We're making small steps for a long journey...

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Ouch!! Korea 72-China 66...2 pt. shooting percentage 64%...3 pt. shooting percentage 24% (8-34)...We were 8-16...they were 18-27...We had a 14 point lead at one point in the 1st Qtr. and played Team Defense the best we've attempted so far...it was fun to watch the players react, they were active, their hands were in the ready position for deflections, we "pounced" on their overdribbles...UNTIL, we fell apart at the offensive end...My philosophy with this team to date is "value" possession, take any OPEN shot you have, but IF it continues to fall short, then we must move closer to the hoop, either by a foot or two or DRIVE...we did neither, but I am not worried nor upset with the outcome...Remember: lessons taught/learned is knowledge gained (hopefully)...So far, I have "baptized" each player into the "fire" of playing solid Team defense and verbally reminding them of such at all times...It is becoming so apparent to me and THEM, they are beginning to realize where they forgot to rotate and where they ended up not being in a help rotation position because they were ball watching...That mistake and acknowledgement by the offenders...err, defenders is accountability in its infancy and man oh man is it fun to watch them look at me after the mistake, nod and THEN make the correct defensive stop on the next possession...Now those are the "small" steps were making to my delight, and theirs of course, because they don't hear me shouting out reminders: "Hand in the lane...Push Up, contact deny...switch out with a hand in the lane...keep him on the sideline, no overtop penetration...The Koreans to their experiential credit and coaching staff, remained steady in their attack offensively, finally going inside on our perimeter switches and our inability to keep pressure on the ball with our active hands, plus NOT slip fronting the Post ups by their bigs, thus allowing a mismatch 1 on 1 advantage that favored them in the end...We haven't had enough practice time to learn how to implement a "GO" situation on Double Downs vs. playing behind the Post on isolations, BUT we will...Overall, I was EXTREMELY happy with the application and effort...Even Hic Cup overcame his "burpees" and played under control and learned from his mistakes at both ends...He didn't pass once behind his back for an entry pass to the Wing...nor did he overdribble and drive baseline to nowhere...Told him so, also...The one person that was finally "baptized" into our new philosophy tonight was one of our Team Captains: Cannon...He "chose" to not fulfill his responsibility on defense when his shot wasn't dropping from the 3 area, didn't make the effort on a turnover when he got trapped and threw it away, not once, but twice, and THEN chose to "demand" the ball in the last 2 mins. when we were down 6 pts. and the point guard called out a "team" play...Now, this was a "Kodak" moment because DT who was the "point" with the ball and was trying to run the correct play at the time told him to "go" and Cannon begged for the ball, forgetting the last time he posted up they sent 2 players down to triple team him and he still forced the misguided shot...To make matters "perfect" for me and his teammates what he didn't "do" next was provide me a wonderful opportunity to show him the bench, probably the first time in his CBA career anyone has EVER done that to him before...it was...Glory!! So he comes out, Cash (backup Big Forward) in, and "our" Captain goes over to the bench, pouting, upset and proceeds to kick one of the chairs over, I watch this not saying a word, and so happy to see this emotion come out, a reaction that his teammates "see" and realize that "Coach newell" really doesn't play favorites, he benched our Captain because he didn't play Team basketball..."...Now, I learned this move from Coach Phil Jackson, early in his Bulls career when he chose to go to "someone" else for the last second shot out of a timeout, that being Toni Kukoc over Scottie Pippen...It was an ugly well publicized "act" of demarcation and "team" defining moment...The play worked for Toni, Scottie sulked, pouted BUT overcame his personal reaction and momentary mental lapse on the bench when he spoke out to Phil and then to the Press, only to be humbled soon after and the rest of the story is that he went on to win another Championship with Michael and will undoubtedly be enshrined into the Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts...I remembered well "that" lesson taught/learned for future knowledge gained...and now, several thousand miles and many years later, I have the opportunity to apply it early in our relationship as the Coach and he as the incumbent "captain"...After the game, I had few comments other than "we're getting closer, and Cannon, you will learn that we operate as a team and that is #1 in all that we do at both ends...We will learn together, practice together, play together, and be successful or not together...our goals are simple, attainable but difficult to achieve if we don;t have all the players on the same page...When I accepted this position, I had heard all the stories abot how difficult it was to "get" the Chinese players to "change" their ways, habits and way they play the game...well, I disagree, I am slowly affecting how they understand what hasn't been taught, something Pete Newell has always espoused: "teach the 'why' to you players and that will lead them to a new awareness and respect for the game..."...He is so right, especially with this team right now...We have players who are "buying" in and speaking up, not just sitting back, waiting for someone else to say something...Believe me, this has nothing to with power or authority here, it has everything to do with how can we be better in a very short time than we were last year (11th Place out of 16)...Any "power" to be recognized, will be the team's resolve to collectively play the game as "one"...therein "lies" the power...I can hardly wat for our next full practice, so we can get into Traps: full court and half...I am really blessed to have had the experiences of learning under Bob Kloppenburg and my present day confidante and "DoJo", Ernie Woods...Together, they have provided me with the foundation and applications that have inspired my present day confidence in teaching Disruptive Pressure Defense...go online at Hooptactics and learn the simple templates for introducing DPD at any level...I'm tired, encouraged and looking forward to or next "Lab" session...thanks for taking the time to read my "blogits", hope you enjoy what I am experiencing to date...Coach tom

**Sorry for the delay on the Korean game and being offline the last 2 days...it was difficult to get to the hotel where they have WI-FI setup, and with our team's practice schedule and "other" venue visits, it was not to be...We are now back in China, arriving early this afternoon on Tuesday...I am really excited for our team's progress...We had an outstanding practice yesterday, Monday, Oct. 1st in Russia...We were able to really get into some excellent part method teachings, where I like to use combination Offense/Defense scenarios and skills that will help improve our "reads" on both ends of the floor...We have several players who dribble the ball like they lost a contact lens...slowly we're breaking those habits...Last night the Russian delegation for the tournament invited me to join them and the Supreme Commander, Asst. Team Manager, at their table in the Chinese Restaurant where we had our meals...The Team President/Owner and his Assistant, Victor were very gracious hosts...This tournament was well organized and the people were extremely helpful and kind...After we exchanged stories about basketball life in America and where I've been in this world, they both were extremely intrigued by my Grass Roots training program for youth coaches...So much so, that I have an "open" invitation to return to conduct one week's clinics for their coaches in Vladivostok...I am excited for the opportunity to share the "game" with a foreign country, all in the name of global peace and awareness...I AM blessed!! Okay, I'm tired, need some rest, as we have our "team" pictures tomorrow morning at 8:15am...Was told to "bring" everything that was given to me in a box that had the Jilin Tigers gear...Guess they're going to "shoot" several different shots with sponsor gear, etc...And let me tell you something: this gear is dynomite!!! I'll get a shot of this "parka" that they gave me and the players on the team...It took up half the box...Now I know why I was told 'not' to bring any winter clothes: they won't help!! But this parka, I think, was designed for the Sherpas, so I'm in good feathers as they say...have a great week...Coach t

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