British Basketball League: Leeds Force take a step back in a bid to make a giant leap forward

Recent Leeds Force action against Surrey Scorchers. PIC: Alex Daniels
Recent Leeds Force action against Surrey Scorchers. PIC: Alex Daniels
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The week off has allowed us to take a step back, understand ourselves as individuals and re-evaluate our approach as a team moving forwards.

We broke things down and focused on what needs to be done for Leeds Force to compete, trying to eliminate all the basic errors we’ve made so far.

Recent Leeds Force action against Surrey Scorchers. PIC: Alex Daniels

Recent Leeds Force action against Surrey Scorchers. PIC: Alex Daniels

Having been together all last week, there’s no excuses now.

This week is all about preparation ahead of a crucial game on Friday.

We might have taken a step backwards in our defeat to London in the BBL Cup, but one step backwards can often lead to a giant leap forwards – that’s what we’ve been aiming to achieve over the break.

No matter how many games we face in a week, we have to come out and play at our best every night whatever the odds.

Recent Leeds Force action against Surrey Scorchers. PIC: Alex Daniels

Recent Leeds Force action against Surrey Scorchers. PIC: Alex Daniels

We have to compete, think, be aggressive and ultimately perform for 40 minutes.

Every game we face as a unit, we know we have to give our all on the court if we want to challenge for victories – that’s what we have to do on Friday.

Whilst we know a team rebuild takes time, I want Leeds Force to be winning now.

Winning is part of the reason why I play this game; I certainly don’t play to lose. I’d never walk away from a game and be satisfied with a loss – you have to approach every game as if it’s your last, that’s how I see it as a professional athlete.

Showing that drive and determination is how the group of guys who follow me as a captain have to play night in, night out.

Building a brotherhood, a cohesive unit with the right mental attitude going into every fixture is something coach [Danny] Nelson has been carefully constructing since he arrived.

Last week, he told us that when you’re going into war, if you don’t have an army that’s ready to fight – you’ll die.

You need to be able to trust in your team-mate as if he was your brother, and know that when you go to work – or to war – he’s got your back.

We have a bunch of hungry individuals who want to play, and that readiness to play is vital for any new signings who want to make their mark with Force this season.

Obviously, coach Nelson’s still implementing his system, and it’s something that I trust and believe in as captain – hopefully we’ll reap the rewards from it as the season progresses.

Every day’s a learning curve, every game’s a learning curve and we’ve learnt from five difficult games now.

We showed against Surrey that we can contend for the win until the very last, so if we stay focused and disciplined, there’s no reason why we can’t get that first victory of the season on Friday.

No matter what outside critics might say about us, as professional basketball players, we stick to our job and focus on what we can control.

If we give everything we have as a team in every game we play, we will achieve this season and prove our critics wrong.

All of our hard work over the past week culminates with this Friday’s home clash against Bristol Flyers (7:30PM), and I’m confident that the Force fanbase will arrive in numbers and offer their brilliant support again.

Hopefully we’ll reward your support with some exciting basketball, and we’ll be giving our all to seal that first win.

Thanks for reading my column, I’ll be back next week to discuss all things Force. #FeelTheForce.

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