Last week our season already ended with BSW Weert in the Dutch Basketball League, (1st Div men’s basketball in Holland). The days after a season’s ending, as a coach you always make some reflections and an evaluation about your journey. As I did the exercise, I want to share some of these thoughts with the readers of my blog.
Well, we ended last in the ranking with only 3 victories over the season… So this could be a very short evaluation, no? Well, maybe not. But if you evaluate a player, a coach or a team only based upon whether he wins or not today, you can stop reading right here.
The season of BSW Weert was generally known as a challenge. Due to two consecutives bankrupties of the capital sponsor, the club has by far the lowest budget of the DBL. The difference with for example title contender Donar Groningen is huge. Donar is a team with a budget which is estimated more then 10 (!) times the budget of BSW Weert and has 7 imports (4 USA + 2 naturalized USA/CAN + 1 CRO). Weert has no import players at all (allthough we could add the Belgian Thomas Dreesen as an “import” in January). But also for example the second last team in the ranking, Aris Leeuwarden, plays with three American imports. Therefore, before the season we kept on repeating that we wouldn’t measure the success of this season by the number of victories in the DBL.
Our championship started with a game on the road against Donar Groningen, who also competed in the FIBA Cup. The game ended with a historic 122-57 blow-out… Probably I do not have to sketch our moral after this opening loss to anyone who ever has been part of such a loss as a player or coach. One of our last games of the season, we played again Donar, a game which was important for them to capture the first spot of the regular season. The game ended 95-98 … with a buzzer 3 pt shot of Groningen in overtime… Close, but no cigar!
Well, you are absolutely right, in sports everything can happen and these surprises make our sports so exciting to watch. One can definitely not evaluate a season based upon the result of one single game.
So, I will look to another way to evaluate our season, in order to check whether we reached our individual and collective goals.
As for the collective progression, let us compare the result of our 5 last games, compared with our first games played against the same teams, which I think is quite remarkable:
I do respect ALL of my players because of the way they kept on working hard this season in very difficult circumstances. By sticking together as a team and continous hard work on a daily base, they kept on growing. I know a lot of other examples where the lack of victories resulted in a misery season which turned out to be lost time for everybody.
As for the individual progression, the focus of the club was on a couple of young talented players on the roster, which are possibly the future of the club. Let me focus on three young talents on the team who didn’t play in the DBL last season and see how they had a huge role on the team during the final part of the season:
Does this mean that in any way that I can be satisfied with this season? Hell no!! Definitely NOT! I’m a winner and one can only be happy or satisfied with a season when results (short term) are combined with individual and collective progression (middle long term). But I can say that this season has been by far the most instructive in my evolution as a coach and I am more ambitious than ever to convert this experience into successes!
Making an evaluation, also means looking to the future. From my very first meeting with the club – the manager and president – when I accepted the challenge of BSW Weert for 2015-2016 (1y contract), I made it clear to be interested to build a program and a plan for several years, on the absolute condition that the club had to grow on all levels in order to become a worthy D1 club: staff, staff support, medical staff, budget, fan base, collaboration with the youth academy, equipment, … This past season the poor financial situation of the club even got worse, which blocked any improvement of the conditions around the court. The future of the club looks uncertain today (where the decision to start in D1 next season has been postponed), which means that I keep my eyes open for other projects with a better perspective to build a program over several years.
iBasketball TV – Episode 23
Thanks for the compliments and I completely understand your funny laughs at the end about the upcoming match-up with Donar, and I would have loved that the buzzer shot had fallen on the other side in our overtime loss… 🙂
Game 3, Den Bosch SPM Shoeters vs BSW Weert, 15/10/2015
Game 26, BSW Weert vs Donar Groningen, 5/4/2016