By ONE2ONE Team
Some thoughts on getting ready to perform...
Basic strength and conditioning and exercise theory continues to tell us that static stretching has little to no place in a warm up for a predominantly dynamic sport like basketball.
Most coaches will agree with this and are coaching warm ups appropriately. When designing a warm up we always need to remember we are trying to put an athlete in the best physical position to succeed at performing their sport, either at training or in a game.
Basketball, and of course most team sports, are quick and dynamic in nature. This makes sense that our warm up and stretches need to imitate this.
So if we are now all being told to stretch and move dynamically during warm ups does static stretching have a place?
At ONE2ONE Basketball we believe so.
Now this isn’t a statement to create a buzz and we have to stress our warm ups are predominantly dynamic and of course specific to basketball. For us to not coach our warm ups this way would be foolish on our part. It would be foolish because it is ignoring research that tells us that dynamic movements lead to improved performance and that solely focusing on static stretches can potentially hinder performance.
A lot of us are under the assumption that static stretching and basic mobility exercises work on improving range of motion around a joint. We’d agree and we’d also say that improving range of motion around a joint can help us perform the more dynamic aspects of a warm up, and in turn the sport, more effectively.
Our warm ups generally follow the following order:
- Dynamic Stretches
- Basketball Specific (without the ball)
- Basketball specific (with the ball)
The mobility part though not always strictly static does involve stretches at a slower rate and are far more similar to traditional stretches than the second half. Most of our players (who hit the court 5+ times per week) tend to struggle with their flexibility. The amount of activity they do combined with their height suggests this is quite an obvious observation.
The reason we’re making this point is that a lot of our players find mobility hard work, they constantly ask for the S&C team to help ‘loosen them up’ before practice. With all of this in mind it’s fair to say that the mobility section of the warm up is hard work and therefore increases the players’ heart rate and breathing rate. Therefore it essentially works as our pulse raiser, as well as helping the players’ in their own words ‘feel loose’. Though you could argue technically the amount of time we’ll spend in the warm up on this section will not have a huge impact on a players’ range of motion, sometimes you need to put the science to the side and listen to what your players want. We’ll take a guess that most coaches out there can relate to have hearing the term ‘get loose’ from their players.
Once this has been done our athletes will move onto to their dynamic warm up, generally from baseline to half court, but sometimes while standing on the spot. They essentially stretch but on the move. We work on all areas of the body but it is certainly at a higher tempo than the previous section.
As S&C coaches our final contribution to the warm up is to make it specific to basketball. We usually start without the ball, for example imitate defensive stance, add some cuts across the court or work on some pivoting motions. Jump stops, landing mechanics and running mechanics are also worked on, and we try and plan ahead which aspect we want to work on depending on what time of the season it is or what the coach feels we need to do in regards to our overall goal as a team or a player. The coach will then usually take over and we start performing with the ball.
Performing the warm up this way we feel gives our players the best possible opportunity to get ready for the demands of basketball. Whether its practice or game day the warm up is similar in nature. There of course may be slightly different coaching cues or points, for example practice warm ups may be slightly less intense than before game day, but again it will usually depend on what the coach, team or player requires.
In summary at ONE2ONE Basketball we agree with the notion that a warm up needs to be dynamic in nature, but we do feel that slower stretching and static mobility has its place. If you can add both to a warm up we feel this is greatly beneficial. You just need to make sure it follows a plan which includes easy to coach movement patterns that elevate core temperature, increased range of motion while always ending up being sport or training session specific we feel you are giving your basketball players the best opportunity to be ready to improve on court.
By Arron MacDonald
Coach MacDonald saw his playing days end early due to an inability to stay healthy.
I need to start by pointing out a couple of things:
- This is not me seeking any sympathy for "what I've been through"... I got hurt playing basketball (a game I love), and whilst I can no longer play, worse things happen to countless people every day.
- I was an idiot when I got injured. I am completely aware of this. I have been for some time (Aware, that is, not an idiot - although I may shortly present evidence to the contrary....). If there was an instruction manual for getting over injuries, I balled it up and threw it away (presumably with my good arm).
- I was not a pro player. I was a reasonably good player, who played local league and National League and (before the injuries) had the opportunity to go to a Division 3 school in the states. My injuries diminished my playing ability significantly over time - however, this piece is not about me dredging up my "glory days"... it's quite the opposite.
I'm sharing this because I've spoken to several other players across different sports who've gotten hurt and have been forced to stop playing, and the similarities in our stories compelled me to share my thoughts on this with you.
Between the ages of 14 and 30 (when I played my final season), I had a lot of injuries.
While it wasn't my intention to list them, I think it may help to illustrate just what I put my body through in my efforts to lob a ball through a hoop, so starting from the top and working down:
- Multiple concussions
- Broken nose
- Chipped teeth
- 2 x Shoulder Surgeries (after multiple dislocations)
- Bone spurs in elbow
- Double fracture of wrist
- Broken hand
- Multiple Broken fingers and thumbs
- (Ongoing) Hip Flexor Problems
- Prolapsed Disc (and Ongoing Back Problems)
- Torn Groin, Hamstrings & Quads
- Hyper-extended knee
- Torn knee ligaments
- Torn ankle ligaments
- Torn achilles
- Broken metartarsal
- Broken toes
The running joke amongst my friends and team-mates is "If I were a horse, I'd be glue". The reality behind that is that I'd have probably "been glue" before I turned 20.
At the time, we don't consider the risk that this injury could be something we're dealing with for the rest of our lives - particularly if we don't rehab it properly - and as a younger player (until I'd dealt with a few serious injuries) I thought I was unbreakable, and would simply bounce right back.
In my head, the great players got to retire like MJ at the end of his second Bulls' run... final possession of a close game, ball in their hands, shot - release - swish. Cue buzzer, trophy, confetti... glory.
In reality, more of us retire like Charles Barkley:
"His bloodied left knee wrapped in ice, future NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley sat on a training table in the Houston Rockets' locker room at First Union Center tonight and began to cry as he talked to his wife on the phone.
"It's over," he said.
Barkley had intended to retire at the end of this season, but instead his 16-year career ended 10 minutes 51 seconds into tonight's 83-73 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers when he ruptured the quadriceps tendon in his left knee while trying to block a shot."
Like Barkley (and countless others), I hung on too long, only to miss the overwhelming majority of my last season due to injury - but that wasn't the only mistake I made as a player dealing with injuries, and I want to share some of the lessons I learned with you - in the hope that another player reading this doesn't have to hang up their boots so young.
Listen to Your Body
I grew up idolising Larry Bird - and others - who were lionised for playing through the pain barrier.
I thought that playing through pain was a rite of passage for players - and while that may be true for the top tier professionals playing through guaranteed multi-year contracts, or even players with guaranteed scholarships, there's no glory in doing this as an amateur who then has a responsibility to go to class (or work) the next day in a lot of pain and discomfort.
As a player-coach, I made this mistake even more frequently.
I believed that I couldn't possibly have asked anyone to do anything I wouldn't do myself, and as such, forced myself to play with a number of injuries.
The worst of these examples was a pair of Cup Finals - one as a player, and one as a player-coach. As a player, I played 24 hours after having another car run into the back of mine, and while pulling double-duty, I played one week after tearing my ankle ligaments.
After the accident, my back, neck and shoulders were ridiculously sore, and I could hardly move; and as for the ankle injury? My entire left leg was bruised purple and black up to my hip. I'd convinced a friend of mine who worked in a hospital to cast my ankle so that I could run on it - but I was in so much pain that I threw up pre-game and at half-time.
Needless to say, we lost both games, and I didn't play to anything close to my standards.
By not taking (painfully obvious) signs on-board about my condition, I set unrealistic expectations for myself - and fell short. Moreso though, I failed my team as a leader and a team-mate... not only because playing in that condition doubtlessly shortened my playing days with them and affected our chances of getting a positive result on the day, but also because it demonstrated that I didn't have the same faith in them to perform at 100% health as I did in me to perform at nothing close to "ok".
Take Rehab Seriously
Whether your physio is with the NHS, private health insurance or through your team... put the hours in.
In the years since my first shoulder surgery, I've really contemplated the time I spent in rehab, and my behaviours around the process.
At 20 years old, I genuinely believed my shoulder would simply "recover in time", and that one day, I would simply wake up - pain free - and have the strength in my shoulder that I'd had before the surgery.
I could not have been more wrong.
Considering the perpetual funding crisis in which the NHS finds itself, I should have realised that if the doctors say you need physiotherapy, it really is a necessity - and not something which is simply "nice to have".
I was not conscientious in my rehab. Instead of doing 20 reps of each exercise, each day... I'd do 40 every other day, or forget about them for a couple of days (but of course, fill my form out anyway to say that I'd done them in order to avoid the cross-examination from the therapist).
I'd then get frustrated at my slow progress whilst visiting the physio and rather than tell myself off for not putting in the work, I'd blame the physiotherapist - conning myself that it was somehow their fault for getting me to do exercises which didn't work.
My takeaway from this is that in rehab - like anything else in life - nobody else is going to do the work for you.
Fully Understand Your Condition - and your Limitations
Following my first shoulder surgery, I thought I would return to "normal".
After half-assing my physio, I returned to the gym and ramped-up my efforts to return to playing, and managed to have a couple of successful seasons, even playing some Senior National League basketball.
It was during this time I started to feel a lot of discomfort in my shoulder - but as I've already said, I didn't tend to listen to my body. So instead, I focused-in on working out with greater frequency, trying new techniques to build strength in the arm again.
There was a quote I heard from Kobe Bryant some time since which really summed up my mental state:
"My body can take the crutches, but my mind can't take the sideline."
Mentally, I could not accept for a moment that I was still not right - I just couldn't have more time out. I was in good shape and I convinced myself that whatever the problem was, I could work through it.
It was somewhere during that season when I realised there was a major problem - one which couldn't be seen past by painkillers, ice or gritting my teeth.
My shoulder - which had already been surgically stabilised - kept coming out of socket. The point of the surgical stabilisation was to prevent this - so whereas before the surgery this hurt a little, now it was agony. I lost count of the number of times it came out, but I started to lose sensation in my hand during the worst spells - it was a really frightening time.
I missed some time (foolishly telling myself again that rest and ice would help me get back), but played out the season.
Following the season I had another consultation with the physio, who told me flatly that there was nothing they could do, and I'd need to speak to a surgeon.
Much like the first ("open") surgery, I believed that this operation would be a keyhole procedure... and once again, I was wrong.
When I came to, groggy and sore, I thought I'd had a kicking - the surgeons told me it might feel like that for a while. I did. Physically and mentally, I was beaten. I've never felt quite so down as I did when I snapped this picture of myself a day or two after my second shoulder surgery.
During the second surgery, I was told that they "keep going" until they "find something good" to act as a foundation. What they found was that the stabilisation was torn - as was my shoulder capsule and rotator cuff, along with multiple tears in the cartilage which stabilises the shoulder from inside the joint; "it should look like a tiny block of marble" I was told, "yours looks like a chunk of velcro that a dog has chewed-up and spat-out".
In trying to gain strength, I'd jumped far too far ahead of myself, and my shoulder would never be the same again. Whilst I came back to play for a couple more seasons, I later discovered I'd had three screws put into the joint in order to keep it in place.
At the time of the surgery, I was 27 years old and had started the season superbly - despite the pain. This should have been a peak season for me as a player. Instead, before December, my season was over, and if I'd known the full extent of the condition of my shoulder post-surgery, my playing days would have been too.
None of this would have happened if I'd have listened to my body, and planned rest and recovery into my schedule during the season.
"Time Out" is not "Time Off"
As athletes, when we find out we're injured, it's in our nature to find out how quickly we can get back.
From there, our competitive nature can kick in as we try to "beat the clock".
Not only is rushing your rehab like this dangerous, but when the clock beats you, it's demotivating.
I'm not in good shape any more - and when I look at the combined time I spent out with my shoulder injuries alone (essentially two and a half years), it's really not surprising...
I treated "time out" like I was on holiday. I was fortunate enough to be paid full sick leave, and so (not having to pay for my fuel, lunches out, parking and all the other incidental expenses which come along with working every day, I put my feet up...
I watched movies and played Xbox. I ordered takeaways, ate sweets and drank too much of the things I shouldn't.
During that entire time off, I read zero books. I did no work on any side project. I didn't write and I barely coached.
I wallowed, and treated myself endlessly in an unsuccessful attempt to distract myself from the reality that I was physically broken, and (frankly) depressed at being in that situation (again).
Since then? I eat sensibly, I rarely drink and I exercise with greater frequency (albeit that lifting weights and running are all-but ruled out for me now) - and it's essentially made no difference.
By treating my time on the shelf as a holiday and putting pressure on myself to come back at the earliest juncture, I put myself into a no-win situation - and got depressed by my failure to overcome the insane odds I'd stacked against myself.
Knowing now what I know then, I'd want to know the average range of recovery times, and would tell myself relentlessly that I was only expected to come back at the latest of that range of times. I would use a recipe box or meal prep service to ensure that my diet remained consistent and healthy. I'd have invested in books rather than movies, and spent more times watching TED talks and studying than playing Xbox.
If You're Currently Injured...
As athletes, at some point in time, you will likely face a prolonged period of time on the shelf with an injury at some point in your playing career, regardless of the level you play at.
When that happens, despite you thinking that you can play through it, that the rehab is boring and unnecessary, that you have no limits or that you can just chill and wait it out... you can't.
It will catch up with you.
You also can't change what's happened to you, and there is really no value in moping and dwelling on it, wishing for what might have been.
I'd encourage you instead, to look at any prolonged period of time out as an opportunity for growth, and to try to do the following:
Whatever it is that's happened, take 2-3 days and rest up as much as you can... it will do you the world of good, and taking that time out gives you plenty of time to wrap your head around the situation and think through what happens next.
If you haven't already, read the books of Jon Gordon and Malcolm Gladwell - who will help you to not only be more positive, but also to think about what you're thinking, and how to change it. If you've already got through those, ask your coach to recommend some books - or tweet me, I'll happily share some ideas with you.
Continue to be a part of the team:
If it's feasible for you to be at training, be at training. Know the playbook inside-out and mentor a less confident team-mate, run the clock or scoreboard, talk to your team-mates...
It might be hard in the moment knowing that you can't join them on the floor - but by being there, communicating and supporting them, you're being a servant leader; but more than that, you're continuing to interact with your team and be a part of it - and it will motivate you to get back there.
Don't chuck the diet out of the window.
Don't just wallow in front of the telly or Xbox.
Do ensure you follow your rehab plan to the letter.
Set yourself a list of "SMART" daily goals - and do your best to achieve them every day.
There's one last story I have to share on the subject of discipline...
By the time I was getting over a prolapsed disc in my final season, I'd finally started to take this on-board...
I spent an hour a day stretching. I went for walks and listened to podcasts. I read books and wrote. I limited my screen time. Before I went to bed each night, I wrote a list of what I would accomplish the following day - it started with waking up at 6:30am every day, and making my bed.
By having a list of goals for me to accomplish every day, I had a purpose, and when I came back, it was easier for me to remain disciplined... the 6:30 alarm calls moved to 4:30am, when I got into the gym while everyone else slept for an hour and a half, on my own, and found my jumpshot again, determined to see the season out once I knew I was healthy enough to return.
After diligently rehabbing (for a change), I played the final two months of the season alongside some of my oldest friends, winning a (pretty meaningless) division, but losing a (pretty meaningless) playoff final - I was our leading scorer in my final game, and throughout my final season (when I was able to play)... it was the lowest level I've ever competed at, but was one of the happiest periods of my life on-court.
Ever since then, I've regretted not approaching my first rehab in the same way I approached my last - because I'd probably still be playing now.
Thankfully though, my mind can finally take the sidelines - and I hope that my sharing this with you will help someone else adjust to their time on the shelf, and come back better than they were before.
By Tom Sadler
Coach Sadler shares five ways for any player to be a better team-mate...
With the basketball season fast approaching here in Europe teams are starting to get an idea of how their rosters will look. Unfortunately in this game not every player is blessed with great talent, but every player regardless of ability can still be a great team mate and bring something productive to their teams..
By Tom Sadler
Coach Sadler shares five areas of focus to help you become a better player...
Let’s start with something that every player needs to ingrain in to their mind… You can never stop improving your game!
Whether you are someone who is starting out or you are a seasoned veteran, it is so important to workout in your own time. When you take charge of this you can and will improve as well as keep your game sharp.
With this said you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. One of my favourite rules is to keep it simple. The more you work something, the more effective it will be become, the more shots you put up, the more likely you are to make them, the more ball handling work you do the less turnovers you’ll commit…. Simple but effective practice can be so helpful in making you a nightmare matchup on the court.
The moves below are just that, simple yet effective and when used correctly can be used with the purpose of creating an offensive advantage for both yourself and your teammates.
I must emphasise that these moves do not involve over dribbling.
Crossover Dribble – One of the most basic moves in basketball, but highly effective. To clarify there are not only some variations of the basic cross over but also there are lots of counters to it.
Behind the Back- Again a very basic but effective move with many counter moves that you can add as your game develops and improves. This move can allow you to change directions by dribbling the ball behind your back protecting the ball from your defender. Footwork is critical here.
In and out move- one of my favourite moves to do, and is very effective in freezing the defender and forcing them to get caught out of position allowing lanes to attack. Very simple move that can be done with either hand.
Shot fake- one of the most underused but most effective moves in basketball, why shoot the ball under pressure? How many times have you heard coach’s say ‘’sell the move’’, well it’s no secret that if you can ‘’sell the move’’ well enough and get the defender to buy it, you’ll be able to create space for yourself all day long that will always allow you create an offensive advantage.
Step back-a lot of coaches will never teach their players this move, however if taught correctly can be a very effective move that will allow the player to create space allowing a shooter an open jump shot without pressure from the defence. The step back should not fall in to a fade away jump shot, but should step back to an on balance shot.
By Tom Sadler
Coach Sadler shares his thoughts on the "Ranking" culture in one of our all-time most-engaging posts...
There is no doubt that the game of basketball in this country (England) is growing for the better, it seems like we finally have the right people in place to help with the development, profile, and growth of the game. And who are working incredibly hard to be a part of the solution and not the problem.
The last few summers we have seen a rise in a number of high profile camps that have been launched, all of which have the best interest of the players and the profile of the game at heart. And I totally get it and fully support them all.
I work specifically with the age group that are eligible for these camps and who are at the most crucial stage of their basketball development. From my own experience, having played in the high school system in the states, and having attended various camps and being ranked (in state) to the All-America Nominations were all very well and great for my personal profile, and confidence, but evaluations that I received from my coaches I felt played a more significant role in helping me get to where I needed to be.
The majority of the time rankings are established with players on winning team’s based solely on statistics or some type of personal favour for someone. They cannot possibly cover every player and compare them equally and without bias. So what does this ranking do for that ranked player?? And more importantly how does this ranking help a player get better?? I think what it can do in some cases is give players who are ranked a false sense of how good they really are. And then in the case of player who isn’t ranked at all, can make them think that they aren’t good at all.
From my point of view honest and unbiased player evaluations are crucial for players to get better, and whether or not a player is ranked they should always be looking for ways to get better! The best evaluations will show a player what they must do in order to get to the next level.
A little food for thought…
By Arron MacDonald
Coach MacDonald walks you through different ways to implement your team's offence...
When it comes to coaches, we're generally quite an opinionated bunch... almost every coach I speak to has a "go-to" offence against different defences (it's one of the reasons we didn't want to be another site offering basketball plays for coaches!).
But when I speak to less-experienced coaches, while they're equally apt to fall in love with a motion or action that they've seen, they're sometimes not too sure how to go about getting their team to run it, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to work through some of the steps I've previously used with my teams to help them to embed a new offence.
For me, everything on the offensive end starts here...
If you cannot break the set down into certain actions giving multiple options for a shooting drill, it's probably not a very effective play!
Think about ways to break the play down into the actions you want, and get every player reps in every part of these actions - as this will help everyone to embed the offence more quickly.
I absolutely realise that on-air work is less than ideal in terms of building decision-making, but I'm still yet to see a better way to simply introduce structure.
We generally move from the breakdown into the "flow" of the offence in a short (5-10 minute max) "on-air" section of our practice.
Before we're ready to run with the offence, we need to build some decision-making into it. As coaches, we have to accept a certain element of chaos in whatever we're running, purely because we cannot account for the actions of the defence.
I like to work with 3 defenders playing "semi-live". In this context, I mean they're encouraged to get into passing lanes, close out to the ball, contest shots and box out - but not to chase steals, block shots, etc... this is because I want my players to see the potential obstacles they'll face in the game with the confidence that they can still beat it - remember, at this stage, we're still learning the offence and "feeling it out".
To help us to embed the offence, we normally move into "up-downs" - going up the court either "on air" (but conditioned to run a fixed number of passes / ball reversals / a certain action) or in a semi-live overload situation (as above), before coming back down court against a full team of players.
We find that mixing it up like this (and giving two offences for every full defensive possession) really helps us to understand where the defence is likely to cheat, if there are any pinch points in the offence and where the gaps are.
I'm a big fan of conditioned scrimmages in most training sessions, so having one where we're implementing an offence likely won't surprise any of the players I've worked with before!
While I see a lot of coaches go to the "minimum number of passes/ball reversals" (and I believe this has merits), I feel there always has to be a "real game" feel to scrimmaging, while still rewarding the team for improving their execution, so we always set the tone that every competitive drill has a defensive focus on it... we want to develop a team who compete for stops.
Other ways I've done this before is to add a point for every ball reversal or pass before a basket - which naturally adds an element of competition (after all, a layup after multiple passes suddenly becomes more valuable than a three). Another way of adding the "game real" element is to return the ball to the attacking team on a fast-break score, or if they manage to get an uncontested layup within the number of passes we desire - as this really ramps up the defensive intensity.
During scrimmages, I regularly give teams a 30-60 second timeout to discuss what's going on. It's important to me that these interactions are player led (although I often have an Assistant Coach monitor them and steer the conversation, where necessary - particularly early in the season).
One way I've changed this up recently (after listening to a podcast with Coach Alan Keane) is to have the players ask whether they've committed to the game plan (ie: appropriately running the offence and defence) - if the players cannot honestly answer "yes", they forfeit the timeout... because we don't want to spend time and energy focusing on fixing poor behaviours.
Finally, we move into running the offence in a live environment, (generally) free of conditions - and hopefully, we've got it down!
If you would like a ONE2ONE Coach to work with your team, get in touch with us here, or alternatively, you can find our full range of coaching materials available to purchase in our store.
By Tom Sadler
Coach Sadler shares his thoughts on one of the most important factors in developing into an elite shooter...
Form shooting could possibly be one of the most important exercises that you can do as a basketball player, yet is constantly underappreciated due to its simplicity. Whether form shooting is used as part of your game prep, warm up before practice, or as part of you individual workout it is an excellent tool to use to improve shooting.
It may seem like a boring mundane task that coaches have you do at the start of practice, but it plays a much bigger part in the overall success you will have as a basketball player if done right.
When form shooting you must remember:
Form shooting shouldn’t really take up much time either. Look to shoot around 50 shots from 5 to 10 feet, facing up at the basket. Not only will this help your form improve it will also help you develop an amazing confidence from seeing the ball go in the basket over and over again.
By ONE2ONE Team
A quick team finishing drill to help set the tone at practice...
The "Two Minutes of Hell" drill is designed to get your team a lot of finishing practice under time pressure, whilst also working on conditioning and
We start with two queues on the sideline without basketballs and two players under one basket with one basketball each.
We pass the ball to the nearest queue, and they pass it onto the next queue (with the passer joining the queue). Meanwhile, the player who started with the ball has been sprinting hard towards the opposite basket - they receive a pass and finish with the layup.
The passer crashes the glass, getting the rebound before it hits the floor, while the shooter sets off towards the opposite hoop.
The rebounder has to pass the ball ahead before they cross the foul line, throwing a "quarterback pass" (planting the outside foot and throwing with the outside hand) for the lead player to take their second layup. They have to follow their pass to get the rebound - outletting it to the first queue and becoming the shooter.
We run the drill for two minutes each side, keeping track of the score (and misses!) to set a standard compete against in future sessions.
It's essential that this drill is run at MAXIMUM pace throughout and that the players on the sideline without a basketball are encouraging throughout - that way we ensure that the standard is set at the highest level early in the season, and we have to compete against that standard every time the drill is run.
You can find our curriculum of team session plans, and our Drill Bible in our webstore; you can also get in touch with one of our coaches to book a ONE2ONE Basketball workout!
By Arron MacDonald
Coach MacDonald focuses in on one of his all-time favourite players...
My first two "In Focus" pieces zoomed-in on undoubted first ballot hall-of-famers in KG and Tim Duncan - in my opinion two of the finest power forwards to ever grace the game.
So it might surprise some people that the next player that sprung to mind for me was someone who averaged double-digit points per game just once in his career. In fact, for some of the younger readers out there, they may not even know who the man known as "Casa" is...
Eddie House was (perhaps generously) listed at 6'1", stocky built, rocking a headband, tattoos and baggy shorts, and was a streaky scorer - fluctating between being "Mr Irrational Confidence" and a walking bucket (as could be seen as he is one of only twenty-one players to-date to have scored 60 or more points in an NCAA Division 1 game).
He had a habit of shooting first, second and third - and asking questions only when absolutely necessary. Whilst I won't pretend I ever played at anything close to that level, there were times I'm sure that my team-mates may have thought my game carried somewhat of a resemblence to Mr House's...
Full disclaimer - I do own an Eddie House autographed picture. I did post angry things on social media when Danny Ainge traded Eddie away for Nate Robinson, and I did get a very strange look in the NBA store when I asked their staff to look out back for an authentic Celtics Eddie House jersey (they were, to my amazement - not theirs - "out of stock").
And that's why it's easy for me to zoom in on him - because of my familiarity with him, and because (despite his flaws as a player) I think Eddie House is a superb role player and role model for all basketball players...
Do What You Do Well, Often:
The NBA in 2019 is far removed from the league at the turn of the century - when seven footers who couldn't post up weren't considered "unicorns" as much as "soft" or even "a bust".
Talent evaluators were similarly size-ist (or at the very least "traditional") in looking at smaller guards... while Allen Iverson and Stephon Marbury (amongst others) had turned the point guard position into a shoot-first role, the ability to handle a ball and create for others remained a pre-requisite for the position. When looking at shooting guards, shooting ability was considered a must, but the assumption remained that Michael Jordan was the prototype, and that everybody needed a 6'6", 200lb hyper-athletic wing.
House was neither a creator, nor 6'6".
House's handles were (at best) adequate - but he was absolutely not a "traditional" point guard (despite being frequently listed as one), even if he did average 3.3 assists per game in college, his 1.1 apg career average in the league seems to support my assertions, as does him being voted the worst ball-handling guard in the league in a player poll during his prime!
Eddie House simply did not allow what he could not do take away from what he could do at a high level. House was a scorer and a superb long-range shooter - so he hung his hat on those skills, a career 39% three-point shooter and 85% free-throw shooter, he was constantly called-upon in clutch moments by his team to be on the floor - even if he didn't always get the last shot, that he was one of the players so frequently trusted by his coaches and team-mates speaks volumes... Believe in yourself!
Know Your Role:
Despite being a second round pick without a guaranteed rookie contract, Eddie House played in the league for eleven seasons, earning PT in 717 games - he started just 31 of them (good for about 4% of his career). However, he averaged over seventeen minutes per game - the equivalent of over one-third of the available playing time for an NBA player.
It wasn't always like this... Eddie House was once the key player for the Arizona State Sundevils. He started 114 of his 124 games (92% start rate) and played almost 34 minutes per game through his career (84% of available playing time).
Coach Belichick of the New England Patriots is famous for telling his players to "Do Your Job". Some players have the job where they take twenty shots a night, and make $20 million a season. Others get DNP-CD's and earn league minimum. While it's clear that we'd all prefer one job to the other, the allocation of the "superstar" role tends to be based primarily on merit and ability - rather than personal preference.
House quickly understood that in order to stay in the league you had to earn your time, know your role and maximise your impact in it, so he made a career being one of the hardest workers in training, supporting his team-mates loudly, talking trash and waiting for his number to get called...
Be Prepared, Stay Ready:
Having been signed as a key bench contributor for the Celtics in the summer of 2008, some were surprised when House lost his spot in the rotation to Sam Cassell going into the playoffs, as the side searched for a more experienced, traditional point guard to back up Rajon Rondo.
Despite not earning regular minutes for several weeks, down twenty-four points in the first half of game four of the NBA Finals against the LA Lakers, the Celtics turned to House - along with other key bench players - and were rewarded as House's hustle (and two three's) keyed a 21-3 run that turned into the biggest comeback win in finals history, and gave the C's a 3-1 lead en route to their seventeenth title.
The lesson? It's better to be prepared in case you're needed, than to be needed and not prepared.
That Casa stayed ready is a massive reason as to why he has a championship ring, and was beloved by fans and team-mates in Boston.
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By Tom Sadler
Coach Sadler shares his thoughts on how footwork underpins player development...
Having good footwork is critical to maximise your game and development as a basketball player. Your footwork will allow you to create both passing and scoring angles even after you have picked up your dribble.
Footwork is especially important for younger players and needs to be constantly worked on either off the catch or on the pick-up of the dribble.
The two following types of foot work techniques are time-tested and essential to enhancing player development:
Most top coaches understand that the best players in the history of basketball have all utilized proper footwork to gain an edge over opponents. You should be no different!