In the spirit of the season I decided to write this blog on giving. Being a giving teammate is critical to having any amount of success on a team. There are only a few ways to be on a team either you are giving energy or you are taking energy. There is nothing in between if you are neutral you are taking because there is so much more you could be contributing. Honestly, just staying still and holding back is clearly taking. Teams that give energy to each other are the ones that go the farthest because it doesn’t matter which players are on the court the energy is flowing in the same positive direction. It is incredibly hard to stop that.
There are so many great parts about basketball that make this game great. The fundamentals of shooting, dribbling and passing as well as defence are critical to creating a balanced athlete. Of all of these skills the most underrated, in my opinion, is passing. Finding the open player, giving up a good shot for a great shot and being selfless to get your teammate the ball are all incredibly powerful parts of this game.
A long time ago when I was coaching at a basketball camp in California I heard an interesting story about Steve Nash when he was at College in Santa Clara. An opposing coach was talking about how Steve was such a precise passer that if he didn’t want a particular teammate to shoot the ball then he would pass slightly off so that the player could catch the ball but they wouldn’t be in a position to be able to shoot it. This would help the team with their shot selection and I thought it was brilliant. Passes can be used to set teammates up for success or they can be used to find an even better option.
In the book A Coach’s Life by Dean Smith I read about how he coached a player that was only looking for himself. He would only shoot himself and didn’t have any interest in getting his teammates the ball. After the opposing team scored Coach Smith stopped practice and took the remaining 4 players off the court. He told the player he was now playing 1 on 5 to which the player asked how he was going to inbound the ball. Coach Smith responded to him “Good, now you learned you need two anyways.”
Sometimes players get so wrapped up in being a scorer and they don’t realize that being a play maker is so much more powerful. Scorers can be hard to stop but playmakers are even more difficult because they can create for themselves as well as find other people. Playmakers embody the spirit of giving.