Pat Baldwin: Devon derby victory gave us Grecians belief
It is an amazing thing in football how quickly or slowly your week goes when you either win or lose. Lose a game, and the week drags on. Win a game, and within a blink of an eye the next opponents are upon you.
This week has absolutely flown by after our fantastic win against Plymouth Argyle. I have to say, it was probably the best all-round performance that I have been involved in since I have been at the club.
We have most certainly played better this season, but in terms of sticking to our game-plan, staying professional, staying cool, staying resolute when under pressure and, of course, the unbelievable atmosphere that the supporters created, it all made it a great day.
In last week's column and in interviews leading up to it, I said we treat it as any other game and that we stay focused on the job at hand. This is all true, but deep down we all knew how much it meant to the fans.
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It meant a hell of a lot to us as well. I think you could see the passion from the lads when we scored our goals and after the game.
It is clearly evident from our results in local derbies last season that they were not good enough. It was a statistic that we were made fully aware of leading up to the Bristol Rovers game on the opening day of the season and again last week in the build-up to the game against Plymouth.
Professional pride dictates that the said statistics hurt a lot. It was something we did not want to repeat again this time out. That does not mean to say that we will definitely win every derby we play.
The season is long and tough, but the signs are there that we have a determination and belief so far that was not always there last year.
The challenge now for us is to maintain the same level of belief, commitment and purpose. The biggest challenge will come in the midst of winter when we have one or two injuries and we have to find that extra bit of reserve you need to see you through the tough spells.
The signs are there, but I can absolutely guarantee that the manager, Paul Tisdale, will be making sure we stay focused and carry on improving. He will be analysing every game with a fine-tooth comb, like he always has done, and presenting his findings to us at our weekly DVD sessions as a group every Thursday.
I have had DVD sessions under a few managers before and as a young professional they can be long and arduous, but the older (and hopefully the wiser) you get the more you realise the necessity for them.
I have also played under one or two managers that do not believe in them at all, but I do think that they are vital in modern-day football.
It is useful to highlight any areas of improvement both collectively and individually, to support specific coaching points that are worked on in training or to simply emphasise positive play.
As a player, during a game, when you are completely engrossed in concentrating on your individual job, many things can go un-noticed, so to watch a game back is a useful tool to have – one it would be stupid of any manager to not use if available.
Again, man-management can come into play. It can be useful in giving confidence to a player who may need it or to subtly keep a player grounded if they are playing well, but need a reminder that you can always improve.
There is no hiding place in the room either. It can be tough if we have played particularly bad as mistakes are highlighted in front of everyone, but it can also be quite funny.
Certain managers I have worked under that do DVD sessions will just talk for the length of it and not involve the players or throw any questions out. That is not the case with Tis. Our manager likes to put players on the spot to either make sure they are listening or have taken certain points on board.
Nobody likes being put on the spot, especially in front of all the boys as the changing room can be a relentless place at times. You can tell when a question is about to be asked as Tis starts to scan the room.
Heads can be seen looking away trying to avoid eye contact, some hide behind other players or you can simply face the music head on and answer honestly "I don't know", which is what Tommy Doherty does every time he is asked a question!
Let us hope that we can continue our belief, with the help of our usual Thursday DVD sessions, and get a result on Saturday against Hartlepool. Enjoy the game!