Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hey Mark, Keep Shooting!!

To put it simply, you've got to put in the practice time if you want to be a better shooter.

The greatest marksmen in the NBA were known to take a 600-700 shots a day as a way of honing their skills. Since 70% of a good jumpshot is muscle memory and proper form, this approach makes a lot of sense.

I got into a discussion one day with my buddy Mark Cannon about becoming a better shooter. Mark's a senior in high school and has a desire to play basketball competitively at a higher level.

He understands that if he wants to get better, then he'll have to put in the effort. Therefore, getting up at 6am to take 650 shots to get better isn't beneath him.

I encouraged Mark to continue shooting and in the process, pay more attention getting the shots up using the proper form as opposed to the number he actually hits.

Maintaining a consistent shooting form using the same motion repeatedly is key. The hits and misses will average themselves out.

To help put things in perspective, the worlds greatest shooters hit about 40% of their shots.

For Leaders

Consistency in leadership is as important as it is in jump shooting. Without it, you risk undermining your position and the people around will lack confidence in your abilities as a leader.

You sharpen your leadership skills the same way you train your muscles. Repitition and practice using the same technique and form so that it becomes natural, fluid and in rhythm when its game time.

We listen with our eyes as much as our ears placing all of our actions under a microscope. Irrational actions, conflicting directions, and inconsistent behaviour can ultimately lead to your downfall as a leader if your're not mindful of your actions.

Here are a few points to help you maintain your consistency in leadership:

If you make a promise, keep it or don't make them at all;

Treat everyone equally and avoid playing favourites;

Not keeping your own rules sends a wrong message.

John Quincy Adams,the sixth president of the United States said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Breaking The Press

A full-court press is a pressurized defensive style of play that is designed to trap ball handlers in the backcourt with multiple defenders.

The press is intended to frustrate and upset the opposing team and force them into committing turnovers as soon as the ball is inbounded.

Beating it and advancing the ball over the half court without a violation is a big challenge for many teams.

One effective way of doing this is to have a ballhandler inbounds the ball and as the defense approaches pass it back or reverse it back to the original ballhandler.

This "reverse" pass forces the defense to adjust as the ball is now moving in a different direction. If the passes are short and crisp and the ball is moved quickly enough, then the press can be broken.

They key is in the reverse pass.

The aim of the game may be to advance the ball ahead but there are times when making that pass back helps you move forward.

Such is the case in our daily lives. We're faced with so much pressures at times that we sometimes forget to re-assess our situation by taking a step back.

Stepping back provides a different perspective that separates you from the experience. It gives you a better view of the big picture which leads to more calmer well rounded decisions.

While the temptation to barrel straight through obstacles with our heads down is great, there are instances where a more cerebral deliberate approach is just as effective.

Remember, these six points the next time you're faced with a full court press:

1.Slow things down
2.Take a step back
3.Give your mind a rest
4.Look at things in there entirety
5.Plan your next steps
6.Take action

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Leadership From The Point

In basketball, the point guard position is generally regarded as the on court leader. They have an important role of facilitating and executing the wishes of their coach on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.

In some respects, they're considered to be an extension of the coach, without the clipboard.

The point guard may play a key role in running the team on the floor but this doesn't mean that leadership skills can't be demonstrated by others.

Through our actions, each of us can display leadership qualities in our daily lives and make a positive difference, whatever our title or position is.

This isn't to suggest that anyone can be a leader. There's still a certain level of training, experience and aptitude that come into play.

However, individuals shouldn't feel that they can't act like leaders because they don't have the title bestowed on them.

In his book, "You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader", Mark Sanborn indicates that the following qualities are shared by leaders:

*Acting with purpose rather than getting bogged down by mindless activity;

*Caring about and listening to others;

*Looking for ways to encourage the contributions and development of others rather than focusing solely on personal achievements;

*Creating a legacy of accomplishment and contribution in everything they do.

Remember, leadership skills can come from a variety of sources and we all have the capacity to demonstrate them. All that's needed, is the confidence and supportive enviorment to make it possible.

Listen to the Fast Break Podcast by clicking here.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Homecourt Advantage

If you ask any basketball player about home court advantage, they'll probably tell you that the comforting feeling of performing in front of their fans is a definite advantage over their opponents.

An arena filled with 20,000 people making noise and screaming in support of the hometown squad is probably the ultimate psychological advantage.

While it may not guarantee a win it certainly helps swing the pendulum a bit further in your direction. Being at home eliminates the pressure of playing on the road, sleeping in a different bed or getting comfortable in a new enviorment.

But there are times when we have to produce outside of your comfort zone.

Staying within our boundaries of comfort and familiarity generally is the safe thing to do and takes the risk out of life.

However, it also limits us from being able to fulfill our goals and dreams.

Having goals and dreams allows us to think beyond our present circumstance and provides us with a tangible target we can visualize and works towards.

So, choosing not to challenge ourselves means that we've fallen into our old reliable habits and not giving our potential a chance.

There is another significant point to remember when we talk about our comfort zone. This area of familiarity is more than just a place of comfort, it also represents a happy, safe area that can renew recharge and relax us.

Therefore, if we challenge ourselves and expand our boundaries, we're also expanding our opportunities to be happier and safe more often.

What Can You Do?

Here are three things you can do to help you expand yourself:

1) Replace the phrase, "I wish I could" to "I will";

2) Try different ways of doing simple tasks. i.e. take a new route home;

3) Gain new perspectives by sharing with others

It's far easier to play in front of your home town fans but when you don't have the home court advantage, you have no other choice but to come out of your shell and get the road win.

Challenging yourself will help with your personal growth and perhaps get you one step closer to winning a title.

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