“And Down The Stretch They Come……”
This phrase was made famous by the legendary horse racing announcer Dave Johnson. In the NBA, it refers to the last 20 games of the season. As teams come out of the “Dog Days” of January and February, the stretch run presents several different challenges. For contending teams, it is the obvious urgency of positioning for the playoffs. For non-contending teams, it may be a question of playing younger players to gain experience, and, positioning yourself better for the lottery. Some teams try and win as many games as possible to instill a culture of playing to win every game, no matter what the circumstances.
Having been on both sides of the fence, here are some observations that may help as your team comes down the stretch. It may be the high school coach preparing for regional and state tournaments, or the college coach heading into conference tournaments.