Measure Your Success By Your Effort

Footwork Makes You Smarter

Monday, November 29, 2010

Chris Bosh we want to chill

I have to tell you I’m enjoying watching the Heat loose, and enjoying watching the Celtics win. LBJ’s commercials make him look like a fool. If he thinks he is doing damage control, from his Decision, then maybe he should stick to selling shiny shoes or maybe he should just disappear. You want to see some good juxtaposition, watch the version with Jordan’s voice dubbed over Lebron’s antics. Or Bosh with his statement “we just want to chill”

How is this for a work ethic? Ray Allen said, “In every practice and in every game, I am auditioning for my spot on the team”. “I am given the opportunity to earn my spot and prove I can help my team win games”.

The constant talk about the Heat just needing to get our team chemistry going. Are you kidding me? These are professional players, they can’t figure it out. It’s called sacrifice, and perhaps that’s the problem. When Kobe was on the Olympic team he said “coach l want to be the best defender”. This is a man who can clearly score the ball. He was willing to make a different contribution to the team to help the team be successful.

People give me Ray-Ray, give me The Truth, give me K.G., give Rondo, and give me Big Baby. You can have your King because I love the Working Man.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Coach Independent Thinkers

One of the primary goals of coaching should be to help develop the desire for players to think on their own.

As the coach you should have final say, but always encourage players to contribute their ideas. How can that be wrong? You are trying to encourage communication right? This is a form of communication. In a time out, I have to speak first. All systems have a hierarchy. I called the time out so I must have a reason. I need say what I need to communicate to the team, and then I encourage the players to contribute. Quick sound bites, you don’t have much time to do so. Sometimes your players will come up with a good idea that stands on it’s own. Kevin Eastman once said to me “you never know where your next good idea is going to come from”. Something someone says might spark a great idea for you. Sometimes they might have an idea that, you can build on, and sometimes it might not be a good idea in your mind, but you have final say.

Independent thinkers strengthen a team because they understand that different perspectives bring different ideas and solutions. Willingness to share ideas and perspectives makes for more robust solution solving and a true team approach. Independent thinkers must be selective. It is not productive to impede progress with the process of questioning everything, but they must have the confidence to voice their opinion.

Fostering independent thinking is the first step to creating critical thinkers. Once a player is a critical thinking they can access the situation to come up with logical conclusions. Encourage your players to contribute. After all it’s a team sport, and all should be contributing.

Dependent thinkers accept whatever they are taught and rarely question information or ask themselves if the information really make sense. Is this the type of player you want?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Practice does not make perfect.

Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.
Vince Lombardi

It’s true what Vince Lombardi said about practice. You need to learn form, and then steadily increase the intensity so that you are always out of your comfort zone to become better. It’s the same overload principal that body builders use to make muscles bigger. The catch is to make sure you are not creating bad habits, by logging hours doing the wrong thing. That is bad practice no matter how hard you are working at it. Not everything will be perfect in a drill. Maybe the pass isn’t quite perfect, maybe you bobble the dribble on your approach, maybe your footwork was not quite right and you should strive to get it right each time, but if it does break down, don’t go to the end of the line or the start of the line and start over again. Use that bobbled dribble, that imperfection in that repetition to simulate what happens in a game. It is the same as a broken play in a game. Finish that broken play. How many times to quick thinking players make something good happen out of a broken play? It happens a lot. The same holds true for a missed shots in a drill. Always finish, but finish game like. Fight for your rebound, and create a habit. Maybe the habit is to chin it, with a fake, and then put it up high to get the defender in the air and get it over the shot blocker. Whatever that habit is practice is game like and game speed. When you make a mistake just remember when life hands you some lemons, make lemonade with them.

Monday, November 1, 2010

What's In Your Head - Becoming A One-For-One Shooter

Have you ever witnessed the phenomenon of the player who walks in the gym jacks up a three pointer cold and hits it? This is usually followed by a small crowd jeering or taunting, and the player misses everything or nearly everything after. Or conversely a player with extra time to shoot because of good ball movement misses that shot, even at the pro level.

In both these scenarios the misses are probably a result of thinking too much. Too much going on in the players head other than automatically shooting the ball letting the practiced mechanics of hours spent in the gym take over.

Like all skills, being able to clear your mind and be in the moment and just shoot the ball can be a learned skill that can be improved through practice. Like all skills there should be a progression to getting to this state. You want your shot to be as automatic as dribbling the ball or breathing. You don’t think about either of those processes. It should be autonomic.

We want to move towards being a one-for-one shooter. There needs to be a progression in your development to become a one-for-one shooter. In a game you rarely get to come down and take the same shot, from the same spot, with the defense set up the same. Nearly every shot in a game is unique.

So how do we get there? How do we make ourselves a good one-for-one shooter? We need to come up with a practical guide for players that makes sense. A guide that is a progression of steps that incorporates both repetitions of shooting mechanics, repetitions for the mental aspect of the game and repetitions of game like shooting situations.

I think these steps will help.
Achieving proper mechanics
• There is probably no better place to work on your shooting mechanics then the FT Line.
• Zero Points – self coaching very powerful
• Practice is where you should correct your shot. This requires concentration and focus under the instruction of a coach with knowledge of shooting mechanics. In a game you do not want to hesitate.
• No matter how much you practice or how good of a shooter you usually are, there will be times when for a variety of reasons you find that you are having trouble making shots. Left untreated or reacting in a negative manner, these slumps can turn into major confidence busters and can distract you so that you are not effective in other aspects of the game either.

Achieving focus
• There are many programs available to helping players achieve better focus. Most of these programs use forms of meditation to achieve these states. I have used many of these programs to do directed meditations or hypnosis with teams I have coached. I believe it helps. Like any skill the players need to take ownership and practice this skill on their own.
Achieving confidence
• Like achieving focus, achieving confidence is a skill. More detail in my blog Is Confidence A Skill Achieving
Autonomic Shot

• Constructing shooting drills that are fast paced, game spots and game speed and one for one.
• There should be a progression.
• You will need to have your mechanics automatic. Putting in a lot of work does not make you better. Putting in deliberate work makes you better
• You will need to get many receptions in. It is not uncommon for good shooters to put up 500 – 1500 shots a day. Depending on the habit we are trying to create it could be deliberate practice over 21 days, or if you are familiar with books like Malcolm Gladwell Outliers it could be up to 10,000 hours of deliberate practice.
• Once you have become efficient at hitting shots from spots, you need to now challenge yourself by hitting game shots from game spots at game speed. You can achieve this on your own or with partners. You can time your drills to make this competitive. You can make sure you are hitting 70% of your shots when they are uncontested in drills. You can combine these tow factors time and percent to make your drills deliberate.
• You add into your drills shooting from a different spot with each shot. You might be working on 5 spots, but make sure you move to the next spot each shot. This helps with becoming one for one.
• Add in defense. You must master one-on-none before you got one-on-one, but when you are ready, this will add another element that will help you become a one-for-one shooter.

Achieving Zone• The hallmark of flow or being in the zone is a feeling of being emotionally “neutral”. Having interviewed many players and reflecting back at my own experiences. I have come to this conclusion. Players all describe the experience the same, in that they are able to see plays ahead of the game, the game seems to be at a slow speed, that every shot feels like a winner, the hoop seems the size of a child’s swimming pool, but the emotional scale of joy are anger is always neutrals while this is taking place. To achieve a flow state, a balance must be struck between the challenge of the task and the skill of the performer. If the task is too easy or too difficult, flow cannot occur. This is partly why I oppose coaches who say if you want to get better you must play up age groups. I say when it’s appropriate. Sure way to kill confidence in a player is to give them a challenge they are just not up to the task of achieving. Can you call on this state of mind? I think you can do it more frequently then how most players describe it, including Bill Russell “it’s great when it happens, but it’s random when it does happen”.
• There are more and more books on the market about achieving Zone. I think the key to achieving it is tying some type of mental imagery to the sensation. I think through meditation and this association you are more likely to be able to call upon this state of mind.

If you are interested in One-For-One Shooting programs. You can purchase a 744 shot program that can be completed in 1.5 - 2.0 hours depending on the level of your players by contacting me.
Coach Paul