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Practice Players vs. Game Players

Discussion in 'Colorado Football Message Board' started by AlferdJasper, Feb 26, 2010.

  1. AlferdJasper

    AlferdJasper Well-Known Member

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    Watching the Olympics, there are a few athletes who have done much better competing than they were expected to do from watching their practices.

    I've heard football players also say that some guys practice "fine" ... they do what is asked of them, and put forth the effort ... but they have a different energy on game days.

    With all the emphasis from coaches on how well our guys practice, do you think the staff is aware that some guys simply go into a different gear on game days, whether it's adrenaline or whatever? Just as there are some guys who practice really well, but get the equivalent of stage fright or something and do worse during games than practice would indicate.

    I'm not sure I'm articulating this well. But shouldn't our coaches consider both options: that some guys are "game day" players who somehow step it up when it counts? I know practicing hard matters, and it SHOULD matter, but aren't there players who go above and beyond and excell during games that don't show as well during regular practices?

    ... and I'm not talking about anyone in particular, just wondering if we are leaving some guys on the bench because their less-talented counterpart does something at practice that gets rewarded with PT.
     
  2. sackman

    sackman Club Member Club Member

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    I definitely think there's something to it. From my personal experience, I was a fantastic baseball player in practice. I could hit the freaking ball all over the place. I could field and throw with accuracy. When it came time to play in the game, I would get a knot in my stomach and I'd get nervous and would play like crap. It happened every time. I didn't make it far in high school baseball.
     
  3. AlferdJasper

    AlferdJasper Well-Known Member

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    And didn't you know a few players who were just average, or went through the motions in practice, but when it came to game day ...they were totally different people?

    I do.
     
  4. dio

    dio Admin Club Member Junta Member

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    Definitely something to it. I'm a mediocre hockey player. I'm not terrible, but I'm nothing special.

    Yet, when their are high-pressure games or situations, I always seem to play at a higher level and make that spectacular pass or get the last second goal.
     
  5. AlferdJasper

    AlferdJasper Well-Known Member

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    I wasn't thinking of this when I started this post, but it just occurred to me:
    wasn't Ballenger told it was a two-man race at QB (Cody vs. Tyler) BEFORE the spring game last year?

    They based their decision on practices and not even a psuedo game?

    And I know there are a couple guys who we keep hearing: they do GREAT in practice, it just has to translate to games. They get chance after chance.
    But why don't the coaches see it vice versa? That some guys are just 100% present on game day that cannot dig up the same attitude during practices?
    I'm not talking about slacking during practices, but those players who find some other level of ability when it really matters.

    If you are Jenny Barringer, and you have some amazing kick when you are racing, as opposed to practicing, it works. But if you are a football player, the coaches have to figure this out, and I just think they need to scrimmage more before they set the depth chart from how hard a guy works at practice. I don't know ... something about this bugs me.
     
  6. ScottyBuff

    ScottyBuff Well-Known Member

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    I was the exact opposite. I love baseball practice, but never took it seriously. I just could not get that "gear" unless it mattered. I got lucky as our team was fairly thin so I got on the field early and didn't have to worry about losing my spot the rest of the way.

    To me, it would have been better to play a game in practice than do BP and station drills. But, I guess that is why I "peaked" in HS and couldn't get a walk-on spot even to help in practice in college!
     
  7. zbuff

    zbuff Club Member Club Member

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    I agree this is a real phenomena, but it's hard to find out because you want your best players on the field and you only find that out in practices and scrimmages. You can't run everyone in for a serious look in a game. Ballenger is a good example for this, too - he never really got much game time. If I remember right, in scrimmages he would make good decisions but throw the ball short. Maybe that could have been fixed...
     
  8. buffs04

    buffs04 Well-Known Member

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    I think all of this is part of Hawkins' coaching philosophy. And I think it has cost this team... dearly.
     
  9. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    One thing I can say in praise of Hawkins system of rotating a lot of guys is... if a guy knows his assignments (at least for a group of plays) and is physically ready, he'll get a chance to show what he can do in a game environment. Players certainly win jobs and earn snaps during practice, but guys don't seem to get buried on the bench here.
     
  10. BuffNut99

    BuffNut99 Club Member Club Member

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    I always felt Patrick Williams was one of these guys - great in practice, stone hands on Saturday.
     
  11. KingPants

    KingPants Club Member Club Member

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    :iagree:

    I think that Coach hawk thinks that by rewarding those that practice hard every day (Espinosa, Stevens, Cody...) he will inspire those that do not (possibly Scott, Simas...) to work just as hard. Becuase a 5 star talent that is a super hard worker will be a superstar. But that is not reality. What he is doing by playing these overachievers is just pissing off our better players, hurting our recruiting, and losing games.
     
  12. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    What do you say to the reports that guys like Josh Smith and Kendrick Celestine never developed good work habits because playing time was handed to them out of desperation despite their poor effort in practice? Or reports that Darrell Scott was handed a starting job 2 years in a row despite being out of shape and not knowing his assignments?

    This is one criticism of Hawk that I see repeated all the time (he doesn't play his best players if they're not lunchpail practice guys), and it simply doesn't hold water for me when I look at the facts. I'm just glad that we've finally got enough talent, depth and veterans so that Hawk is not forced to make decisions between giving snaps to either an under-talented walk on who does everything right and knows his assignments or an athletically-gifted prospect who isn't learning his playbook and hasn't developed the work ethic/practice habits that will be necessary if he's ever going to reach his potential or have his teammates be confident in him. To me, nothing speaks to the sorry state the program was in and what a monumental rebuilding effort this was as much as the fact that we couldn't count on having talented guys who worked hard being the guys who got the playing time.

    P.S. This post was in no way an endorsement of the job Hawk has done. While there are good reasons for why CU hasn't been in the top 25, there has still been enough talent to have gone to bowl games the past 2 years and, certainly, there's no excuse for the team coming out flat for so many games last year.
     
  13. White_Rabbit

    White_Rabbit Club Member Club Member

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    I tried to make this argument about Cody vs Tyler awhile back. Cody by all accounts is a machine in practice, but not so much in games. I'm sure there are other players that are very similar. The pressure of playing in a game that matters or in a practice that nobody is watching is just so different.
     
  14. Darian3Hagan

    Darian3Hagan '89 Player of the Year Club Member

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    I was a ****ty practice player, I would think too much. When the lights were on I was a much better player, but I still sucked, just sucked less.
     
  15. leftybuff

    leftybuff Iconoclast Club Member

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    I practiced hard playing ball. I played alot but was not a superstar or anything like that. We did have a couple of guys who were legit D1 prospects. I subbed in for a starter at a different position one week during practice because he had the flu. I was sure I was going to see massive PT playing my regular spot and adding PT on the OL. He got better Thursday afternoon and I got sent back to just my old spot. It pissed me off but he was heads and shoulders better than me even recovering from the flu. It was the right call. That is why you have a coach. To make calls like that. IMO, Deion Sanders plays even if he jacks around at practice. An average athlete has to bust his hump to see PT if I'm the coach. That's just the way it is.
     
  16. AlferdJasper

    AlferdJasper Well-Known Member

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    Not that I mind the way the thread is going, but I wasn't trying to hammer on anyone for playing hard-working practice guys. I get that. And you have to learn the playbook, Period.

    I was wondering about some of our players who don't see much PT, but have the ability to shine during games. I have coached a lot of youth sports, I see it all the time.

    These aren't kids who slack at practice, they just do what is asked of them. You tell them to run, they run. You show them a drill, they follow instructions and they may be the fastest kid out there. But something is missing, or they seem to be just simmering, not boiling. Then on game days, there is another personality that emerges: fearless, full of energy, sort of crazy-focused on winning. They have moves you 've never seen before. They take chances, they see the whole field. Maybe it's having a true opponent to compete against, as opposed to some guy you have math class with ... I don't know, but there are -- in my experience -- game day kids. You know they will find a way to give more on a Friday or Saturday than they do any other day of the week.

    Just wondering if others had seen this: the kid who absolutely blows you away during a game, but is just one of the faces in the crowd at practices.
     
  17. leftybuff

    leftybuff Iconoclast Club Member

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    Absolutely true. The HS FB team I played on had a 160 lb. noseguard. He also played HB. He wasn't jack in practice at NG, he often got worked in drills, but on game day he turned into a frickin' tasmanian devil.
     
  18. ScottyBuff

    ScottyBuff Well-Known Member

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    Actually now that I think about it, this is my personality not just in sports, but at school and work too. I hated doing homework, but excelled at test-time. Normal day-to-day work is a serious pain to do, but I always slam out projects and reports before they are due.

    I think that many athletes have different motivations that cause their best to come out. A good coach can bring out that motivation and no single system works for all kids. Any coach that stubbornly insists on his way will only get part of the kids to respond positively, while the others have to figure out how to self-motivate.
     
  19. Daaah

    Daaah Club Member Club Member

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    I always was completely dominant in both practice and games so I don't know what you guys are talking about.
     
  20. ScottyBuff

    ScottyBuff Well-Known Member

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    :bowdown: :goldcup:
     
  21. AlferdJasper

    AlferdJasper Well-Known Member

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    Yeh, you and Clark Evans.
     
  22. Dunken

    Dunken Member

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    well their you have it...close the thread up..lol
     
  23. BuffLuKe

    BuffLuKe Club Member Club Member

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    It does exist no doubt. I think you would be hard pressed to find any athlete that dont step it up on game day as opposed to practice. The thing with Patrick Williams wasnt ability or work ethic. His brain got in his way and it can beat the best of them.
     
  24. Bolond

    Bolond Member

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    I've seen photo's of these two young gentleman on Facebook, and the difference between Cody's posted photos and Tyler's is black and white. Cody seems to be enjoying his time as a student (also as that of the head coach's son) while Tyler seems a bit more conservative and football minded. Nothing wrong with Cody enjoying his time in college, and I can see that he has a few distractions (His dad being HC) is one, and I am glad he is our backup, but I am waiting for a kid (Hansen?)that brings both heart and talent to the field.
     
  25. SJBuff

    SJBuff Club Member Club Member

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    Absolutely there are practice players and game day players and it's not always the case that the game day guys are just lazy in practice.

    I was always a player that did better in games than in practice. I was no slacker, though, and worked my ass off in practice but I often struggled and things misfired regularly. On game day, somehow, things came together for me. There must be something about it being a real opponent that enabled me to focus better because I was always more fluid and in sync when we were live. This ability to rise up on game day allowed me to play at a much higher level than my athletic talent warranted. Hard work, unfortunately, can only take you so far and by the end of high school my competitive sports days were done.
     

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