Midseason reflections

Photo by Alvin Lescano via douglascollegeroyals.ca
Photo by Alvin Lescano via douglascollegeroyals.ca

Sitting down with men’s basketball coach Denis Beausoleil

By Davie Wong, Sports Reporter

It has not been a good start for the men’s basketball. It isn’t easy for any team to come back from 0-5 to start a season. But the road to redemption was off to a good start last week as the team picked up their first two wins of the season.

Previously, when asked about what his team could be doing better to win, coach Denis Beausoleil often referred to various aspects of the team’s play that were key to the loss. Recently, in an interview with the Other Press, he further explained the way his team plays and how he tries to fix things when they lose.

“After we lost the first five games, I went back and watched them all again to see what the trend was… I realized after re-watching all the game tapes that we were executing the plans we had made pretty well, but because of how much we had changed, I realized that we would need much more time to adapt to those changes than I had originally thought.”

The stats backed up what he thought as well. Although the men played an intense pre-season with over 15 matchups, not many of those games resulted in a learning experience. Typically, when things work, they don’t need to be changed. With the new strategy being implemented by Beausoleil, fine tuning was much needed, and winning pre-season games did not provide the data needed to see what the holes were in the strategy.

Now that the regular season has started, Beausoleil now has an abundance of data to work with, and that is where he excels. One of the most unique factors about the way Beausoleil coaches is the emphasis he puts on game data. While the scorekeepers keep track of essential data, there is not enough depth to the data that they track. That is why the sole job of Beausoleil’s assistant coach, Jacques Beausoleil, during games is to track specific statistics that the team wants to closely monitor. Using the data, Denis is able to gain an understanding of what is and isn’t working for his team.

“I think every great team has an identity. I think our identity is our outside shooting but we need to balance it with inside scoring.” Beausoleil stresses improving their balance in scoring to avoid being predictable.

With the two wins in the books, the team is headed towards the stagnant month of December. While continuing their winning momentum from the last couple games in November to the start of January seems improbable, Beausoleil hopes to do just that.

Beausoleil has scheduled friendly games throughout the break month. He firmly believes that the tempo of practice and the level of effort will be the factors that carry over into the next year.

One of the small positives that have come out of the season so far is the team’s ability to stay healthy. While the regular nagging injuries have been present, they’ve been minimal. Beausoleil has made a strong effort to keep his team healthy, both physically and mentally. “I am cognizant of the players’ wear and tear, and their physical breakdown. I am also aware of their mental and emotional breakdown. I am cognizant of how much stress we put our athletes under and I make sure that it is never too much.” The goal in that regard for Denis is to make sure his team goes into the playoffs, “healthy, rested, and happy.”

Regardless of the start, the team’s goal remains the same. Make it to Nationals. It has been their goal for a number of years, and Beausoleil doesn’t see it changing anytime soon. He recognizes the massive amount of work that the team will need to put in to make it there, but he firmly believes that if they take it one game at a time, they have a real good shot of making it this year.

Whatever the results, Beausoleil is aware of just how hard his coaching staff works to give the players the best chances for success. “The more an assistant does, the better. If they have a strength, I make sure they have an opportunity to apply that to the team… It’s too much work for a head coach to do everything. It’s so inefficient that you’re actually doing a disservice to the athletes. The difference in perspective is so important to the players so they get a broader range of experience.”

He also recognizes the incredible work done by the support staff for the team: “Jake Elder and Alvin Tseng have made sure our team is fit and healthy.” But it is one of the newest additions to the support staff who has had arguably the greatest impact, “Dani Wilson is 0ur Mental Performance Coach. She comes in, works with the team on the mental sides of things and helps them prepare week to week. It’s been tough losing after having such a dominating pre-season but she’s helped us keep things going”.

In closing, Denis mentioned how important the fans have been to the team. “It’s nice to see fans come out to support us. The other Douglas athletic teams have been great about coming out to our home games to support us and the energy they bring is much appreciated.” The men will continue their regular season campaign in January as they close the book on an eventful 2015.