Get Good At Simple
I tweeted out a thought a couple of days ago and it got me thinking about a younger player’s approach to improvement. The tweet was “Improving skill isn’t complicated. And it isn’t easy.” As I spend time this summer working with younger players and look at the future of a high school program, it makes me think about what players need to be good at to be productive contributors at the next level. It’s really so simple.
-Players at the high school level have to be able to knock down shots. Working on your shot isn’t overly complicated, but it certainly requires hours and hours of dedicated practice and thousands of reps shooting the basketball with good fundamentals. Not complicated—just boring, consistent reps.
-Finishing with either hand at the rim is a must if you want to be a threat at the next level against the upper level teams. If your not great at the rim, or you only have one hand as an option at the rim, you are not a major offensive threat because good defenses will take away what you are best at. Rep your weak hand constantly. Don’t allow it to hold you back at the next level, even if you are good enough without it at your current level.
-Players at the high school level must be good at passing and catching. This is a team sport, and if you cannot make a play for someone else then you aren’t contributing how you should be. Passing and catching are skills that good players work on.
-Defend. Only players with really high offensive ability can get away with average defense, and even then they are a liability to their team. Be able to guard the ball, be able to slide laterally, to help your teammates off the ball with your IQ and rotation. Learn from listening to coaches, watching basketball on tv, working on your footwork, and simply wanting to be great at this.
These four simple areas of a player’s game — definitely not very complicated, but also not “easy” to master. Get really good at them. Spend more time in these areas if you want to have an impact at the next level. Want to start at the high school varsity level? Maximize your potential in these four areas. Want to play after high school? Build this foundation and then multiply with consistency, IQ, and a super competitive mindset of wanting to be the best. Nothing worth having comes easy.
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