Playing Back to Back

As the high school basketball season plays out in a condensed form this year, something unique scheduling-wise, will affect most if not all Wasaren teams. Playing a home and home series on the weekend with a common opponent looks to be a recurring theme for area basketball squads and it makes sense for multiple reasons. It also presents a new scenario for high school coaching staffs.

It’s a quick turnaround from walking off the court on Friday night and tipping with the same opponent in a Saturday matinee. At best you may squeeze in a walkthrough/shootaround on Saturday morning where you could highlight some adjustments you’d like to make based on the Friday night run.

Let’s say you won or lost in a close contest on Friday. No need to go crazy, but a small change or two might turn the tables and put your team in the win column, or keep them there.

How about if you blew your opponent out on Friday? Then probably the biggest thing a coach is guarding against is the team thinking the bus driver is the MVP of the program on Saturday. The thinking being if he gets us there on time we’ll cruise to the “W”. Probably not many adjustments needed if you dominated last night, but complacency will kill a squad and it can be hard convincing a high school team after a 20 point win on Friday that they’ll be in a dogfight in the Saturday rematch.

What if your squad dropped that 20 point decision? The Saturday tip seems to come even more quickly. Switch things up where you can but like we said it’s a walkthrough at best so identify three or four adjustments and play on the premise that the opponent will come in over confident. Keep it close early and you might have a shot late.

I’m sure many coaches on Friday night enter the fray not wanting to show their hand. The thought being, save something for Saturday on either, or both sides of the ball. Great in theory but if you have an opportunity to secure the win by emptying the tank, do it. Nobody wants to be like the baseball coach that saves his ace for the finals, and loses 7-2 in the semi’s.

Maybe on Saturday a coach will choose to pack it in the paint defensively and force their opponent to shoot jumpers, the premise being legs are tired in the second game of a back to back and those jumpers won’t fall.

Ok I need to stop now before I get carried away but those are a few things that coaches will have to contend with regarding back to back scheduling this season and while at times they may lament over it, knowing coaches as the competitors they are, I’m sure most will embrace the new challenge.

I’ll end with a disclaimer so to speak. If your playing a team that would beat you handily 9 times out of 10 any or all adjustments probably have a minimal effect on the outcome. Over the weekend I believe there were four home and home series that ended with three sweeps and one split.

But no matter. Coaches will still go home Friday night, watch the game film, jot down a few notes, get about four hours of toss and turn sleep, put their teams through a Saturday morning walkthrough and play the sequel hoping to stack W’s or earn the split.

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