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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Universal Questions for Basketball Players

"I'm working to improve." That's vanilla, nonspecific, and meaningless. Everything we say (and don't) conveys a message. 

Probe the player's mind for real insight. When players have no answer, it's usually because they lack solutions to game problems. 

1) Charles Barkley asked, "What is your NBA TALENT?" Bill Russell explained, "imagination leads to innovation leading to differentiation." 

Successful players finds solution to maximize ability and performance. Everyone can't be great but can deliver their best. 

Self-awareness and self-regulation matter. "The process by which individuals consciously attempt to constrain unwanted thoughts, feelings,  and  behaviors  and  bring  these  in line with  ideals  or  goals  is  termed  self-regulation,  or self-control.  The  ability  to self-regulate  has  been shown to contribute positively to performance and behavior in a number of domains, including sport and exercise." Self-regulation lies at the core of accountability. 

2) What is your GO TO and COUNTER move? 

Ask young players this - blank stares. That's the beginning. Assemble a list of possibilities then develop (or as coaches, teach) tools to score. 

3) What are your FOUR WAYS TO SCORE

Catalog the game - inside, mid-range, perimeter. Scoring off the catch, dribble, one and two-dribble moves. Score off rebounds, in transition, at the line. But practice and theory must converge. 

4) What gets you and keeps you on the floor

Minutes begin with effort, intelligent play, and unselfishness (play HARD, SMART, TOGETHER). But coaches reward execution. Execution means winning possessions (scoring, disallowing scoring) or getting possessions (rebounding, steals, deflections, taking charges). 

5) How specifically do you make the players around you better

Great players make teammates better. Inform us. "Show me." As an assistant, I kept a "ratings performance system."

6) What are your weaknesses and how are you addressing weaknesses

In a Podcast, Shane Larkin answered that an NBA executive told him that to have a career, he has to score from three at the 38-40 percent level and Shane also commented that he has to be a 'total pest' on defense. Larkin is working on his perimeter game ("I can get into the lane") and individual defense. 

7. Are you a 'system' player, a 'versatile' player and do you know the difference? 

Humans ability to change, to reinvent ourselves, and constantly develop (through neuroplasticity our brains can change structure and function even as we age) separate us from animals. The more ways a player can contribute, the more positions she can defend, the greater her possible role. Are you a scorer, a facilitator, or a screener? Do more of what works and less of what doesn't. Coach Bob Knight remarked, "just because I want you on the floor doesn't mean I want you to shoot." 

"Know thyself," but work to become more. Find the answers. Figure it out. 

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