Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Appearance Of Form

I did my traditional Thursday free throw clinic today at our basketball camps. We really stress form which can lead to success....... but not always! The following is about Haley, one of the best kids ever,  and her basketball shooting, taken from 2-27-07.

Basketball season is over but we still try to improve each day during first period practices, concentrating on shooting. My girls this year were excellent defensively but challenged on the offensive end of the floor. We spend three days a week on shooting drills, then apply what we worked on in half court and full court games of 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, and finally, 5/5, pitting the sixth-seventh graders versus the eighth grade players. We chart our shooting and rank the players, assigning a score based on finish. Every week, I post the accumulative point totals on the locker room door. It's amazing how competition improves focus. I learned in teaching that if you want kids to adequately cover a reading assignment, you give them a quiz. Basketball is no different. Since the conclusion of our schedule, we've had two free throw ladders in which we compete for highest percentage based on a certain number of shots. The total points leader is Rachel, far and away our best shooter currently. Today, we did a combination drill of shooting for one minute from five perimeter spots followed by thirty more seconds underneath the basket in the Mikan Drill. Our top scorer was Tynae which could shake up the standings. The kids are learning that part of the key to success in these shooting games is rhythm. Jeannett, in correctly decoding the aforementioned Mikan Drill in which you constantly shoot on opposite sides of the goal, declared, "It's all about footwork." It is but footwork is hard to master.

Ryan came in and worked with our post players last Friday. One of the players on our high school boys' team, Ryan is a very good teacher of the feet positioning that is essential to playing with your back to the basket. After our session ended, he was very complimentary of Haley, one of our seventh graders. Noting that Haley was in ballet classes with his younger sister, Ryan astutely credited her dance background with her ability to master footwork quickly. Ballet is a series of coordinated physical movements and that is how Haley learns. It has carried over into her shooting form. I speak from the experience of coaching for years on middle and high school levels as well as instructing in numerous skills camps: I've never seen anyone with shooting technique better than Haley's. As I mentioned, she can take a movement and replicate it rapidly. So, when we finished our February free throw ladder yesterday, guess where Haley finished? DEAD LAST, or 49 percentage points behind Rachel who finished first. That doesn't make sense, does it? Shouldn't the player with the best technique be the most accurate shooter? You would think so but it leaves out the element of repetition and practice of that skill. Haley looks great shooting but she isn't a good shooter. 

In my sophomore Bible classes today, we quizzed about the two men, a Pharisee and a tax collector, who went to the temple to pray. The Pharisee looked good to the crowd...but not to the Lord. The tax collector had horrible form; wouldn't look up, stood at a distance, beat his breast. And yet, the tax collector's prayer made it to the listening ears of God while the religious leader's monologue didn't escape the temple roof. The audience of Jesus would have been stunned to hear this parable. Based on appearance and their preconceived notions of righteousness, the Pharisee would have been on target with the Father while the publican must have shot an air ball. They, like we, judged on looks while never considering the heart. Haley, besides great form, has a wonderful heart. I have every confidence that she can be a terrific shooter before too long. She has the right foundation; she just needs to keep assembling the other part of her basketball structure.

Applicable quote of the day:
"Successful people are successful because they form the habits of doing those things that failures don't like to do."

Albert Gray

God bless,
Steve/ Coach Hawley
Luke 18:1

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1 comment:

Anjuli said...

I don't think God lets us see all the impact we make, but I just wanted to let you know that you made a huge impact on me and my brothers while we were at WCS. Your personal hello's and high-fives could make any bad day a good one. Thanks for taking a chance on me in basketball freshman year even though I came in late and didn't even know how to shoot! "Coach Hawley" was a common name during the years that me, Charles, and William passed through WCS; so here's a thank-you for being willing to let God use you, and make an impact in the lives of students.