Samuel Toluwase - Feel The Force: Confidence growing as we show progress

Sheffield Sharks player Mike Tuck lining one up on the basket. Picture: Chris Etchells
Sheffield Sharks player Mike Tuck lining one up on the basket. Picture: Chris Etchells
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After how we played at times against two tough opponents on the road last week, I’m excited.

There was a drastic improvement from our performance against Newcastle on the opening night, we showed a better understanding of how coach Danny Nelson wants us to play.

We’ve got a good coach, a good system and now we’re just trying to bring it all together by finding that cohesiveness to move forward.

That’s our approach, moving forward every day and every game.

We’re just trying to stay focused for four quarters, and to avoid the issues we’ve had in the second half of games – which is natural for an entirely new and inexperienced team. The coach is incredibly smart tactically, and he’s helping us take one game at a time.

It’s good that we’ve faced tough teams like Newcastle and Sheffield already, because we know what level we need to be playing at now.

Leeds Force block Sheffield Sharks' Mackey McKnight. Picture: Chris Etchells

Leeds Force block Sheffield Sharks' Mackey McKnight. Picture: Chris Etchells

We’re always aiming for the top – we know we’re not going to win everything, but by playing the top tier teams we can measure ourselves against the best and focus on improving to where we want to be.

A lot of guys are hungry to succeed, but coach Nelson is making sure they also show the heart and come to games mentally focused.

People were shocked at how well we played at times against Sheffield and Plymouth, so clearly we have the potential – but we need to listen and learn from the coach in order to keep improving.

Our newest signing – Michel-Ofik Nzege – is very experienced.

A lot of guys are hungry to succeed, but coach Nelson is making sure they also show the heart and come to games mentally focused.

Samuel Toluwase

He’s played in America, and grew up in Switzerland where he played a team style of basketball.

With the experience he has, I’m sure as the season goes on we’ll find a niche for him.

That’s what we’re all aiming for – finding that niche for each player so they can become comfortable in the system, that’s what I’m looking for as captain.

We need to continue being professional, and whether you’re on the court or on the bench, you must show the enthusiasm and energy that helps us come together and ensures there’s no loose ends in the squad.

Further action from last week's Yorkshire BBL derby between Leeds Force and Sheffield Sharks. Picture: Chris Etchells

Further action from last week's Yorkshire BBL derby between Leeds Force and Sheffield Sharks. Picture: Chris Etchells

Travelling down to Plymouth less than 48 hours after playing in Sheffield was tough, and my approach as a professional during those hectic periods is to have a full lockdown from everything and everyone because 48 hours before I play, there’s nothing else and I’m thinking entirely about the next game.

Coach Nelson has a very simple plan, and that’s to build, build and build.

We’re looking to be one of the top teams in the league, so we’re not rushing anything – it’s all about finding the right players for the right positions and steadily improving until we reach our goal.

Force will always be Force – we’re going to come out and show you that the progress we’ve made means we can compete against anyone.

Whether we win or lose, we want to continue improving until we reach the top and show that Leeds Force are a threat in this league. Last week’s road trips are in the past now, and we’re firmly focused on Friday’s crucial home game against Surrey Scorchers, with tip-off at 7.30PM.

We’re incredibly eager to show you all that we can compete, and I’m really looking forward to the electric atmosphere our fans are going to bring to Carnegie Sports Arena.

I have confidence in the players we have available, and we’re desperate to show how good we can be.

That’s it for this week’s column – I’ll be back to talk all things Force next week.

Danny Nelson.

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