Thursday, November 10, 2016

The things coaches say.....

Karen Barefoot
When Old Dominion coach Karen Barefoot first said she wanted her team to lead the nation in "high-fives and floor burns," - at her debut press conference back in 2010 - we smiled. Everyone smiled. Hey, it's a pretty good line. A little corny, sure, but pretty good.

Then she said it again. And again. And again.... Now, we're not saying that, in the ensuing six years, Barefoot has used that line more times than her players have actually given high-fives or induced floor burn.

It's probably close, though.

But we're not mad at her, especially when we consider the source. "High-fives and floor burns" is quintessential Barefoot, a woman who played and now talks and coaches with precisely the type of hyperkinetic enthusiasm that phrase suggests.

So keep saying it, Coach. We have your back.

That said, as we approach the 2016-17 season, there are a few phrases we’d like coaches to consider cutting back on considerably, if not dropping from their rotations altogether. Among them:

“Score the basketball”
Or its evil  cousin, “rebound the basketball.”

As opposed to, what, scoring the casaba melon? Look, there are obviously two extra words in there. If you just say “score” or “rebound,” we guarantee everyone will know what you’re talking about.

Who started that one, anyway?

“We overcame adversity”

To be fair, sometimes this phrase fits. Last season, for example, Radford lost three starting-caliber guards to season-ending knee injuries before the New Year, then a fourth - leading scorer Aisha Foy - in mid-February. So if Highlanders coach Mike McGuire wants to talk about overcoming adversity, we’re all ears.

Far too often, though, coaches pull the “adversity” card whenever anything goes wrong.

Down by eight in the second quarter?

“So much adversity!”

Kid picks up a second foul?

“Oh, the adversity!”

It’s to the point where the word has lost much of its potency. When coaches spew that word now, we’re thinking, “What, did someone chip a nail?”

Again, we know there’s real adversity to overcome over the course of a game or a season, and we have no issue with coaches pointing it out. But please, pick your spots.

“We’re young”

When you think about it, since virtually every player is between 18-22 years old, that line technically fits every team in America. Now, we know what coaches really mean is that they have inexperienced players in some spots. Well, how about simply saying that? “We’re young” is awfully vague.

Apparently, it can lead to confusion. At the Atlantic 10’s media day, the realization that Rhode Island’s roster featured 10 freshmen and sophomores prompted the following exchange with Rams coach Daynia La-Force:

Us: “You’re really young.”

La-Force: “No I’m not!”

Us: “Er, we were talking about your team.”

We’ll take the hit for that. After all, ask a dumb question….

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