for years and won't work now. Players become afraid to make a mistake and the play becomes tentative rather than flowing. Some players practice well, other are 'gamers'. Start the best 5 players based on talent and overall contribution, not based on the last game or practices. Develop cohesion by playing the same 5 players together. With the talent they have, I'm surprised Coach Holly hasn't tried two five person rotations. Let playing time be determined by how well a group plays together, not predetermined by an individual's most recent performance.

Something is seriously lacking in the Lady Vol game. Individual talent is far better than their performance as a team. While taking care of the ball is essential to success, putting total emphasis on the 'correction of the week', based on results against a totally overmatched team, isn't the way to resolve those problems, nor to prepare for games against upcoming strong opponents.

You are very, very wrong. If a coach does NOT reward and punish according to effort and results in practice, all the players will ease up in practice and, as a result, improve less than otherwise as individuals and as a team. If, on the other hand, the more talented players see their playing time become limited and given to lesser talented players who try harder in practice, they will - usually - put out more effort. If they do not, the coach does not want them anyway because they lack the competitive spirit that is needed and has a selfish attitude which destroys the team chemistry that another poster has noted is so necessary to team success.

One of the problems the girls are making is that they are trying to make the spectacular pass rather than the easy one. As it was once said, "the best pass in basketball is the one that gets there."

RLL59 writes:

in response to oldster:

You are very, very wrong. If a coach does NOT reward and punish according to effort and results in practice, all the players will ease up in practice and, as a result, improve less than otherwise as individuals and as a team. If, on the other hand, the more talented players see their playing time become limited and given to lesser talented players who try harder in practice, they will - usually - put out more effort. If they do not, the coach does not want them anyway because they lack the competitive spirit that is needed and has a selfish attitude which destroys the team chemistry that another poster has noted is so necessary to team success.

One of the problems the girls are making is that they are trying to make the spectacular pass rather than the easy one. As it was once said, "the best pass in basketball is the one that gets there."

I have a bit more faith than you in the integrity, maturity and competitiveness of these young women, who are among the basketball elite of their classes. The current approach, and it's not new this year, hasn't worked. There has been very little improvement or consistency by individual players or teams as the year(s) progress. How many Lady Vol players since Candace have lived up to their recruiting status? Time to try something different.

johnlg00 writes:

I like the suggestion made above, namely, putting together two five-player teams. The LVs have enough depth and talent to put together two teams that would likely be superior to any SEC team except maybe UK. If the problem is cohesion, then just tell them that the team that shows more of it, other things being equal, is the one that starts and keeps playing until somebody gets in foul trouble or just hits a relative lull in the game. However, very few coaches would embrace such an approach these days, and I'm not saying it would be the total answer, but, again, if what you have been doing isn't working, then try something else. The other school of thought would be, of course, that such an approach now might feel like panic to the players, causing them to lose faith in the coaching staff and themselves. The simplest solution is just for the players to get their heads in the game and keep them there!

oldster writes:

in response to RLL59:

I have a bit more faith than you in the integrity, maturity and competitiveness of these young women, who are among the basketball elite of their classes. The current approach, and it's not new this year, hasn't worked. There has been very little improvement or consistency by individual players or teams as the year(s) progress. How many Lady Vol players since Candace have lived up to their recruiting status? Time to try something different.

I have plenty of faith in them. However, elite though they certainly are, they are still human beings. And, human beings, like water, have a tendency to seek the easiest path. I.e. if these girls can play without putting out effort, they will learn to put out as little as necessary. Doing this will, eventually, lead to a competitive disadvantage against other teams.

No one, ever, should be handed something just because they exist, or because they are perceived as being better. Everyone should have to earn what they get.

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