One of the most important NBA shooting workouts I ever did actually had way more conversation than shooting, more standing around talking than simulated game situations.
The team that I was working for had suggested I spend much of my early summer working with a player that had just finished his rookie year. He was a good shooter, but not a great shooter. We had worked here and there during the season, but other players got my time more consistently.
During this particular workout, we started with a typical warm up of 5 form shots from 5 different spots on the floor, very close to the hoop. We started talking, and I think I had asked him what he had done the night before. He told me he had gone to his bible study group, and we started to talk about our opinions and thoughts on organized religion.
Now, this player and I had very different views of religions, but were both open minded and supportive of anyone else beliefs, so we had similar discussions before in the middle of workouts. This was nothing new.
But as we got into the conversation, he started to open up. He talked about more personal aspects of his beliefs and how other treated him. We started talking more, and shooting less and less as the workout went on. More time was spent with the basketball on his hip than being shot.
About 30min into the “workout” we still weren’t finished the warm up of 25 shots. I started to worry what the player would think of what we were doing. So I said to him “I hope you don’t think just because we aren’t shooting a bunch of shots that today isn’t a valuable workout. Sometimes its more important for us to get to know each other as people and men than it is to work on your balance.”
He got a big smile on his face. “Man, I was just thinking the exact same thing!”
It’s important to remember why we do what we do, whether we are player, coach or parent. This game is just a reason for us to grow, interact with others, and compete. Build relationships with people. Help people and be willing to be helped. Otherwise, what is the point?