When I watch our practices, game films and when I scout I don't look at any of players and think "she just isn't trying very hard"...so that can't be it...
I have seen a lot of players score points without thinking that they were playing really hard...so that can't be it...
Every once and a while when I am scouting a game there will be someone on the court that just stands out to me. I don't mean stands out because they scored 30 points, but because their effort and intensity was so great that I noticed them on every possession both offensively and defensively. Someone that might make some mistakes but you can tell that each mistake is an effort mistake. On the rarest of occasions I will see a team play that has 5 players on the court that I notice on every play. 5 players that play with pure intensity and effort on every second without a let down. Regardless of how many basket makers are on those teams...those are the ones that I admire and worry about how to prepare for.
I like to think I am demanding of my players and that I expect them to do the right thing on the court all of the time. I want our identity to be a team that plays really hard. Every time I watch our film I am reminded of what playing hard means to me. I am reminded because I have two players on my team right now that raise the bar for whatever definition you have of 'playing hard'. Come watch one of our games and keep your eye on #32 and #22 when they are in the game. Don't pay attention to baskets or anything else that goes on for a few minutes...just watch how they play. You will find my definition of playing hard. We have a bunch of other girls that I consider close to be people that play hard all the time...but watch those two and you will see what I mean.
Those two players have defined playing hard for me...they have helped me learn what playing hard really means: 110% effort on every second of every possession, playing with a level of intensity that is noticed by everyone in the gym, immersing your mind, body and heart completely into every play of the game.
My goal is to get my whole team playing at this level...if we can do that I will walk away from every game (W or L) feeling good about what we accomplished.
So what does playing hard mean to you?
- Coach Zullo