Why we fail to produce more truly skilled players.

10,000 hour rule

Becoming an elite player is about developing great habits, and then practice, practice, practicing (10,000 hours) until they become automatic.

The reason most young athletes don’t develop into great players isn’t lack of desire, or talent, or even willingness to put in the necessary practice time…it’s that the way we train players is totally backwards.

Think about it! Young players with little knowledge of the game start “practicing” their skills. In this crucial stage of development, when his initial basketball habits are formed, the player has virtually no idea what really makes the difference between success and failure.

If these young players do have a coach, he/she will likely be the least experienced coach this player will ever have. Players that don’t get good coaching will most likely develop bad habits.

 

Breaking habits isn’t easy!

Think about trying to quit smoking. Research has shown that nicotine is completely out of a smoker’s system within a couple days of quitting cigarettes.  The reason that most people struggle to quit isn’t because of drug addiction, but because of how hard it is to break habits.

The same forces of habit that kill thousands of people each year also affect your game.

The way you move your body, the way you catch and hold the ball, your shooting technique…everything you do on the court is a reflection of the habits you have developed as a player.

 

Just Don’t Do It

Whether you’ve starting smoking, dribbling with your head down or dipping with the ball before going into your shot, these bad habits can be very difficult to break.

It’s pretty obvious that the best way to guarantee someone doesn’t become a smoker is to have him not start in the first place. Your basketball game is no different.  You have to be very careful not to develop bad habits because they will be really hard to break.

 

Why we have it all backwards

Where did you learn your habits? Were they from a great coach or player?

Unfortunately, because of the way our sporting system works in North America, young, impressionable players usually get the least experienced coaches…and are therefore unlikely to be taught optimal technique. During this crucial period of development, players are as likely to develop bad habits as good.

Further compounding the problem, we too often throw players into game situations that they aren’t prepared for…and the players develop more bad habits as a result.

 

My vision of change

If we want to start producing more truly great players, we need to reverse the trend of using the least experienced coaches to train new players starting out in the game.

At Split Second Basketball we are doing our part to change this training cycle by teaching young players what they need know to develop great habits, right from the beginning. Each week in class we review the most important basketball habits and then focus on the one or two that we really want to reinforce.

If, as a basketball community we can provide better training right from the beginning, we will create an environment where players are much more skilled and have more fun playing the game.

 

 7 bad habits to avoid…instead of having to break later

  1. dribbling with your head down
  2. dipping the ball as part of your shooting release
  3. holding the ball without your wrist cocked or in athletic stance
  4. sulking after you make a mistake
  5. taking a step as part of your shooting rhythm
  6. doing one foot, off balance lay-ups
  7. hurling your body towards the basket with speed but not control