Aaron and I attended the boys' basketball state finals games last weekend and we saw some great hoops. Keith Appling, the junior guard from Pershing, scored a record 49 points. Michael Talley III, helped his dad and coach of Melvindale Academy for Business and Technology - Michael Talley II - win a state championship. The games were great, time spent with my son, priceless. However, as I was driving home an image kept running through my mind: Cedarville hoopsters shooting triple after triple after triple.
Big deal, you posit, it's a state-championship game. Of course, that's going to happen. True. however, I counter that posit with absence of hesitation from the Cedarville hoopsters, while gunning from beyond the 19'-9" line. That's what I couldn't get out of my mind. Cedarville hoopsters didn't hesitate, ever. They just fired, fired, fired. They made plenty but missed plenty also. What fascinated me more than Cedarville's willingness to shoot the triple, was its ability to snab the long rebound after a miss. Because they shoot so many three-pointers, they know to expect and seize the long rebound.
Ahhhhh, the wheels of application were turning. Why couldn't my Freshmen Fillies do the same? They can and next year they will. Oh, the doubters will bring up lame arguments like strength, form and discipline because deep within their frightened soul, they cower at the bold audacity of living behind the line. Allow me to debunk each pathetic qualm.
Strength: Yes, the Freshmen Fillies are young and weak. Herb Brooks, the coaching-maestro who helped orchestrate the biggest athletic upset in U.S. history, also believes strength is vital as he eloquently and prophetically stated, in the 1980 cinematic gem, Miracle, "The legs feed the wolf, gentleman." I will feed the legs as well. With the right combination of wall-sits, lunges and five-second, push-ups, the Freshmen Fillies will be strong enough to snap three pointers all game. Shooting strength is in the legs and mind, not the shoulders.
Form: Yes, my Freshmen Fillies will lack form. They are young. I'm a coach. It's my job to teach proper shooting form. Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. The progression must be technique, strength, isolation, game application. Lather, rinse, repeat.
I'm not just talking about shooting. In order for this to work we need to learn how to pin our defender in the lane, not out of it. We will develop rebounding attitude first so we can use it as a confidence builder/safety net for our shooting attitude. Once I sell them on the glorious benefit of rebounding, missing a shot won't matter. You see, that's often the problem. A shooter misses her first couple of shots and then becomes tentative and refrains from shooting. Build rebounders and Tentative won't be on the team. She won't be on our bench. In fact, the only place she'll be is on the other team's roster.
Discipline: Doubters think a team that shoots the trifecta quicker than Obama breaks his promises can't develop the discipline to win games. First, I didn't vote for Obama. Second, control the most important element of the game that you can: defense. Discipline is found in non-hesitant, three-point shooting. You must trust the system. Do or do not. There is no try. Discipline is not found in simply trusting the trifecta attempt. It's also found in rebounding. Pin the opponent to the inside. Get both hands up. Find the ball. Fetch the ball at its zenith. Do all of that every time! That's discipline!
Cliches: Not only are triple doubters weak, they mindlessly subscribe to cliches. "A team that lives by the three, dies by the three." Please, I suppose you also shouldn't throw a cross-court pass. In fact, I can still remember Mr. Zehnder's voice chastising Art Hahn during 7th grade hoops practice when I was a young Charger at Bethlehem Lutheran Elementary School in Saginaw. Today, the cross-court pass is the key to conquering a zone defense.
Control the defense, be in superior shape, tactically command the long rebound and shoot without hesitation. Still don't believe me?