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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Fast Five: Focus, "Ball Gravity" and "Night at the Opera" Basketball

"Whatever did or didn't happen in the past is a matter of record, so I'll leave the commentary on that to you guys. I think we really need to just focus on what we're doing." - Bill Belichick 

What does my team need now? We need fundamental skill the most. We need "this drill." We can't practice motion offense, quick hitters, or matchup defenses. We struggle to make layups, free throws, set up cuts, or screen AND roll. Right now, we're playing "rec ball." That's to be expected with a young group. Give it time. 

Reviewing Newellian footwork and balance, and improving maneuvering speed are the details that matter most for us. 

EDIR. Explain. Demonstrate. Imitate. Repeat. 

  • Explain how a long jab step creates imbalance and makes either 'jab and go' or rip moves harder. Center of gravity? Forget about it.
  • Show why it's better to rip high or low to keep defenders out of your "strike zone.
  • Read whether to attack the front hand (or foot) or the 'swinging gate.' 
  • Find solutions to 'creating space' and get open shots. Not many will go in right now. 

How can we speculate when we're getting closer? Offensively, we don't understand "offense is spacing and spacing is offense." The worst NBA teams space well. When we play 3-on-3 inside the split, the "ball gravity" is killing our spacing. "The ball is a camera." You don't want a closeup of your nose. 

After spacing, you must make basketball plays. Attack the basket, operate in the post, make open shots. Early on, it's Night at the Opera basketball (me-me-me). We're far away from being able to "draw two" defenders and pass to open players. 

We can serve up a taste of early complexity. Show them how a basic dribble handoff (above) opens up a downhill drive and how adding a second screen (below) becomes almost impossible to defend.

"Do the next right thing right." - Don Meyer

A World Champion explains focus. "Focus is simply choosing the right thought among thousands." 

I remember reading (A Sense of Where You Are, John McPhee) that Bill Bradley focused on shooting free throws by concentrating to hit the center of the four bolts that tied the rim to the backboard. That's focus. Focus gets results. Find out where focus belongs.

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