Back off. This is an important lesson that I learned during a coaches clinic years ago.
As a season progresses and a team is nearing playoffs, it’s time to back off. Really? Yes, really, but not with the intensity during practice, with time on the court. Brains and bodies are tired. If players were prepared properly, pushed to their limits and worked hard all season, then cutting practice time down will not hurt them but in fact will help them. The season is long, and often near the end of the season high school players are also dealing with finals, they need time to study and to rest their bodies. If you’re a coach, reduce practice time as you near the playoffs, but make sure to keep the time on the court focused and intense, optimizing your time by working at game speed. And don’t forget to throw in some fun to keep your players engaged, every player loves ending practice with a game of knock out or trying to hit half-court shots. If you’re a player, work hard at practice (no matter the length) and get lots of sleep.
On the court, and in life, we all have times when we need to back off and give ourselves a break so that we can be our best selves. Think about your life. Is there a place in your life where you could back off?