MLAX : Orange offense struggles to find rhythm in scrimmage split

first_imgThe No. 1 team in the country couldn’t get its hands on the ball. Two minutes had already gone by, and Syracuse had yet to gain possession against Hofstra.From the opening faceoff, the Pride jumped on top of Syracuse. Two goals in under two minutes, and SU’s attack stood at midfield waiting for a chance.‘We have to just learn from that,’ Syracuse senior attack Stephen Keogh said. ‘A lot of teams are going to play us that style.’That style of long, drawn-out possessions prevented the SU offense from getting in rhythm. Sloppy play in the team’s opening scrimmage of the season led to a 6-5 loss to No. 10 Hofstra. But as the day wore on, that chemistry started to develop, and the Orange easily handled Le Moyne 10-5 in the final game of the afternoon.Syracuse rotated five different players at the attack position throughout the day, and early on the lack of cohesion was evident.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOn the team’s second possession, midfielder Jeff Gilbert juked left against a Hofstra defender to create space out in front of the goal. He tried to throw back to the right for a teammate, but his pass sailed out of bounds.Later, midfielder Jovan Miller sprinted to chase down a ball deep in the right corner of SU’s attacking third and had to lob it back into play toward no one in particular.‘Today, they just had a few mishaps,’ SU defender John Lade said of the offense. ‘It took them a while to get really comfortable, and that’s going to happen because you’re playing a different team for the first time.’Syracuse got on the board 45 seconds into the second quarter. Miller’s shot beat Hofstra goalkeeper Andrew Gvozden in the bottom right corner, but it was an unassisted goal.Midway through the second quarter was when Keogh felt the attack started to pull it together. Two minutes after Miller’s goal, senior midfielder Josh Amidon tied the score for Syracuse. He took a pass from attack Tim Desko – a pass that hit him in stride as he streaked down the middle of the field – and beat Gvozden.A flash of a connected attack.‘Me, Jeremy (Thompson) and Amidon, especially, we haven’t been on the same page,’ Miller said. ‘So it was a good time for us to start to gel a little better.’After being held scoreless for the opening quarter, Syracuse put three on the board in the second to tie the game at halftime. At which point head coach John Desko put in some of the younger players for the final two quarters.But the rationale against Le Moyne in the second scrimmage was a bit different. Having seen his offense struggle to do much of anything in a loss to Hofstra, Desko decided to give his starters extended minutes against the Dolphins.The results were impressive. Three goals for Miller. Two goals for Desko. Ten goals in total.And a win.‘We wanted to get some things working,’ Desko said. ‘We wanted to get some movement, some flow. If you’re substituting too much, I think it’s hard for anybody to get in the flow.’The flow was there but only at times. In the second quarter against Le Moyne, Jeremy Thompson caught the ball left of the goal. He spun back toward midfield and hit Keogh with a behind-the-head pass. Keogh held, looked and found a cutting Miller who whipped it home.Desko said five players rotated in at the attack position during Saturday’s two scrimmages.‘We had four or five guys running at attack, so I think we were just trying to get some chemistry going,’ Keogh said. ‘I think (Desko) wanted to make sure we knew the offenses and were running them right. We just wanted to get set up for the next couple weeks.’Ultimately, though, the production was there by day’s end. Miller led the Orange with four total goals, while Desko and Keogh each finished with two. The team hopes it doesn’t take nearly 16 minutes of scoreless play to wake up the offense again.‘We kind of started out slow, but we got it together a little bit,’ Miller said. ‘We got through it, but unfortunately it took us a little too long to get adjusted.’[email protected] Published on February 6, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Michael: [email protected] | @Michael_Cohen13 Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Commentslast_img read more

UX Can Usability Be Sticky Too

first_imgA couple days ago, an entrepreneur and academic named Nir Eyal wrote a guest post for TechCrunch on UX and usability that pretty much blew my mind. Nir is an expert in the intersection of software design and psychology, and his premise was simple yet radical: the greater the investment a user makes into a product, the more committed they’ll be to it. What he stopped short of saying, but I interpreted anyway, is that the harder it is to learn your product, the more loyal your customers will be. Could that really be true?Sure, it meshes perfectly with behavioral economics, which generally concludes that people behave irrationally in the face of sunk costs. It also matches up with my experience in software consulting. One of our portfolio companies, Prognosis, competes in the EHR space with number of cold-war era competitors whose usability, by most accounts, is inferior. Yet one of the main challenges in getting hospitals to switch is convincing them to write off the years of experience they have with their existing system.But where Nir’s idea doesn’t fit, at all, is with the existing paradigm of user experience. Software is supposed to rely on existing conventions and human nature to require as little learning as possible. Like Steve Krug’s book, it isn’t supposed to make you think. There is no talk in UX circles about a tradeoff between stickiness and usability — usability is better, and therefore stickier. But isn’t an intuitive product mutually exclusive with requiring substantial investment? If it is, doesn’t that mean that a ‘good’ piece of software can’t also be sticky?In my opinion, there is an innate tension between usability and stickiness. The same cumbersome qualities that make me hate a product in a free trial keep me unnaturally tethered to it, once I’ve actually taken the time to learn and become accustomed to it. I’ve worked hard to get where I am, feel a sense of accomplishment about it, and don’t want to go through the experience again. It’s annoying, but it works. When B2B companies come to the proverbial fork in the UX road and have to choose usability or stickiness for their own software needs, they often choose the stickier option, whether they know it or not.But then it struck me. By making your product’s sophistication match your user’s as they move along the learning curve, you can win newcomers and keep old-timers from churning, too. There IS a way to have your UX cake and eat it, too, and here’s how:Keep the introductory product simple. Follow standard usability conventions for beginning or sporadic users. Keep it simple and intuitive. But…Provide a return on investment for power users. Advanced features don’t have to be front and center to appeal to power users — as long as they know they exist, they’ll seek them out. Either provide ample documentation, or let them know via an opt-in newsletter or blog.Customization. Your product needs to work great out of the box, but allowing advanced users configuration options will allow them to productively invest time into your product.Cultivate Stored Value. One of the key points in Nir’s post was that data-accumulating software can be especially addictive. I couldn’t agree more. It also has the effect of requiring escalating expertise to manipulate and visualize as the volume of data increases, mirroring the user’s learning curve.Build a relationship. While actual personal relationships are nice, manufactured digital relationships — where a customer support or sales rep has all of the necessary information about who they’re communicating with directly at their fingertips — can amplify the effect. Getting a customer to view their relationship with your firm as an asset will help you keep them.The key to a sticky product, like Nir said, is to make your user invest time and brainpower into learning it. But your entry-level product doesn’t have to be outrageously complicated to achieve this. A simple base product, combined with layers of optional power features, can lock in existing users but maintain the accessibility to win new ones. The key is to give the user a choice: between sticking with a perfectly usable product, or investing the time and energy into learning a power one that gets them hooked.If they’re both the same product, you can’t lose.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to PrintPrintShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThislast_img read more