I spent the beginning of this week camping in my good friend Dara’s back garden. While walking down to get the dart to the city and eventually the bus back to Galway I was chatting with two girls from Limerick, Shauna and Cayleigh, who were showing me there secret handshake. Of course, I messed it up again and again, but when I had almost gotten it I done the last part wrong, this prompted Shauna to attempt that part of it again with me, but I said no. We were practicing, this wasn’t the real deal, I might as well get it all right as seen as I have the opportunity.
This gets me back to my coach Matt Lint. When we practice form shooting with Matt he’s very particular about how you place your feet because if you get it right in practice he says, you’re going to have a better chance of nailing it in game when the defense becomes a factor and you can’t get everything perfect.
Like I said in an earlier post you just have to go with it in-game but it makes it much easier if you know every part to a play or have perfected every inch of your form. Like I said, Ray Allen didn’t get the pass just how he wanted it in game 6, but he is the best 3-point shooter ever so the shot was much easier than it would’ve been if he didn’t know his form inside-out.
Allen Iverson’s crossover wasn’t learned in parts and pieces, he’d do the whole thing in one motion. Imagine all the great plays in the NBA, and imagine them if all the players who practiced them only corrected the bit they got wrong and not just done it right fully. A Kobe fadeaway but he releases it wrong after some great footwork. Hakeem’s dream shake but he travels. MJ jumps from the free-throw line but misses the dunk.
Imagine your favorite basketball play and it being incomplete. Like mine for example, the infamous Larry Johnson four-point play against the Pacers in MSG. Never mind if it was a foul or not, imagine if Larry missed the free-throw. Then it’d be just another three pointer and who knows what would’ve happened.
Like learning a speech off by heart, you can’t just know bits of it, you’ve got to know it all! As my dad constantly reminds me, there’s no point doing a half-ass job of something. No great basketball play was a surprise to the person that did it only to those watching and guarding. So when it comes to the last shot of practice, stay there until you make it.