Kirkham's Korner: winning on the road

By Steve Kirkham published September 28, 2006

Is it about winning on the road or survival? As we now know, travel in the RMAC is a test. Even though the athletes are young and vigorous, they still get worn down with the effects of being on the road.

So in a world where most people judge your success in the win-loss column, how do you win on the road? It would seem that being better would be a good place to start, but in the RMAC the conference champion often loses to the last-place team in their gym.

Many coaches make the home games a priority figuring if they do not lose at home they will manage to win a couple on the road and make the postseason. Trust me when I tell you that this is a constant discussion among coaches. As one of the coaches with the most wins in the RMAC on the road, I can tell you we did it the other way. The first page of our notebook read, "We LOVE the road." We convinced our players that the reason you play this game is to go on the road and win in someone else's house.

There is nothing like a quiet home crowd who has begun discussing what party is happening after the game because their team is so far behind they are no longer interested. Or the joy that accompanies a last minute win and your bench is the only one dancing and singing.

Being able to overcome all the distractions of a road trip and focus on the chance to do something special it has to be THE priority of all involved when you get in the vehicle and head down the road. Our coaching staff would yell. "Alright we're on the road baby!" as we pulled out of the parking lot. Our leaders would make sure the players understood that the curfew was a serious issue. Our pre-game meals were the best we could afford (Macaroni Grill was a favorite). Our routine was relaxed and as close to being at home as we could make it.

Many of the teams in the RMAC, no matter what sport, are very successful on their home court. The teams that win championships are the ones that find a way to win on the road. Let me tell you about how tough some of the gyms and fields are to play on"¦.next week.

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