I worked with Point Guard College over the summer and was so excited and moved by the level of basic fundamentals that we taught the athletes at our sessions…and how much each player improved by applying the basics to competitive play. One idea we taught stood out to me, especially with the younger athletes who often want to mimic the moves they see on TV: “Simple over sizzle.” Everyone wants to shoot deep three’s like Curry, step backs like Harden, but is that really going to help them? In a real game? At their age and competition level?
Kobe Bryant evaluates the effectiveness of Kyrie Irving’s game, and he acknowledges that, yes, Kyrie has some sizzle at times, but Kyrie is a master of the basics. He is a deadly shooter, he can beat you left or right, he knows how and when to hit his teammates. Kobe says, “Shooting is the key that opens every door the game has to offer.” How does the defense guard you if you can’t shoot the ball? Sometimes, young players forget that these professionals are masters of the fundamentals, then they add some sizzle here and there.
Having the maturity and focus to choose the simple over the sizzle makes your time spent in the gym much much more productive. Some players want to work on step backs and complicated footwork when they cannot even use their weak hand confidently. There is a time and a place to add deception to your game, but what you should spend the majority of your time repping is the simple fundamentals: your shot, your passing, your handle, your movement without the ball. Can you finish/pass with both hands? Can you consistently knock down a 16 foot shot off the catch and off the bounce? How effective is your shot fake?
The game of basketball is infinitely deep…you will never be “good enough” to stop adding to your game. But be sure to evaluate that you are working on the simple basics regularly, because that is what prepares you to be successful in game situations. Simple over Sizzle.
Stay Tuned: Part 2, Kobe’s boring workout
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