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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Fast Five: How Do You Get an "A" in Basketball?

How do we grade our students? Irony dictates that your grade depends mostly upon what you did for your teammates.

We may not give formal grades, but we constantly assess players and teams. How do you earn an 'A' in basketball?

First, consider inversion...the opposite of excellence. What deconstructs success? 

The self-destructive player commits mental errors, especially repetitive ones. Common mistakes include missed defensive individual assignments, lack of help, poor communication, and bad shot selection. Everyone commits physical errors, like bad passes, missed layups, and fouling. But quality players seldom make mental mistakes. 

Second, what positive attitudes are overrepresented among excellence?

Basketball is important to superior players. By definition, extracurricular activities are optional. Superior players invest mental and physical energy. "Success leaves footprints" with better attention, commitment, discipline, and preparation among the most effective players. Every excellent player wants coaching.

Third, "A" players make better decisions. They don't focus on their glass isn't half empty or half full; they're constantly filling it. Decision-making includes both their off court behavior (rest, exercise, diet, study) and on-court offensive and defensive reads. 

Fourth, successful players uniformly see their work as craft, elevate their game, and seek mastery. They add layers to their game and build a portfolio tiered upon physical and mental skills.

Finally, the best players execute at a consistently high level. They find ways to contribute when parts of their game aren't working. They force coaches to put them on the floor because they are success machines. Pete Carril called some players "light bulbs." "They walk on the floor, the light goes on." - February 6, 1991. 

I call them transitional objects as we coaches can't do without them

Lagniappe: (a reminder that Lagniappe is 'something extra, unexpected, a little special"

More from the Xavier (top four seed) basketball newsletter...

Even better, don't use chairs or cones, include a defender. 

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