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Sunday, December 2, 2018

Basketball: Do Your Players Get It?

Pete Newell said coaches teach players to see the game. Vision implies translating possibility (how the chess pieces move) to reality, execution within the emotional context of the game. 

Leveraging vision to decision-making and execution demands intense focus and years of practice. 

It starts with playing possession by possession, "in the moment." A game hangs in the balance on execution of the opening tap, a random blockout in the first two minutes, a cheap foul in the first quarter, or taking the wrong angle on a chase down (below). 

I know our players aren't the only ones who make mental mistakes. Every game reinforces lessons, from Pythagoras (above) to Aristotle ("excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit"). 

I held a postgame conference (players and parents) after our opening win yesterday about becoming exceptional. Limiting disappointment requires exceptional habits - in school, music or drama, and athletics.  

"Play with full force." Be fully engaged. In soccer, they call it "sticking your nose in". 

There are no 50-50 balls. A rebound is not a tie-ball. Secure possession, protect the ball, and advance it (to another player when necessary). 

"Great offense is multiple actions." Pass and cut (give-and-go). Drive and finish. Drive and kick. Screen and roll. Rebound and outlet. It goes on and on. 

"Great defense is multiple actions." See and communicate. Help and rotate. Help and recover. Sprint back and shape up...and so forth. 

As coaches we say, "tell me something I don't know." But watch every game, from youth through professional, and the same mistakes appear...I saw at least eight travels called in the Celtics game last night. Wing to top passes got stolen. Rollers rolled the wrong way. Defenders left the corner 3 open. 

We don't know it all and we need to monitor how we play constantly. 

Lagniappe: via Chris Oliver
Screener to scorer. 

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