January 2013 Archives

Inside Michigan: Beilein Weekly

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We used the last week in between games to get better as a team. Our bye week in conference came early this year, and our staff felt that our team used it productively on and off the court.

Last night served as a quality win in the Big Ten Conference for us. Purdue is a tough, athletic team that is extremely well coached by Matt Painter and his staff.

Protecting home court is a point of emphasis for our team. I sincerely believe that this mentality carried our guys last night through the tough stretches of the game. We knew going into the game that Purdue would not give up anything easily on the offensive and defensive end of the ball.

Our staff loved the unity that our team displayed throughout the game. Our staff consistently speaks to our student-athletes about being energy givers and not energy drainers. With a halftime deficit of one point, we felt our team showed great togetherness in what we would describe as the consummate team win.

Balanced scoring by our starters and positive contributions from our bench allowed us to pull away from the Boilermakers in the second half.

This next stretch of the season certainly serves as an opportunity for us to show our toughness. With games on Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday vs. conference opponents, we will have to manage our preparation and our team's energy level wisely.

In shifting our thoughts to Illinois, the first thing that jumps out to me is their skilled perimeter attack. With players like Brandon Paul, D.J. Richardson, Tracy Abrams and Joseph Bertrand, they are a versatile team that will challenge our ability to guard.

We look forward to traveling to Champaign this weekend to take on the challenge of playing a team whose shot-making ability makes them a dangerous match-up in the Big Ten Conference.

Go Blue!

-John

Inside Michigan: Beilein Weekly

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The last two games have served as wonderful game films for us to learn from and grow from. As basketball coaches, our job is to figure out the best ways to prepare our student-athletes for competition. Sometimes the best teacher is live competition.

I embrace the process of building a team. In the Big Ten Conference, games vs. Nebraska at home and the Buckeyes on the road are part of the process of building a team.

Nebraska served as a great challenge for us last Wednesday. I thought that they did a great job of utilizing the shot clock on offense and committing to stopping our transition game on defense.

The game in Columbus on Sunday shows us the importance of starting the game well. Credit the Buckeyes for coming out strong and building an early lead.

I loved the intensity and the heart we showed to claw back into the game. The only way to get back into games when trailing is one play at a time. I thought our guys did a great job of embracing this mentality in a hostile environment. Unfortunately, we did not have enough to take the lead and get a win.

Over the next few days, we will break down the film from Sunday's game as well as prepare for Minnesota on Thursday. The trip to Minneapolis serves as an opportunity for us to bounce back after our first loss of the season.

I have no doubt that Minnesota will be well prepared for us. It is our intention to play the Minnesota game with a high level of effort and execution. These things must come together in order to win games on the road in the Big Ten Conference.

Go Blue!

-John

With the turning of the last page in the 2012 calendar and the start of the New Year, I couldn't help but get excited knowing this year would be the year that TEAM ONE will arrive on campus. It also got me thinking about what the word TEAM means to me and how I am going to convey that message to the group of young women we have all coming together in September to form the first Michigan women's lacrosse TEAM. This quote does a good job of summing up how I feel about THE TEAM: "The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team."

Lacrosse

Recently, I have been watching a lot of basketball games on TV. Basketball is similar to lacrosse in many ways. It's my favorite sport to watch, but as of late I have been watching basketball games from a coach's perspective and looking at and analyzing different strategies, game plans, adjustments made based on how the game is developing, coaching styles, etc. It probably goes without saying that I've watched many of the Michigan basketball games thus far, both men and women. The women are off to an amazing 14-2 start and earned a top 25 ranking in the AP Poll, and the men are currently ranked No. 5 in the nation. Although there is a lot of season left, it's been quite an exciting year thus far for the Maize and Blue. While it's fun to watch all that talent out there on the floor -- among both coaches and players -- what has really resonated with me most is the heart of the group of individuals that make up this year's squads ... THE TEAM.

The women had a change in coaching staff this year and with that always comes a big adjustment for players and coaches alike. With just a few short months to implement their system, the women's staff has done a tremendous job of preparing their team for success and managing to translate a new style of off-court teaching to on-court wins in a very short amount of time. They are winning games because they are playing as a TEAM; they are all on the same page.

If you listen to commentary for the men's games, you will often hear about how much they like each other, how well they play together, or the fun they have out there together on the court. When you watch them out on the floor, they are unselfish in their play. When you hear each one of them speak, they are always talking about their teammates and how great they are and circling back discussion to others -- to THE TEAM. They are a TEAM in every sense of the word. And while they are all extremely skilled basketball players with an enormous amount of talent, they are winning in the way they are right now due in large part to the fact that they are playing together as a TEAM. With such a young squad, it's not an easy task to get everyone in sync while playing at the same level, but thus far they have been able to do just that.

It's true, "Together Everyone Achieves More" and this doesn't happen by simply playing with each other, but player together, playing as a TEAM. The 2013 edition of the men's team refers to this as "WE ON" (When Everyone Operates N'Sync). Well said.

It may sound like a simple task to accomplish: to work together as a TEAM, but just because you are called a TEAM doesn't mean you play like one. As we look to build the first women's lacrosse team here at Michigan, the strength of TEAM ONE will be each individual member. The strength of each member will be TEAM ONE.

We can't wait to get started!

Coach Valore

University of Michigan head rowing coach Mark Rothstein will regularly offer his view on a variety of topics related to Michigan rowing.

Balance is an important concept in the sport of rowing. Whenever a new rower gets into a boat for the first time, she is always surprised by how unstable a rowing shell is. Novice crews typically row with two of eight rowers sitting out to "set the boat," while the other six learn the stroke in a stable environment. Once these "training wheels" are taken away, the rowers must be able to balance the boat themselves while rowing. To go fast, a crew must become very good at balancing the boat.

Balance in another sense is also important for our rowers. There are 168 hours in a week, and 20 of those hours are spent at rowing practice. The remaining 148 hours are taken up mostly by sleeping, going to class, and studying; however, there is still a lot of time left over for our athletes to do other things -- and there is definitely not a lack of things to do in Ann Arbor. One area where our team chooses to spend a lot of their free time is in pursuing community service opportunities. And this is one place where balance comes in.

Last year, our 52-member varsity squad completed more than 1,600 hours of community service. For their efforts, our team received the Athletic Department's Rachel Townsend Community Service Award. They also received something else. Through helping people in need, our rowers continually discover the importance of living a life of service. They learn that by giving to the lives of others, we help make our own lives more meaningful and special. Here is a sample of some of the activities that our team engages in: visiting patients at Mott's Children Hospital; reading to students at local elementary schools; writing pen pal letters to elementary students; raising money for local charities through several means, including the annual Mock Rock event (which last year brought in more than $100,000); visiting patients at the local Veteran's Hospital; and volunteering at Feeding America while training in Tampa, Fla.

Last month, I was at a wonderful holiday party at athletic director Dave Brandon's house.  Hunter Lochmann, our head of marketing in the athletic department, sought me out to tell me that he had met a group of Michigan rowers that morning: they were volunteering at a local "Girls on the Run" event his daughter participated in. More than 25 of our rowers gave up a good chunk of their time on a Sunday morning -- in the middle of final exams after coming off a tough week of training, no less. Many people would choose to sleep in under these circumstances. Our rowers chose to give back. Who knows, maybe there was a future Wolverine Rower participating in that Girls on the Run 5K event. And maybe someday she will give back the way our rowers gave a little bit to her.

Inside Michigan: Beilein Weekly

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On behalf of the University of Michigan men's basketball program, I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season as well.

The holiday season affords us the wonderful opportunity to get better as a team and devote extra time to individual skill development. With the student-athletes not in classes, we simply have more time to improve and more opportunities to grow as a unit.

This season's holiday break was the longest that I can remember in my years of coaching. Our guys had four days at home and they all came back energized and motivated to continue to get better.

Our game versus Central Michigan served as a good learning experience for our team. It is always great to teach after a victory and based on our staff's breakdown of the game film, we identified some areas that needed to be addressed as we headed into Big Ten play. Specifically, our team must continue to sustain high-level play throughout the 40 minute games in the effort areas like transition defense and knowing player tendencies.

We opened up Big Ten play last week in Evanston versus Northwestern, which is always a challenging match up. Our staff complimented our players after the game on handling a ton of information in our game preparation. I thought the energy level and the unselfishness we displayed at Northwestern was special and contributed to our victory.

On Sunday (Jan. 6), we took on a very good Iowa team here in Ann Arbor at noon. The early weekend games are always interesting in college basketball. Often times, it is the team that starts the game the fastest and the toughest that wins.

We certainly did not start the game in the fashion that we wanted to but I thought that we closed the first half and started the second half really well. These stronger segments were able to offset the slower start to the game for us.

So many people contributed to Sunday's win, but Glenn Robinson III's activity level was undeniable. To finish with 20 points and 10 rebounds in his first Big Ten home game shows you the type of ability this young man has.

Each year shows and proves that Big Ten Conference play is unrelenting. We have two wins right now, but all of our attention has shifted to Nebraska. They are a tough defensive team and will certainly try to impose their pace and will on the game tomorrow night.

I look forward to getting back out on the practice floor with our team as we prepare for Nebraska. We can't wait to see our fans and hear our fans tomorrow night at 7 p.m.

Go Blue!

-John