Monday, March 30, 2009

PFL 2009 (Div 2) Review: Coach Jason's 300

This year's division 2 campaign has been a roller coaster ride for everyone in the team. Many questions had been posed as to what the outcome would be. It was a mixture of an experienced division 1 chipsmore, a decently skilled player who just "curved" his stick, a hyperactive duo of small cikus, a group of powerpuff girls and a keeper that had yet to be tested.

We started the campaign pretty slow. Untested. Due to logistics and time constraints, we couldn't really test the whole team as in playing as it is. Deservingly, we lost to Dalat in our first game.

As the league progressed, we seemed to show some promise as one of the medal candidates. People began to write good things about us after winning against one of the top teams in Penang, Contact Bullets. The 3-0 win was a sweet one. Playing against a very tactical and proper team, I still think we were lucky to put it off against them. Michael was basically on form that day. His curve was just curvy enough to bag the goals.

Frontliners has always been a moody team. We are very temparamental, as our morale changes like the weather all the time. On our good days we can play really well. On our bad days, we can really play as though we never have touched a stick before. The win against Griffins was a lucky and narrow win. Although we won, we felt as though we lost. I also personally learned that I as a coach need to gamble at times. Relying on important players like Michael and Megan can be a little too predictable and obvious, leaving the rest of the players untested.

Quickly enough, we learned fast from our previous shortcomings and improvised from our previous matches. The game against Firebrands marked a beginning of a new format for 300. If I had to pick our best game, it would be the one against Phoenix. Phoenix were the best team in division 2. 300 made a lot of changes. There were at least 4 line-ups played against Phoenix. Each change created a different tempo to the game. Changing the mood of the gameplay at every change.

That game displayed creativity in the usage of line-ups as we learned to be flexible and daring with our line-ups. The consequence? An unpredictable and powered up 300 team which played like the Spartans. The teamplay was awesome. There were a lot of chances and good teamwork between the forwards and the centre. Defence was solid to the max. However, because of some silly mistake, we let in a silly goal due to our lack of concentration. And that silly goal cost the whole team to fall as we had shown that we are mentally weak when facing pressure in tournaments.

If 300 want to rise up, they must learn to keep their heads in the game and stay focused, no matter the results. That was the only disappointing thing in the last game.

The outcome of the league: all of us gained a lot of experience. Stars were born. Some shy people finally got to shine and show their true colors, to my amazement. I was very impressed with the team overall. This year's campaign was definitely much better than the previous year's :)

Youthwave is coming up. Penang League is over, now we look forward to Youthwave and the upcoming Division 1 in June.

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