While watching one of the women’s games this past weekend, I realized there is an interesting difference at the semi-pro level between the women’s and men’s game, and it lies in the expectations of coaches. When talking about plays/system/scheme I’m starting to believe that coaches in general overestimate what male players can do and underestimate what female players can do.
To be sure, at the elite level of the women’s game, this isn’t the case at all. I know staffs from across the country who are extremely demanding of their players, and if you looked solely at their schemes they are every bit as complex and advanced as their male counterparts. But at the “regular” level of the game, there just seems to be so much of the same ol’, same ol’ and I *know* the players are capable of more! You see teams lined up in an “I” formation probably 90% of the time and running three plays out of it. Or Double Wing teams….which is OK, if you look crisp. I do wish teams would remember that we’re in the entertainment business. Boring can be OK if you’re winning, but if you’re boring AND losing, you won’t have a fan base for very long.
Me personally, I probably tend to overestimate on both sides what my players are capable of. I always think I’m going to install a bunch of stuff, and then have to dial it back a little. The difference is that my female players will never say, “Oh, we can’t do that” whereas my guys will. With the women, I have to look at what our results are and what the reality is out on the field, and then dial it back. With the guys, they’ll flat out tell me something isn’t going to work before they even try it. In that respect, I definitely prefer the women’s approach – “OK, cool – let’s do this” and then trusting me to adjust. I think that with the guys, they’ve grown up thinking about the game certain ways, and those high school or JC thought patterns tend to stay with them. When they’re presented with something new, only those with adaptable personalities are able to go with it.
Anyway, I’m not sure why there is a difference, it just seems to me that there is. One other thing I’ve noticed is that men don’t seem to have the ability to do things at a learning tempo – it’s like they’re afraid to look like they’ve lost at anything. They don’t see the big picture – that we’re trying to learn a new concept or new play, and might have to run it a bunch of times in a row to get it right.
Sometimes it’s OK if you have someone from the same side of the ball as the opposing player. But if it is an offensive drill and you’ve got defenders over there (or vice versa), you can forget about a learning tempo. It is flat out competition. And I can see the guys’ point (sometimes) – they’re out there to compete and make each other better. I get that. But in order to get better at something, you usually have to start out doing it slowly and make a few mistakes along the way. That’s why these last few weeks with the Nighthawks in no pads were so valuable. At appropriate times, guys were flying around making plays. But at others we were able to get some stuff down before stuff starts happening really fast – like next week in pads!
Over the last couple of weeks in the women’s game, one score stood out to me above all others: Portland beating Seattle handily (40 to 0). That signals a sea change in the Pacific Northwest, where for the last few years Seattle has reigned supreme. I’m not sure if this is a result of Portland improving *that much* after the merger, or of Seattle dropping off. Quite honestly, right now I’m thinking there is a bit of a drop off in Seattle, because I saw their 13-0 score over the Tacoma Trauma and was surprised by that. However, the Fighting Fillies and the Shockwave combining forces had to have made them better. Either way, Portland is the team to beat up there, and if they truly did improve that much, then the War Angels had better look out.
Speaking of the War Angels, looks like they’ll finally play a team worth playing this week, when they face the Sin City Trojans. Both teams are at 3-0, and the Trojans haven’t been scored on yet. I’m going to pick the War Angels by a comfortable (28+) margin.
There’s been some debate about which team is better, the Chicago Force or the Dallas Elite. I don’t know for sure, although right now I’m leaning towards the Elite. However, in looking at remaining schedules, the Force also play the Divas, they play Boston AND they play Pittsburgh. If Chicago gets through their schedule unscathed, then I think the tide turns towards them. The Elite aren’t likely to be tested again until maybe when they play the War Angels, and even then I think they have way too much speed for Central Cal to handle. There’s some talk about the Elite’s game this week against KC as being a big one. I’m sure they’d love to hype it as that, but I’m not seeing it as close.
Over in the IWFL, there have been a couple of rating systems that have teams other than Utah as #1. Obviously these people have never watched football in their life. Sure, Utah’s strength of schedule may stink, but in the IWFL, saying someone has a strong schedule is like saying Doc was the tallest of the Seven Dwarfs. Utah remains a Top 10 team in the nation – not just in the IWFL, but in the WFA as well. Too bad we won’t find out how good they are.