Dealing With Adversity

It seems as though nothing has gone well the last 10 days. I guess I shouldn’t say nothing has gone well because our defense vs. Charlotte and USC was pretty good and we have made some good plays but when you lose a few games in a row it feels as though your entire world has turned upside down. We are missing shots we normally make, committing unforced turnovers that we thought we grew out of, and having defensive lapses that at one time were fixed. You know what’s done is done!  I know this is hard to take and that we all deeply care, but right now we need to get our head out from between our legs and do whatever we need to do to make it work by outworking our opponent.

It’s hard for me to think of another group of guys that I have seen who look so down when something bad happens to them or a teammate during a game. Are we all perfect? Have we never made a mistake before and had to handle adversity? I know I make mistakes daily; we all do. Sure it’s a testament to how much our guys care but we also need to be man enough to not allow this adversity to affect us. Mistakes happen. Sometimes the opponent makes a great defensive play despite a good offensive move or play by us. Despite playing a great defensive possession, we are going to be scored against at times because a guy who is a career poor outside shooter knocks one down or the opponent gets a lucky break on an offensive rebound. Each team is full of good players. That stuff happens. It happens to teams throughout the country on a nightly basis.

We just can’t let a good play by our opponent or mistakes by us affect us so much. Putting our heads down or looking up to the sky with our arms out asking “Why us?” does nothing! It’s a losing response. A winner accepts the mistake and turns the focus on them. What can I do better? Winners keep their heads up, log what happened so they learn from it, move on and get back to outworking their opponent! 

I know we all want to play better and for this losing skid to end. All of us care so much. However, it’s not going to come easy. You can’t just think you want it. You have to go out day-in and day-out work for it and execute it. When the lights come on, the only way to win is to outwork your opponent. As soon as something goes wrong we can’t begin feeling sorry for ourselves. Nobody feels sorry for us. Showing frustrated, disrupted and defeated body language does nothing to help our basketball team. It’s deflating and has a negative influence. We have to accept the adversity and intensify our effort, narrow our focus and increase our teamwork.

Are we mad and disappointed? Most definitely! Could I get on here and rant and rave about what we aren’t doing? Sure. But we can’t continue to get more and more down on ourselves or point the finger. We know there are things that need to be fixed and we are accountable for those.

Having lost three in a row, adversity rising and some guys’ self-confidence waning, it’s imperative for us to lean on each other. As I talked about last time, everyone’s behavior is either going to be part of the solution or part of the problem. Each guy makes that choice by his actions. Those that have the confidence, the positive energy and the willingness to leave it all out there on the floor need to be contagious today. They need to lead the way. The bottom line is the only way we are going to get out of this nightmare is to stay even keel, trust each other and outwork our opponents!

Another tough team in Belmont (9-2) comes in on Thursday.  But that’s not the opponent we are battling right now. We are more focused on fixing ourselves so that our team plays better. My confidence is in this team is there. Our players have too good of character, want this too much and are willing to work hard so I know we are going to get this fixed.



About Mark Pancratz's Blog

A native of Schaumburg, Ill., Mark Pancratz played Division I basketball at UW-Milwaukee, earning his degree in marketing and finance. He joined Tennessee's staff in 2006 as a graduate assistant, earning his master's degree in sports management later that year. Serving as a G.A., director of video scouting and assistant to the head coach, Pancratz was an integral part of Tennessee's six-consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. At 26, Pancratz boasts an impressive 18 games of NCAA Tournament experience as a player and/or administrative staff member. He is a member of the Illinois High School Basketball Hall of Fame and voted one of the 100 Legends of Illinois High School Basketball. Pancratz resides in Knoxville and is married to the former Brooke Waddell.
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One Response to Dealing With Adversity

  1. Hello Sir,

    My name is Griffin Hamstead. I also have a wordpress blog on all UT Sports. I hope you could find some time to check it out. The adress is All criticism and feedback is greatly appreciated.


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