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Archive for October, 2011

Breaking Into Gyms (to play ball)

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on October 18, 2011

Everyone must have a favorite story of when they broke into a gym to play. I did it hundreds of times. Let us know your best story!

Here’s one of mine:

When I was a kid, 10 or so years old, we lived about a 1/2 mile from Siena College, just outside Albany, NY. On Sunday mornings, starting around 6th or 7th grade, my brother Ed (2 years ahead of me in school) and I would walk (ostensibly) to church. We’d announce, “going to church”, open a window, throw out a ball, walk out the back door, circle around to where the ball was and off we’d go. Starting around this time, Gibbons Hall, Siena’s old gym (replete with bowling lanes in the basement) was our new place of worship. Mea culpa, mea culpa. (“In hoops we trust.”) Down the hill we’d dribble, over Fiddler’s Lane, across the parking lot to the backdoor at Gibbons Hall. That door was always open; the school laundry facilities were in there, some bowling balls, nothing that could be jeopardized by leaving it open. The moment of truth, however, came when we climbed the two flights of stairs to the gym door. Was it open? Usually yes; tragically, sometimes no. After a couple of Sunday mornings spent ballhandling an hour away (maxi culpa) in the parking lot, I got an idea. Next to the upstairs locked and bedeviling gym door was a flight of stairs that led to a balcony window “high above courtside“. Down below, at one end of the court was a stage (not unusual back in the day – I remember freshmen team games at Fordham at both LIU and Columbia that had stages, too). The Gibbons Hall stage had curtains, floor to gym ceiling, dark, velour. The curtains were within arms’ length reach of the balcony window. Out the window and over to the curtain would go little brother, me, shimmying down the fabric, soft-landing onto the stage and hustling over to the door where brother Ed would be pounding the ball on the floor, getting himself ready for our next, well-deserved game of one-on-one. (Sorry, Ed, but I was already kicking your butt!)

Posted in beautiful basketball, general improvement | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

Rebounding Someone Else’s Practice Free Throws

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on October 1, 2011

Here’s a tip I’ve given many times to kids I’ve worked with to improve their passing and court vision. (And when it comes to basketball, we’re all kids, aren’t we?) Okay, you’ve got a ball and you’ve got a friend, and you, ball and friend have found a hoop. You decide you are each going to shoot some free throws. (Me? I like the number 100.) Your friend goes first. You stand in front of the rim with your back to the shooter. As the ball comes through the net (oh, by the way, this works best when practicing with someone who makes the vast majority of her or his free throws) and then bounces, you take it and flip it over your shoulder to the shooter, on a bounce, without looking, imagining, seeing in your mind’s eye, the ball finding the shooter’s hands, waist high, shooting side. Turn and see where it really went, if it went where you wanted it to go. (If you missed your target – badly – and your friend is standing there with a “what the . . . look”, it is important for a whole slew of reasons I won’t get into here that you run to the other end of the court and retrieve the ball.) Next shot, same thing, but you make the no-look pass with a different delivery, maybe bounced between your legs, backwards, of course. Every pass off every shot means a new and different delivery. After a while, a short while, you’ll become good at it. So good that crowds will form – in rows three deep circling the court – to watch your passing magic. All you need is a friend, a ball and a hoop to get you there. Good luck.

Posted in passing | 2 Comments »

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