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Monday, April 16, 2018

Basketball: Overcoming Pressure Points

Each of us has 'core beliefs' about effective process. "Good teams can apply and withstand defensive pressure." A team that wilts under pressure fails against quality teams. A handful of possessions defines destiny or disaster. 

Psychologist and trader Brett Steenbarger notes, "Here's a psychological principle you can count on:  As conditions become more challenging and dangerous, peak performers respond with increasing mental quiet and focus."

Tom Cruise gets advice to quiet his mind. This theme repeats in storytelling, "you are The Last Dragon", The Karate Kid, "focus power", and even in the comedy Caddyshack, "be the ball." Successful players quiet the mind. A sports psychologist advised Derek Jeter on how to deport himself to build confidence. His exaggerated erect walk to the plate informed quiet confidence. Yoda tells Luke Skywalker, "do or do not, there is no try." 

My two favorite pressure 'drills' are 'gauntlet' and five on seven 'disadvantage', the latter with additional defenders and no dribbling allowed. 

Two offensive players must navigate four sets of defenders in their areas. I usually allow one per touch. The drill demands cutting, passing, catching, and good decisions. The best players find a way to defeat the defense. 

Basketball Immersion recommends a variety of methods to mitigate pressure.

Avoiding "primary trap zones" (yellow) makes your life easier. 

In another post, BI counsels "Passing the ball inbound directly to the ball side corner creates a disadvantage for an offense." In the ball side corner, defenders use the "primary trap zone" (boundaries converge) to limit passer options. 

Good coaching eschews haphazard selection of inbounders. Allowing turnovers near our basket not only loses of possession and usual creates an easy score and potential momentum shifts. 


Bad spacing or crafty offense? 

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