Basketball column: Lack of mental toughness behind Sheffield Sharks’ weekend woes

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The Sharks have had an historic week this week in terms of performance but for all the wrong reasons. On the back of a losing weekend firstly to the Newcastle Eagles with a resounding 20 point loss on Friday night, followed by missing out on the win against newcomers Bristol with a 1 point defeat.

This back to back misery of results was compounded by the loss of Sheffield Hallam first team and the U18 junior team all overseen and run by the Sharks. Never before have all Sharks teams lost in the same week.

But Sharks play caller Atiba Lyons has a clear opinion on what the problem in the camp has been this and firmly lays the blame with mental toughness and basketball intelligence.

“There are so many reasons you can lose games, and I know that there is a natural sway to blame everyone and everything but yourselves, but this week we have to stand up and be counted,” said Head Coach Lyons. “We weren’t smart in the games we played this week, we allowed ourselves to be bullied on Friday against a formidable but not unbeatable Newcastle Eagles.”

Lyons, who in his role oversees the development of all Sharks related squads was not in the mood to go easy on his men.

“We can’t afford to be that weak, it creates a losing mentality which we took into the next game and got the result that we did. I don’t want to take anything away from Bristol, but we turned over the ball late in the game and they capitalised”.

As the saying goes it is all in the recovery and The Sharks have fortuitously got a two week break to reflect on their performances and re focus for the 21st November when they come up against the Worcester Wolves.

However, when it is a mental game the steps that can be taken to restore confidence are in the hands of the deliverers.

“It really is up to each individual to bring their focus back and it is up to me to help them restore confidence in the team, that is what we will work on because nothing else has changed we are still capable of competing with the best, “ mooted Lyons.

The test of the Sharks will become apparent at the next game when Worcester come into town, also with a disappointing start in comparison to seasons gone by.