NBA Opinion/Editorial Sports

Ball U Academy: Habits…And Why You Need Break Away From Them

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“Failing your way is so much more comfortable than succeeding someone else’s way.”

It’s about 1:05 pm at Northwest Athletic Center in Michigan City where you see a total of 14 kids lined up on both wings of the court.  The drill is predicated on getting your balance right by taking a quick hop during the flight of the pass.


My whole career I was a 1-2 step shooter and got away with it, but the speed of the game has changed since then.  Kids are so advanced athletically now a days that you will be lucky to get off a clean shot using the 1-2 step in high school.  So, Coach Tommy issued the challenge to my side by saying, “I think I got the better shooters on this end, Myron.  How about this?  First one to 20 makes don’t have to run.  Each side has to yell out their make so that the other side can hear.

That way, it will be fair.”  Everyone accepts the challenge.

So we start shooting.  My side starts off cold.  At one point, the other side yelled “4” and we just yelled “1”.  I can see the pressure building up in them as they started to contemplate the reality of defeat.  You know what they did?

Abandoned ship!  Everything we taught (no more than 5 minutes ago) was thrown out the window as soon as the slightest sense of adversity came into play.  Mind you, during the drill prior to the one that was currently being executed, these kids were making everything with the technique we implemented.

As the misses kept adding on, I was reminding them about what we just worked on.  Didn’t work…all of the shots they took were 1-2 steps after the catch the moment they thought they were going to lose.  Before we ran, I explain to them my disappointment in how quickly they gave up on the technique because they were down 4-1.

During a water break, one of the parents told me that a college coach he knows teaches the 1-2 step technique into the shot.  I love when the parents are locked in and have questions because that means they get to learn as well.  Here was my paraphrased response…

“The point of the quick hop is to get the shooter’s legs underneath them as quick as possible because the game has evolved.  Defenders are getting bigger, stronger and faster by the minute.  The difference between a 1-2 step release and a quick hop release is a matter of 0.7-0.9 seconds (Unless the 1-2 step happens during the flight of the pass.

The time difference is pretty similar then.

We will eventually teach that way as well because you need both.  However, the purpose is getting on balance quickly).  The difference between getting an open look and not being able to get a shot off is about a half of second.  So, we are training them now to be ready to shoot quickly and accurately before the speed of the game get too overwhelming.  By then, it’s too late.”

It’s two reasons why an individual can’t be successful at a task.  They either don’t know how to complete it at all, or they don’t want to learn a different method that could be more efficient.

The second reason is more dangerous than the first because in order to get to the promise land of quality and efficiency, it may require an individual to unlearn all of the habits and routines they are used to and that is uncomfortable as hell!

Also, one must have to trust the process.  Even though those kids were down 4-1, the game was up to 20.  If they run off 7 straight and the other team gets cold, they are back where they need to be.

We will never know because they didn’t trust the process and rely on the technique.

Just like some of us will never know if we would have ever been able to bring that million dollar idea to fruition or marry the man or the woman of our dreams because we can’t help but to go back to what we know when we don’t get immediate results from our efforts.  Like my by brother in hoops, Travers Milam always say, “Reverting back to old habits will get yo ass beat”…if those habits are inefficient.

This article also appears on the blog, Ball U Academy here.

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