Bryan Keim, head coach of the Winfield boys basketball team, hasn’t had much of a break between seasons, as he recently took the Winfield softball team into district play, which ended only a few weeks ago, but it seems that he prefers it that way.
Keim is now preparing himself and his team for another basketball season.
His expectations for his team are simple: work hard, show improvement.
“We’ve talked about it the last few years. The goal, essentially, or expectation, is to continually progress from previous seasons,” Keim said.
He mentioned that he doesn’t necessarily like to map out precisely how he wants a season to go, because that just isn’t realistic and it puts unnecessary pressure on players.
“Something that we’ve done successfully so far that we talk about is that we don’t set particular goals for ourselves as far as how many wins or conference or this that and the other. The objective is just to try to be better by the end of the year than we were at the beginning and that’s pretty much what we are striving for every day,” Keim said.
Keim said that he thinks the team this year might be playing a slightly different style of basketball than the team last year played. A factor in that decision is the size of his team – not the number of players he has but the height of players he has available.
“It’s going to be a little bit different than last year. Last year we were pretty small at the varsity level and so we tried to get up and down a lot and shoot a lot of threes. We pressed a lot. But now, my junior varsity guys, my sophomore guys who are now juniors, we got some size in that group so we’re going to be looking to play a little more half court oriented. We are still going to try to push and run but we have got to make sure our big guys get some touches this year. Our pace is going to be a little bit slower than previous years, but we’re excited about it,” Keim said.
By half court oriented, Keim is referring to an organized and concerted effort to create longer offensive possessions.
“In the past, we took almost the first three that we thought was open. We tried to attack off the dribble a lot. But we want to really make sure that we get the best scoring opportunity each time we have the ball so we are going to value each possession solely. In turn, we should, hopefully, in theory, have the ball on offense a little bit more than we have in the past,” Keim said.
Winfield kicks off the season with what could arguably be described as their game of the season: the Elsberry game.
“So far, it’s gone back and forth. It’s funny because we’ve each won it at the other team’s place. It started where Elsberry came here and beat us. Two years ago we went there and beat them and then they beat us again at our place last year so as long as it stays with the trend we should find a way to pull one out,” Keim said.
Keim finished by saying that success is what you make it and that the most important thing will be to see the little moments of improvement.
“In reality, we hope to progress from start to finish. What success is, is what it’s going to be by the end of the season. It’ll kind of take care of itself. We just hope to show up everyday, work hard and let the outcomes take care of themselves,” Keim said.