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Archive for the ‘general improvement’ Category

50 Little (Big) Tips (3rd in a 10 part series)

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on March 12, 2015

Week Three

1. Practice like a pro (http://video.sfgate.com/Stephen-Curry-and-the-Art-of-Dribbling-28411894)

2. Practice “toes to the corner” – shoulder pointing in toward the hoop to protect the ball – finishes (or as I used to hear Rick Pitino say, “put ’em in jail!”)

3. Engage in games, competition: H-O-R-S-E, Streak, Knockout, especially One-on-One (competition is good for basketball development)

4. Play “chest up, high hand” defense (heard Bo Ryan, U of Wisconsin head coach, say this recently)

5. Always run wide on the break (I remember watching Karl Malone run so wide on the break when John Stockton was pushing it up that it looked like Malone was out of bounds or going to run on top of the scorers’ table.)

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Posted in ballhandling, beautiful basketball, defense, fast break, general improvement, notes: college & pro, post play, shooting | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

50 Little (Big) Tips (2nd in a 10 part series)

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on February 25, 2015

Week Two

First Tip: Layups 12 Different Ways

In games, layups present themselves in a variety of ways; it’s not always the classic “right knee up on a righty layup”, “lefty knee up on a lefty layup”. Here are 12 ways to shoot a layup:

1) right knee up righty layup (the classic);

2) left knee up on a lefty layup (the opposite hand classic);

3) right hand, “wrong foot”

4) left hand, “wrong foot”

5) “Power Layup”; off two feet (right side)

6) “Power Layup”; off two feet (left side)

7) lefty dribble, righty layup

8) righty dribble, lefty layup

9) righty finish left side of hoop (back turned to the middle)

10) lefty finish right side of hoop (back turned to the middle)

11) EuroStep right side

12) EuroStep left side

Second Tip: Alternating Hands Dribble when speed dribbling

When needing to cover a long distance, maybe after a steal or long rebound, and you have no one ahead of you and you want to finish the trip and the play as fast as possible, use the alternating hands dribble technique. Don’t cross the ball over, extend your arm and put the ball down in front of the other hand. 3-4 dribbles and you should be able to cover a full high school (84′) or NBA/NCAA (94′) court.

Third Tip: Sikma Move

Named after NBA legend, Jack Sikma. Also known as “inside pivot”.

Fourth Tip: Use defensive fakes

Especially important when defending a 2-on-1 or 3-on-1 fast break or when helping against penetration on defense and you want to make the dribbler pick up his/her dribble without fully committing to the dribbler.

Fifth Tip: Screening the low side of a defender in a ball screen

Many defensive players, especially in pick-up games or recreational league games react to a ball screen by trying to go under the screen. If so, screen on the low side of that defender so it is even harder for that defender to get under the screen. This will drop the defender so far under that the ball handler who you are screening for will be free for a wide open, undefended shot.

Posted in ballhandling, beautiful basketball, defense, fast break, general improvement, notes: college & pro, passing, post play, shooting, without the ball | Leave a Comment »

50 Little (Big) Tips (1st of 10 part series)

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on February 23, 2015

In our Boston NTL Weekly Practice Programs, we are running a clinic during the winter term called “50 Little (Big) Tips & Scrimmage”. The idea is to present 5 “tips’ each week for the ten week duration that don’t usually get talked about, tips that heeded and added up can make you a much better basketball player. We introduce and demonstrate and practice them and look long and hard for players to implement them during the practice-ending scrimmage.

Week One

1. Weakside offensive rebounding on shots taken from the corner:

Missed shots taken from the corner go long 2/3rds of the time. Since defense positions themselves between the ball and you, pin them underneath the basket and take those 2/3rds of the time misses as they go long.

2. Whenever you have the ball and you see the back of a defender’s head, pass to the person that is being face guarded. It’s 2 points and an assist for you.

3. “Fake a pass to make a pass.” Can’t get the ball to where you want to pass it? Fake a pass to get the defense to step off and then make the pass where you originally intended.

4. Offensive rebound by predicting where the rebound is going by watching the flight of the ball and then move to that spot. (Where the ball hits on the rim will determine where the ball will go. Practice it. Get good at it. Go get the ball like Dennis Rodman. “The ability to read the ball in flight and predict where it is going.”)

5. Attack the defender’s top foot. Defender’s right foot is up? Attack it by going to your left. Defender’s left foot up? Attack it by going to your right. Having that foot up makes the defender crossover step, a slower move, and a move that puts them a step behind you.

Posted in beautiful basketball, defense, general improvement, notes: college & pro, passing, rebounding, shooting, without the ball | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Ode to the Free Throw by Phish, “The Line”

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on February 11, 2015

“Every shot I’ve taken, has led me to this moment since I was four feet high.”

Awesome.

Dry mouth push it out I can hear my heart pound,
A hero’s what I’m not.
Voices scream, flashes flare, frozen as the people stare,
My crucifixion shot.

Friends were electric on the western side,
While triangles were shifting on the floor.
Squeezing out the breath that I don’t have,
The quiet now they only want two more.

And you step to the line.
And you step to the line.

Every shot I’ve taken, has led me to this moment since I was four feet high.
Big Dee is watching I remember what he taught me: “Don’t let them see you cry.”

And you step to the line.
And you step to the line.

You try to see your future from the line.
You’re clinging to the notion you’ll be fine.
But the circle’s getting smaller all the time.

Dry mouth push it out I can hear my heart pound,
A hero’s what I’m not.
Voices scream, flashes flare, frozen as the people stare,
My crucifixion shot.

And you step to the line.
And you step to the line.

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Mastering the Free Throw

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on February 5, 2015

 

MASTERING THE FREE THROW

DEVELOP TECHNIQUE

The simpler the better. The more complicated your shot is, the more movement there is, the harder it is to duplicate over and over, especially in pressure situations. Develop a short stroke.

See the target.

Shoot straight.

  • Give Yourself a Reason to Trust the Technique

Know what works.

Prove it many times.

  • Trust Technique

Once you’ve proven it, you no longer have to worry about missing. All you have to do is apply the technique.

  • Practice alone
  • Practice with someone
  • Practice

THE BEST TECHNIQUE

  • 1) Feet form a wide base. Feet set. Knees bent. Big toe that is on the foot that is the same as your shooting arm (right foot/right hand) on the nail hole at the middle of the FT line
  • 2) Set your shot. Ball set. Forearm straight up and down if possible.

Take a good look at the rim. (Never rush. Players who shoot quickly are players who are afraid of missing.)

  • 3) Stand and extend. (Simplicity.)
  • My mantra: “Start straight, finish straight.” (Elbow in at finish.) Start straight means shooting forearm as straight as the walls around you.
  • Imagine the shot. Imagine what it takes from legs and extension to not be short. Never be short.
  • Take a good look at the rim. (As Al McGuire used to say: “the answer is in the eyes”.) This helps you figure out range. Don’t get mesmerized and woozy looking at it; just figure the distance and say hello to the rim.
  • Follow through at the rim, directly straight at the rim. Good follow-through will give you good rotation.
  • Stay with the shot. Pose. (Think Christian Laettner.)

GAME SITUATIONS

  • You always want to be relaxed and apply your technique. You go to the line in the middle of a game and you should think of nothing but applying your technique, the technique you trust. You apply the technique, you make the shot.
  • In game deciding situations, you never want to think about missing. If you think about missing, you miss. Instead, think about applying the technique you trust. Don’t say to yourself, “can I make this?” Instead say, “can I apply the technique I trust?” The answer, of course, is “yes!” You’ve done it hundreds and thousands of times.
  • And that is why you need to develop a technique, a method that is simple and easy to duplicate. Start straight. Short stroke. Finish straight over the rim.
  • Practice.
  • Practice.
  • Practice under pressure, even if it’s make-believe pressure.

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Glossary of Terms For Post Play (Part One)

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on January 6, 2015

(excerpted from the outstanding handbook, Practical Post Play, by Pete Gaudet*)

Passing Angle: “Draw a line from the ball (spot A) to the target. Now imagine the easiest spot from which to feed the post successfully (spot B). A line from both spot A and spot B to the target form an angle. When a player moves the ball from spot to spot B, the passing angle has improved.”

Court1J

Bzomowski adds: Passing angles are crucial; improve your passing angle and you cut down on turnovers. You improve it by (in the case of feeding the post) reading where the defense is playing and moving the ball (via dribble, pivot or pass) so that it is fed to the post player as close as possible on a perpendicular angle formed by ball line to post player’s chest.

*Coach Gaudet is former head coach at Army, longtime assistant at Duke University as they went to 7 Final Fours and 2 NCAA Championships, lead instructor at the famed Pete Newell “Big Man Camp”, overseas coach and a member of Never Too Late Basketball’s Weekend Camps’ staff.

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Sins of the Recreational Basketball Player (5th in an occasional series)

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on December 7, 2014

It’s a sin, a crying-shame-kind-of-sin, to see a player in a recreational league or pick-up game or even, heaven forbid, in a scrimmage in an NTL Clinic or Weekend Camp, feed a post player the ball and then just stand there as the perimeter player’s defender (the post feeder’s defender) impedes the movement or offensive play of the post player. It is a sin because it is so easy to do something to affect the play in a variety of positive ways. The easy something to do? Move. Move to occupy your defender so that your defender gets off the post player. Whenever you feed the post your defender always ALWAYS turns to look into the post. At that moment, all your defender knows is that you were where you were when you fed the post. Shaving points? Don’t move. Feeling super lazy? Stay right there! Sinning like a recreational player? Yup, don’t move your feet.

Now the question is, the good question is, where do you go? Simply put, anywhere! More helpfully, go one of three places: 1. cut behind your defender’s head (so the defender has to adjust his/her position to concentrate on finding you or 2. move to a spot away from your defender so that they have to cover the most ground to recover to you (often to the corner) or 3. dive to the rim (cut to the hoop). Any and all of these movements get your post player what your post player and you want: one-on-one in the post.

Do one of those three things and your stay in basketball purgatory will be shortened; the basketball gods will begin to forgive you your long list of basketball sins. Amen.

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Rebounding (What’s Your Record?)

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on October 31, 2014

Two days ago, I was giving an hour shooting lesson with a guy, a recreational player kind of guy, who is a pretty good shooter. It got to the stage of the session where I had him shooting a bunch of threes. He makes probably 60-70% of them, so the misses are a bit of a surprise. While rebounding the misses (and getting back the makes), I thought about something I often say: that assistant coaches are the best rebounders in the world. Because coaches rebound so many shots they become very good at a particular rebounding skill: predicting the direction of the carom by watching the flight of the shot. (For some reason I always think of Jeff Van Gundy when I’m on this topic; perhaps because I once read that Pat Riley said Van Gundy is never happier than when he is feeding someone shots.)

So, I decided to prove to myself that I am among the “greatest rebounders in the world”. I counted how many misses in a row I could get before the ball (or missed shot) hit the ground. I dove for #9 but had to settle for 8 straight rebounds. (That #9 landed at the three point arc by the way; but not over my head. Never let a rebound go over your head!) I plan to break my record at next week’s shooting lesson. FWIW, I think it is very satisfying to be able to move to the spot on the floor where the ball (rebound) will go and to do that while the ball is still on its way to the hoop; feels self-satisfyingly clever.

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Out of Bounds Under the Hoop (Patience!)

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on October 29, 2014

At our NTL camps and clinics, we eschew the old playground tradition of checking the ball at the top of the key after fouls and after the ball goes out of bounds. Instead, we take the ball out underneath the hoop. The idea in our camps and clinics is to make the basketball as real an experience as possible and similar as possible to game and game-like situations. Friday night, Harvard at Princeton, Jadwin Gym, ball rolls out under the hoop off a Princeton player: Harvard ball.

Different teams have different takes and philosophies regarding the out of bounds play. Some look to run a play to score; some are content to get the ball in and let their half court offense do the work. At NTL, the idea is to teach and help players see and recognize what they hadn’t seen and recognized before. Left to their own devices, players always pass the ball to the first open player, usually someone who has popped to the wing or corner. This, to me, misses a great opportunity. Inbounds passers, the player passing the ball from out of bounds, should always look to pass the ball into the lane before making that pass to the perimeter. You can make that pass to the perimeter anytime; look for the layup or easy finish play in the lane for 3 or 3 1/2 seconds before passing the ball out.

All it usually takes is a player to screen away in the post, say block-to-block and then shape up after the screen. It’s that easy.

I remember playing a summer league game in Swampscott, MA long ago with Tom Thibodeau when we were assistants at Harvard. Thibodeau, who was a pretty tough player, better than his DIII all-league status suggests, scored 32 points, many of which came from OB Under plays; me passing into him, of course! We’d make eye contact; he’d fake away from an opening and come back (sealing strong) or he would do the aforementioned screen and shape. Easy as that! (When I was at his apartment a few days later, he had cut out and hung the local paper’s league write-up on his refrigerator, circling “Tom Thibodeau, 32 points”. I scribbled in below it: “Steve Bzomowski, 16 assists”.)

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A Conversation with Mark Jackson

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on June 2, 2014

(I rec’d this in an email the day after the Spurs put away the Thunder.)

After last night’s thrilling OT victory by the Spurs (an NTL team if ever there was), I called my good friend Mark Jackson to get his “take” on it.

“John,” he said, “Before the game, I told everybody who would listen and the rest of y’all that if the Spurs were going to beat OKC and advance to the finals, Tim Duncan was going to have to play Tim Duncan basketball. And guess what happened? The game was almost lost and then in OT Tim Duncan started to play Tim Duncan basketball (just like I drew it up) and they won.”

“So, John, do you know why the Spurs won?”

“Because Tim Duncan played Tim Duncan basketball?”

“Right! Anything else?”

“They got it done on both ends of the court?”

“Right!”

Then, I called up legendary NTL coach, Coach B., and asked him what he thought of the game.

“Timmy came to one of our first NTL camps. He was kind of a diamond in the rough. Almost useless in the post. On the first day of camp, I explained to the campers that the ‘great one’s use the glass’. Well, that must’ve stuck with Timmy because on championship Sunday he banked in a couple to help lead his team to victory. I don’t remember much else except he got top ranks for coachability. He was also the first and last to receive an award named after himself.

“Not everyone who goes to NTL camp can expect a hall-of-fame career in the NBA. It’s nice when it happens though.”

John Poplett, shoo-in for NTL Weekend Camp Hall of Fame, Chicago (laced ’em up at NTL Lakeside many an April)

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