Friday, September 7, 2018

Chemistry Ignored

Chemistry Ignored

Since my last post,  I have learned not to ignore major transits when talking about future performance. The addition of Isaiah Thomas showed that a compatible chart does not mean that the individuals will be compatible.  Having just experienced the transit of Neptune myself, it is hard to believe that I did not catch that aspect and its predictable effect on Thomas.  One of the features of a Pieces moon is to insecure about how you think you are being treated. Individuals who overcome this in their lives usually focus on being notably good at something, and this becomes what reassures them when the normal uncertainty of the moon position bothers them.

Often this 'overcoming behavior' is accompanied by a constant self-talk about how good they are at their chosen skill.  In most cases this is not something others are aware of because it makes others realize how insecure they feel about themselves, and normally it is a good thing that just helps them stay up and confident.

I guess I am saying this because I did not point out that he was having a Neptune transit of the moon, a transit that makes people acutely focused on their goals and ideals, to an extent that has them over reacting to any threat to their achievement.  For this reason his attitude was overly competitive with his teammates, and his constant self talk about how good he is and that he should be starting fueled a major disturbance to the teams cohesiveness, causing the established starters to feel awkward with his presence. Team chemistry took a nose dive.

A lot of the trouble can be attributed to having Bledsoe gaming his contract negotiations, a situation which led Isaiah to believe that Bled would not be there and the PG role would be his.

The effort by the Coach to live up to the assurances to Thomas that he would have equal time at the point meant that Goran Dragic did not get enough time to get into a rhythm with his game and be the leader he felt that he should be.

The three point guard rotation failed because the point guard position is more than a player, it is the position of the team leader, and the concept of dividing time between three points doomed the team to be leaderless, with Dragic quietly seething as the season wore on. Dragic understood his role as a team leader, while Bledsoe and Thomas wanted numbers to demonstrate their prowess, something that actually undermined their leadership of the team.

The three point guard concept may have worked if it was a talented rookie sharing with Bledsoe and Dragic, but the addition of Thomas was a big mistake, because he wanted to be the star and openly claimed he was better and more deserving of playing time. Although he has a great tool set, he completely missed the part of leading the team, and his Aquarius Sun made him come off as remote and too heady in comparison to Dragic, whose Taurus Sun kept his focus on the issue of effort and dedication, things that had elevated his game and earned him the respect of his team mates.

Bledsoe continued to develop his skills and athletic abilities, but did not connect with the other members of the team or exhibit the floor general skills of Dragic. More than that, his Sun was "unaspected', meaning that the rest of his chart did not communicate with his will, and this created a lack of natural floor vision, since he needed to use his will to drive all his actions. In effect Bled had to think about everything all the time in order to be effective. This actually slows his play.

The most effective moon sign for a point guard is Aries. In fact four of the point guards on the team have this moon sign, most importantly is Goran Dragic.  Ish Smith, Tyler Ulis and Bogdan Bogdanovich are Aires moon signs as well.  Dragic's leadership was the reason the team had over achieved the year before, but the coach and general manager did not appreciate that or understand it. The presence of so many fire signs and particularly players with strong Aries influences made Dragic's competitiveness contagious, and the team played with a drive and fire that surprised other teams.

Team chemistry is understandable, but coaches and general managers cannot embrace Astrology to actually employ it with their teams. The Suns of 2013-14 were an accident owing to the fact that they started from scratch assembling a team based on the coach's intuition and feelings about the players that were available. The next year, the GM int al statistical and over thought the roster instead of building on what had worked, and investing the effort to understand why it had worked.

I think they thought it was an accident, that could not be repeated. So they did not try.

Too bad.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Team Chemistry and Dominance

Team chemistry and game dominance: What is it and how to deal with it.

Team Astrology has to address this, not because it is an astrological issue but because it is a team chemistry issue. Astrology has much to do with dominance between players and teams.

In the discussion about planets, when one body is forced to change by another body, the body that move toward or in orbits is dominant and the one that changes it position is being dominated. The sun dominates the Earth, and the Earth dominates the moon. When a meteor or asteroid falls to Earth it is yielding to the dominance of the planet. So the one that is forced to change course is being dominated by the one that remains unfazed by the actions of others.

In sports this is observed all the time. Every team seeks players who can dominate their position. LeBron James can do whatever he chooses on the court and no one can stop him. In this way LeBron is special, few players are so unequaled at their position within an entire league, but in every game mismatches exist where one position player is clearly better than the opponent.

Game strategy depends on exploiting these mismatches and coaches choose the players for each game with this in mind. Sometimes the coach is the source of the mismatch as the game style and strategy can be difficult for the other team to play against. Being dominant allows a player or team to play the game their way and make the other team or player adapt, taking them out of the familiar role and forcing them to think about what they are doing, adding a few seconds to every choice and action.

It is not necessary for a team to dominate with better players. Teams dominate all the time because they play at a higher level, faster, smarter or more aggressively. After a game the loser will say "they wanted it more", or "we were not prepared", when aggressive play takes them out of their game plan. Getting the team "up" to play at a high level for every game can be the coaches biggest job during the middle of the season, and this is where team astrology makes a big difference. Players who have good chemistry (aspects between their charts) feed off of one another, because the energetic connection actually builds energy by being used on the court. This condition breeds dominance. The players feel it and love the action on the court, and they look forward to each game and the challenges to their abilities that it brings.

The Phoenix Suns professional basketball team exemplifies this. It has used faster and smarter play to become competitive in a league where great athletes are on every roster. So, although being dominant in one-on-one match ups can be hit or miss because of things like the timing of a pass or the position of a foot, making or breaking the advantage of size and skill, the Suns have decided to be dominant using speed, speed individually and mental reaction speed as a team, which takes their opponents out of their game and forces them to adapt. With only one point guard taking the ball down the court the opponents could harass and delay until their defense gets set up, negating the advantage of speed, as seen when Steve Nash would be confronted at the far end of the back court by two players, but with two fast point guards that are familiar with one another, the ability to trap the point guard in the back court is much harder. With three fast point guards the Suns can keep up a high speed tempo the entire game, forcing the opponent to exhaust their first team defenders, or fall woefully behind before the game is close to being finished.

The Suns will use the players added during the draft to good effect because their team style will minimize the advantage of one-on-one mismatches created by experience and skill from the other teams position players. TJ Warren in particular should greatly benefit from this high speed style because his transition game of close to the basket shots from all angles can fully exploit the seams between coverages as the other players set their spaces for the pass from the paint.

Taking the other team out of their game, making them react instead of acting on their own plan will add 7 to 10 victories for the Suns in the 2014-15 season. Expect the Suns to start strong and emphasize getting victories early in the season to cushion the late season competitiveness of the veteran laden teams with dominant position players.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bledsoe's Exceptional Chemistry with Dragic and Thomas

Eric Bledsoe was traded to Phoenix before the beginning of the 2013/14 season and to many observers seemed less than enthusiastic about being there. Watching games on TV, he seldom came out of his shell, his enthusiasm curbed for reasons that could only be known to him.

As an astrologer my reaction was find his birthday and see how he fit with the rest of the team. Admittedly a shallow analysis since it only used his birthday and not his birth time , it was still quite revealing. The Suns are one of the few teams in professional sports that are well aligned astrologically. While the reason for this may accidental or on purpose it remains a fact. Out the twelve man squad nine of the players are well in synch with coach, having sun and moon that connect favorably with his or personal planets in favorable aspect.

Bledsoe is one of the people whose moon is a close degree alignment (conjunct) the coaches sun position. The other starting guard, Goran Dragic, also has a close degree aspect with the coach, in fact his birthday is just a few days different making his sun conjunct Hornecek's.

In my practice I tell people that when their Sun is conjunct another's moon they need to tred lightly because the moon person will quite easily feel like their choices and desires are being co-opted, since every time they begin to assert their perceptions they find the Sun person there first using the situation to their advantage. In families this is a common aspect between parent and child and often leads to estranged relationships as the dominant person asserts their reality without respecting the others. The reason for this is basic to personality development as people want to have control of their own minds and destinies, making the best of the opportunities that arise moment by moment. Having someone seeming to take your place all the time can become old fast.

This is immediately a problem for Bled, who has the skills to be dominant and needs to feel that way on the team too, but with Dragic's connection to the coach he may feel that every discussion has him at a disadvantage, where his contribution is somehow tilted toward another every time. Bledsoe's chart favors the practical Earth and emotional water signs although his sun is in the fire sign of Sagittarius. It is the only fire sign in his chart and additionally his Sun is not aspected, which has the effect of disconnecting his will from the rest of his personality. This condition makes it hard for a person to express what they feel on the spur of the moment. The best way to overcome this is to be able to operate intuitively as much as possible.

Without trying to analyze all the factors in the complex relationship between a player and his team, the above factors standout as contributing to Bledsoe's feeling of unease with the Suns. Finding the other players that complement him and his game may be a solution that will give him a greater sense of power and control on the floor. The chart of Isaiah Thomas is more complementary to his own and being on the floor with him will give Eric the satisfaction of being as intuitive as he needs to be. It is obvious that Dragic is very aggressive and takes the ball to the hole as often as he can, making the other members of the team into observers, playing off the ball setting-up and going for the rebound in case Goran misses. As the team develops its timing and awareness with other members being good scorers, it may be that the combination of Thomas and Bledsoe will score with threes and dunks from the centers and forwards more often, as Dragic's style works best when he is the first option.

Bledsoe may want the ball more than he is getting it, but he will get enough chances and his intuitive play will get better. Whether it is Thomas or Dragic since they all have very compatible aspects between them. When Eric is on the floor with Dragic the intuitive perception very good, Sun conjunct moon and sun trine moon. With Thomas it is Sun sextile sun and moon sextile moon. These aspects between to point guards are exceptional and make the trio a fearsome group playing together, while the Suns speed of play uses their connection to its max.

I hope Bledsoe gets a satisfying deal from the Suns and that the team can offer Dragic a fair contract next year too. These three guards playing together can become an NBA legend if the team has the shooting and rebounding to complement their explosive style of play.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Team Chemistry Understood

Team Chemistry Understood

Making decisions about adding a member to your team, whether it be a sports team, a work or production team is very important. Adding the wrong person can disrupt the ongoing work and set back progress that has already been made.  Although there are many factors in this choice, the subtle issues of personality, attitudes and timing can often undo what seems to be compatible work history and accomplishment.

Even when you have been working together for some time, you will find that different combinations of people produce better results together. Often this knowledge comes at a cost of time and frustration as personalities generate unneeded friction diverting attention from the job at hand to solving personnel conflicts. These issues can be resolved before they begin.

Team Astrology is the outgrowth of a life long interest in how relationships are affected by peoples birth charts. As an astrologer since 1985, I have become used to applying it to all situations and found that it is very reliable in assessing the chemistry between people in any circumstance,

The following article concerns the team play of the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association. They are a good test case because of unexpected success and the fact the the entire team was assembled at the same time; new GM and Coach who selected players from those available via the old roster, free agent signings and trades. The team did well above the average for a new team and coach, so I am analyzing the effect of the combination of the individual players birth charts on their relationship with the coach and other players, and how these factors may have affected their performance.

Phoenix Suns Team Chemistry in the 2013/14 Season

The Phoenix Suns success has become the talk of the league, but their recent draft has left many puzzled about their direction. Observations that General Manager Ryan McDonough and Coach Jeff Hornacek share a vision and feel for the type of player who can be successful in their system is validated by last season's plus twenty-three game win implement over last season. With an emphasis on speed of play many thought the best athletes would their priority, but their choices indicate that clarity of thought and lack of hesitation to make the right move is their key to speed. Mental speed is more important than physical speed, and Hornecek's simplified offense depends on enabling the players natural ability and lifelong game to takeover. Making the right decision is easy when it is what a player has been doing all his life.

As an astrologer specializing in relationships, I have done an analysis of the Suns draft under McDonough and Hornecek and found that they prefer young men with with fire and earth dominant in their charts. This may be the product of their interviews and their take on each ones personality, and how it fits with their strategy and coaching style, especially when seeing their charts compared to the players they have brought into the organization. Both men have Venus in Aries where it gives them a special appreciation for the fast pace that they prefer.

The GM is a Pieces Sun and Mercury with a Cancer Moon who has a knack for detail due to the Mars/Jupiter conjunction in Virgo, where Saturn also resides. He is a very capable analyst and negotiator from these positions, since they work to internalize all the information he gathers and enable him to keep his thoughts to himself. This is an important quality in the rumor mill of sports.
Hornecek is a Taurus sun with a Virgo moon, both are earth signs and this is reflected in his practical approach. The Virgo moon is known for being detail oriented and naturally organizes everything according to common characteristics. Mercury in Gemini gives him a quick mind that likes the personal social aspects of his work. His enjoyment of the high speed game is shown by the position of Venus and Mars, which are in fire signs, Aries and Leo respectively. All of the suns players make positive aspects to these features of the coaches chart. These are the personal astrological bodies and they are the most important in comparing charts for relationships.
The positions of Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus and Pluto are important but vary only slightly from year to year, making them generational rather than personal. This is important when considering why this years and next are filled with high quality prospects. These years are when Uranus conjuncts Neptune in Capricorn, giving unusual power to self--belief, and raising this group to a higher plateau than others without this aspect. Uranus gives an energetic boost to whatever it aspects and positive Neptune is about ideals and visualized goals, allowing this group to routinely exceed expectations. 

The team management has gone after players that connect well with the coach. Hornecek's Taurus Sun gives him an easy communication with players having a Taurus Moon, such as Eric Bledsoe, Miles Plumlee, Alex Len, Alec Brown, Leandro Barbosa and TJ Warren. Emphasizing the importance of this connection is the fact that Goran Dragic, Channing Frye and PJ Tucker are also Taurus sun individuals, like their coach, giving the whole group an extra level of compatibility. Hornacek has a Virgo Moon enabling him to easily understand the Virgo Sun players on his roster, such as the Morrii brothers, TJ Warren, Tyler Ennis, Dionte Christmas and Miles Plumlee. 

The sign that Venus is in for both McDonough and Hornecek is Aries, and it should be noted that conjunctions between the Moon and  Venus are always good because it creates a union of what is desired and what is subconsciously felt. That many of the Suns players have this Moon position is positive for several reasons. Aries Moon provides a natural prioritization quality to the person, making choices easy so they seldom over think what they are doing, but most importantly, it makes them extremely competitive. It can be considered ideal for a point guard for this reason. Goran Dragic and Tyler Ennis, and Ish Smith have Aries Moons as well as Bogdan Bogdanovic, who plays point in Serbia, all of whom handle the ball very well. 

The fourth personal planet in this analysis is Mars and Hornecek has his Mars in Leo, which gives him a steady, outgoing demeanor that very competitive without being selfish. It rules how a person goes after what they want. Players on his team with prominent personal Leo positions are Alex Len (Mars), TJ Warren,(Venus) and Gerald Green whose Leo moon makes him love the spotlight and excel at doing what it takes to wow the crowd.  The Sun in Leo gives an aggressive, outgoing energy that works very well in competitive sports, it makes an individual generous and proud, driving them to work hard to not make mistakes, so the fact that Alec Brown, Archie Goodwin and Bogdan Bogdanovic are Leo Suns makes perfect sense. Hornecek's Mars in Leo allows him to appreciate, relate and communicate very well with these players.

Since I use only the day of birth without an exact time, there is no rising sign included here. But since only the moon moves significantly, I run the charts for just before noon so the moon is in the middle of its daily motion giving it about a six degree possible variance. It can make a difference when someone is on the cusp of a sign, for instance TJ Warren is either a Taurus or Aries Moon, In this case both are good. Alec Brown has his moon involved in both a fixed grand square and a grand trine in Earth, so if the moon moves six degrees it could shift that entire set. Brown has a chart that suggests he is good long term prospect because his moon automatically resolves issues and his Sun is sextile mars, making him able to do what he thinks. This evolving awareness along with physical maturation should see him have a long career in the NBA. Astrological resonance is seldom this obvious and many talented players have more refined aspects that do wonders for them because of their rising sign and degree, which we are not using here.
Recently signed Isaiah Thomas has his Mars in Taurus conjunct the Hornecek and Dragics Sun, and directly on five other teammates moons, that should give him the ability to be even more intuitive with the open man. With his moon in Pieces he is very intuitive and able to sense who is ready to score.  

The Aries Moon seems especially important to the team, since guard play is pivotal to their success, The players Taurus Sun or Moon, along with Virgo Sun are especially prominent, since the ability of the coach to direct the team is greatly facilitated by their presence in the same sign as his Sun or Moon. While the team is well represented in all the signs with the rest their charts, the role of astrology in the Suns style of play seems undeniable. Coach Hornecek is a capable instructor who has demonstrated his ability to teach outside shooting in Utah and now Phoenix, but having players that get what he tells them is huge. His patience and calmness cannot be denied as contributors to this success, since players like Gerald Green have blossomed in his system after years of traveling between teams.

Individual analysis can show many other qualities evident with the team members and why they perform as they do, but it is the cohesiveness of the team around the coach's philosophy that makes the most difference and the Suns certainly have this covered astrologically. With the coach having trines with his sun and moon, and venus and mars, picking players with good aspects from their personal planets to his makes the entire team get along in a natural way. Examining any group of friends you will see this pattern in play, so gathering a group of professionals with these aspects is like planning a party of friends.
Why so many of the Suns have their Sun or Moon in the sign of the Coach's Sun or Moon or in the sign of his Mars or Venus is unlikely to be an accident. Whether the team management is using astrology or simply going with their gut is unknown to me, but the effect on team chemistry is apparent. All of these players get what the Coach is communicating and know their roles.  Earth signs predominate in this group with a heavy emphasis on fire signs as well. Of the entire roster only Shavlik Randolf is without a major personal planet in the sign of the coach, and he was a late season pickup.  

The General Manger is savvy about using information and, as a Pieces is probably a natural at Astrology as well as any level of complexity needed to understand his team and the league they play in. 
Commenting on team chemistry, I would say that favorable aspects from personal planets between the coach and his players helps the players understand the coach, and also connects the players to one another on the court. All the Suns point guards have Aries moons except Bledsoe, whose moon is in early Taurus like the coach's sun, 

As a life long Suns fan I have watched the team go through its ups and downs, but the common thread of its ups has been the player savvy coaches such as Cotton Fitzsimmons, whose player orientation set the stage for for the overachieving teams we all loved so much in the past. Owner Robert Sarver was quick to get onboard with the ideas of Ryan McDonough, and he showing his strength of judgement in basketball equals that of his business life. The combination of savvy management and ownership should have the patience to build a longterm winner for Phoenix.

Updated July 27, 2014