Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Game Log 1/2/07: A couple of mental mistakes

Two small-school teams tonight, with two partners I trust. The teams weren't very talented, but were well coached. It was an interesting combination...watching kids who have trouble handling the ball running this nice back-door stuff.

It was a fairly easy game to do, and therefore an easy game to lose one's concentration. On the whole, the game went well, but I made two mental errors in the fourth quarter that show me that I wasn't cluing in enough.

In the first three quarters, I only remember two calls. One was a close blocking call that I feel good about...I had the defense all the way. There was another one where White rebounded the ball and Blue came in with an ugly leap and lurch towards the ball...and BAM!...she totally hit the ball. I held my whistle back. FOUL! FOUL! shouted the Red coach. Next dead ball he asked: "Wasn't that a foul on that last pass?" My response: "Coach, it was an ugly ugly challenge [where the hell did the soccer terminology come from?], but it was all ball." He accepted my explanation. I must have come to him with gravitas of some sort. It always surprises me when coaches listen to me.

Fourth quarter. Jump ball...White ball. I'm inbounding the ball under the hoop when my C has a team-control foul on White...before the throw-in. I get set to in-bound the ball to Red, but partner is having a long conversation with the table, trying to tell them to keep the arrow to White. It's a long conversation. Do I trust my smart partner? No. Do I head over to chat with him? No. What I do is I FORGET THAT HE'S CALLED A FOUL, and mime to have the arrow switched. Incorrectly. The throw-in hadn't ended, so the arrow stays the same. Next time, if it's weird, we come together.

Then, with about 30 seconds left, Red calls time out to empty his bench. As we start the game again, he says: "Can I have a second to wipe up this water?" I look on the floor...the water is right by the bench, not on the field of play. So what do I say? A damn lie that comes from my too-tired brain. "Coach, that's not on the floor, so we can play. If it were, I'd have to give you a T." WHAT???? It's not a T. It's a delay of game warning. I know that...so why did I say the wrong thing? Fortunately, I was able to run by him and say: "Coach, I don't know why I said that. It wouldn't be a T, it'd be a delay of game warning." He said: "Well, either way, thanks for letting me know." So that was corrected.

The game was smooth. I had two fouls--one player-control and one team-control...that, while I stand by them, I started looking at the play late. I was C in one situation, picking up a perimeter dribbler from T. She totally cleared the opponent out with her forearm...but I didn't see the play develop. Could it have been something else? I saw the forearm, but that's the first thing I saw. Nonetheless, since I was picking the play up at the rightful time, I suppose that's still my call to make. Ditto for a team-control I had as lead. I had the ball on the baseline in front of me. When the player kicked it out to the perimeter, I shifted my eyes to the big girl in the post...and saw the last 80% of a push to get a player out of the way. Good call, I think, but I'd prefer to have seen the whole thing. But then again, I had the stinking ball before that...it's not like I was looking in the wrong place.

So, I'm a little bummed about the two mental errors, but all that means is that the game fell short of perfection. Maybe I was tired after having to get up for work again after a holiday break. I'll try to get a little more sleep tonight...I've got another game tomorrow that might prove to be a difficult-to-focus-on game.

THINGS I DID WELL: I must be conducting myself well. The sometimes-snotty coach totally accepted every call I made, and every explanation I give...even when I'm not sure of them!

THINGS TO WORK ON: Mental focus late. See the whole play.

NEXT UP: A conference tilt featuring two teams at the bottom of the standings.


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