Are teams ready for 2017 basketball season?

Hoops! with MWEMBE KAONA
LAST weekend, the Midlands Basketball Association kicked off the 2017 season. Their Copperbelt counterparts

started theirs a week earlier, winding up with the quarter-finals and semi-finals on Saturday and Sunday.
It brings to the fore great expectations from followers of the local game with the question: how ready the teams?
Ideally an off-season period should be characterised by preparations, and, in this instance how much preparations have the teams made with regard to the challenges ahead.
Have the coaches addressed themselves to their teams’ technical needs against what they accomplished last season?
I would expect that each head trainer together with his technical staff should have evaluated the team’s performance the previous season and looked at areas that need improvement.
This is something that is popularly referred to as going back to the drawing board which should have included gathering the players and assessing them individually then coming up with a plan that has the end in mind.
Naturally, the end in mind has the word success as the goal with all team stake holders on board with the game plan.
Players too must have had their own personal assessments and done their individual off season training by improving on their weak spots and polishing up the strong aspects on their individual game.
One coach once said if players walk into practice with the number one goal of impressing their coach, they will fail because they will make bad decisions, their focus will be on their coach rather than on the game.
He cautioned that, it is human nature to be turned off when you feel someone is trying to impress you but , if you choose to walk into practice totally committed to serving the team and giving a 100 percent toward that goal, your coach will be impressed.
Players should have individual goals that will add value to the team like vowing to be committed to training with the team and being committed to playing according to instructions, as a team player.
Basketball is a team game and can only be rewarding by a good team spirit and this is exemplified by the performance of the junior boys national team who by press time were playing their quarter final match of the 2017 FIFA Under – 20 World Cup.
Other than the technical bench and players having done their homework the buck stops at team management in fulfilling their own obligations such as sourcing sponsorship where there is need or tying up issues with sponsors in case of clubs that are supported by institutions.
Week in and week out when the league is in full swing there will be need for match fees, water, transport and transport to fulfil fixtures and also training venues.
At association level, we have not heard of any clinics for coaches and referees but this should not be overlooked especially that match officiating remains a source of concern. Have a blessed week!

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