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May 08, 2024   |   Tagged Motivation,

Important Ways to Build Basketball Expertise

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How do you determine if you are a basketball expert?

A coach working with high school players was surprised when the worst shooter on the court told her what she liked about her own skillset was that she was a “good” shooter.

The coach was flabbergasted for a minute. Then she replied, “How did you determine that you are a good shooter?” This young player boldly told her that she made more shots than others in practice. Curious to see how this blindness could be so complete, the coach created shooting games that demanded players to make a certain percentage to stay in the drill.

This simple elimination test exposed the girl’s faulty beliefs. She realized she was not good at shooting and needed many serious hours of practice before pronouncing herself a good shooter.

The coach outlined some daily specific shooting workouts the player could do for 10-15 minutes every day. By the end of the season, she was shooting better and becoming a trustworthy teammate when she took shots in games. Feeling that we are good at a skill is not the same as being good at one. This requires data and proof. What are the stats? Don’t assume you are a good shooter. Prove it repeatedly.

Important Ways to Build Basketball Expertise

A. Commit to the long journey of becoming better. Realize this doesn’t happen immediately. This

requires hours of hard work and years of practice.

B. Reflect on what you learn. One of the biggest separators between those who do great work and those who do work they think is great, is a correct reflection of work and self-responsibility. Those who reflect after each game or practice and ask the tough questions, “What worked, what needs to be improved,

where did I come up short, what can I do to close the gap on what I did and what I would like to do?”

had greater long-term improvement than athletes who did not reflect and self-assess.

C. Struggle. If it is too easy, you aren’t learning. It’s simple. You need to be at the perfect threshold where you almost have the skill, but not quite. Struggle=perseverance=proven character=belief that what is not yet reality will be reality.

D. Practice like you play. Though a player can gain some knowledge about their game during film sessions, the best place to learn is where you will be playing. Replication of a skill is best when the skill is replicated in the same place. For example, a lifeguard who learns about saving lives in a classroom versus in the pool is not as skilled as those who learned while in the water. Similarly, learning on the court translates to real changes on the court.

E. Most people are terrible at skill assessment. They base whether they are learning or improving on

emotional feeling rather than on clear understanding. Too often a student will favor a “new” drill they have never done before over a harder drill they know that makes them work. New is not necessarily better.

F. Emotions are poor barometers of improvement. Sometimes we FEEL like we are amazing and sometimes we FEEL like we aren’t good at all. People with a grit mindset don’t use feelings as a gauge of skill development. They use goals and stats. Testing is your measurement. It tells the truth. Just like you can feel like you are losing weight, but the scale doesn’t lie. You can feel like you are shooting well but if you are five for fifteen, that’s not great. You can feel like you are shutting down your defender, but their points will tell you the truth. Base your improvement on the numbers, not on your feelings.

About NBC Basketball
NBC Camps has been training athletes since 1971 and have grown to be one of the largest most respected basketball programs in the world located in six countries. For more information about NBC Basketball visit www.nbccamps.com.

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