Players: You want to bring something to the game – bring something to your team that can immediately affect the outcome of the game, but you don’t time to acquire a new skill like shooting, or point-guard-dribbling-abilities, or ten more pounds of muscle. These things take time – usually off-season time.
What can you bring RIGHT NOW?! What can you bring to today’s practice or today’s game simply by making a focused effort to actually “bring it”?
When your opponent gains possession of the ball, there are three things you can do that take no skills and no drills:
- Get in a stance.
- Move in a stance.
- Stay in a stance until your team gets the ball.
Notice that I’ve not said anything ABOUT your stance. I’ve not said anything about your position on the floor, or which way to force the ball, or how close to play the ball, etc.
If you don’t know what a stance is, just bend everything except your back and have your feet shoulder width apart or perhaps slightly wider. If you still can’t picture what a “stance” should look like, pretend that someone is stepping towards you, within hand-shake distance, and has bad intentions – plans to do you bodily harm! Are you going to run or are you going to fight? Fight or Flight syndrome? I don’t care which one you do, but I know what the stance for either one looks like! That’s the stance that I want you to get in, move in, and stay in until we get the ball!
In Skills for Drills #2 and Skills for Drills #3, I spoke about Anticipating and Talking on defense. Getting in a stance will instantly raise your awareness and focus! Your mind and body are intimately and wonderfully connected. What you do with one ALWAYS affect the other. If you think about running, your heart rate will go up. If you anticipate and think about pain, your blood pressure will go up.
The opposite is true. Getting on your knees is a humbling position that facilitates a prayerful attitude and prayerful thoughts. Holding a pencil with notebook open facilitates retention in the classroom. Holding your follow-through after a shot increases your mental focus on your target – the rim! More shots go in with those who hold a 1 second follow-through than those who don’t. Why? The ball has already left their hands! That shouldn’t affect the shot, but it does!
On defense, getting in a stance, moving in a stance, staying in a stance, takes no talent – just effort; something you can bring to practice or the game today – right now!