It is hard to go through a tournament undefeated – but not impossible. 

In the first round of the Australian Schools Cup, everybody is pumped up. In the last matches of the tournament on Friday, a coach is also working with pumped up teams.

These are the easy matches. It is the middle matches of a tournament that make the coaches earn the huge bucks they get as volunteers.

There are a million reasons why school/junior teams struggle mid week. All the factors like being away from home, different food, nervous energy, stress and a lack of sleep all can play a part in throwing a spanner into the works of your tournament. Now, really good teams can still win a tournament from a loss on Wednesday, but why should they lose in the first place?

In recent years both at a school and state level I have paired up my team into warm-up pair groups. I call these pairs the warm-up captainsEach pair will be responsible for warming up the team both physically and mentally for one of the ASC matches.

Give your weakest pair the first match – the whole gym will be pumped for match one, so their input will not be pivotal. Give your meanest, most winning oriented pair of players the danger Wednesday morning match.

Let them know why you have given them that match. Let them know that they are the team’s “factor x” and they will be required to guide the team through this difficult match.

Good luck. Hopefully, your team is now able to avoid the dangerous Wednesday loss.