Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Be Quick, But Don't Hurry

Slow down, make good decisions.

  When a player known for her patience, even keel, and the ability to see one-step ahead of the play finds herself playing at a frantic, rushed pace, she may as well be a fish out of water. Flopping around aimlessly on the court (ok, maybe I'm exaggerating. But it's not a good thing!).

  In basketball, speed and quickness are widely regarded as huge advantages. Everyone is always trying to become just a little bit quicker. If you have even a half-step advantage on your opponent, it can be the difference between an uncontested lay-up, and tough shot over a defender.

  Now I've never been confused with someone who has a great deal of speed or quickness. I'm not going to beat too many people in a foot race, or blow by them with a quick first step. I succeed by relying on my fundamentals, being versatile, and being one-step ahead of my opponent mentally.

Play with a quick pace!
  With me, if anything works quickly, it's my mind. But still, you want to be as quick as you possibly can be on the court.

  There's a huge difference between playing quickly, and playing hurried.

  Playing quickly means playing with a sense of urgency. Playing with good pace by not holding onto the ball too long when you get it. Receive the ball, make a decision, do it.

  When you hurry, things are done poorly. Fundamentals go out the window. Feet aren't set on your shot. Nothing is in focus.

Coach John Wooden.
  So your goal is to play quickly, without rushing. Without compromising the quality of your play. I think to succeed in basketball you play to your strengths. You don't play to anyone else's strengths but your own.

  In analyzing my own play recently, I realized I've been doing the opposite. I haven't been playing to my strengths. I'm trying to be quick. But in reality, I'm playing hurried, and the quality of my play is suffering.

  That's when the great John Wooden's quote came to mind: 'Be quick, but don't hurry'.

  My goal this week is to re-focus on playing the game to my strengths. By slowing the game down mentally, playing free, and playing with the right sense of urgency!


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