I get messages from young players on social media all the time saying they tried a particular habit, but it didn’t work for them and so they are going back to their old habits despite having limited success with those. I usually ask what they were working on and when they started the process. Typically the answer is that they tried it yesterday missed a few shots, so they gave up.
This is pretty common. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Let me tell you a story about an NBA player to illustrate what this work should look like.
I was hired to work with an NBA rookie that was a 42% free throw shooter in college. In our first workout we identified the problem that was holding him back. He gripped the ball poorly and the ball never left his hand consistently because of it.
Starting in mid-July we began getting comfortable with a new grip by doing form shooting. Entire workouts of form shooting. Several workouts a day. Learning to grip the ball differently, and learning to get comfortable with it and trust it. Of course our primary goal was to make more shots, but we had a different measuring point.
His ball used to spin like a tornado. We knew that as we got more consistent with the way he gripped the ball, the ball would start to spin purely more often. That would indicate that the ball was leaving his hand correctly, and would like go on line more often, resulting in more made shots. Theoretically.
The player bought into the process and we talked about and assessed his spin regularly.
In the middle of August, we did a workout at Santa Clara Univesity. There was a Steve Nash banner hanging from the rafters. I had just hurt my back and was hobbling through the workout, kicking balls against the wall when I couldn’t bend over to pick it up.
Towards the end of the workout I said to the player “call me crazy, but I see the ball spinning purely more consistently!”
“Really?” He replied. “I don’t see it happening at all yet.”
“Well, trust me. It isn’t happening a lot yet, but it is happening MORE. And if we keep working it will continue to happen more and more often. I”m not saying to make you feel good. I’m saying it because it’s true.”
We left it at that. What I said to him was true. I saw him becoming more consistent. We were on the right path. I wanted him to know that.
Then a couple weeks later the player came to me. “I’m seeing the spin more consistently now too!” He was excited. He knew he was getting better without having to see makes to know it.
That same player went on to shoot 72% from the line in his rookie year. An increase of 30% in once season.
Imagine what would be possible for you and your team if you did the same. How many more games would you win? How many more points would you score? How much more confident would you be?
It’s possible. And now you can get the same progression of drills that I used with that player to help him improve his hand placement, grip, and guide hand use. You can get it in video format, 7 workouts, with over 45 videos, 2hrs of content, and 20+ drills. Plus you get lifetime access. Click here to check it out.
We need to be honest with players, but that doesn’t mean you don’t go out of your way to find something to be positive about. Changing a habit is hard, and when you can set little milestones along the way, you have little reasons to celebrate.