Perfecting the basketball fundamentals is crucial in basketball just as it is in business and life. Phil Jackson once said – “Paying attention to basics is the key to success”.
When you look at players like Magic Johnson, John Stockton or Larry Bird, you come to realize that these are guys that practiced fundamentals on and off the court.
I mean, it’s very rare nowadays to see NBA stars jump over crowds in order to get a loose ball. No. Their individuality has become dominant.
But that can destroy the team. Tim Wende put it very nicely in words – “Champions, like the best companies, church groups or community organizations often have the best role players — the people who are willing to give up their individuality for the good of the team.”.
The better and better players get, the more bigger they think they are than the game and less and less disciplined they are. They adopt their own rules. They become less receptive to their coaches. And this isn’t just the case in professional basketball.
This happens basically everywhere. Only very skilled coach can impose his beliefs over a superstar and keep him disciplined and open to perfecting the fundamentals every single day.
Their discipline determine the growth of their game. But a lot of times it’s tough. Coaches have to deal with players who have learned so many things to do perfectly but incorrectly. It’s very hard to establish a new habit and a routine once the player know how to execute it even subconsciously.
Coaches who require relentless discipline tend to do much better. Despite the player’s wish to excel and desire to impose their individuality, they can keep them playing real fundamental basketball. I’ve seen many times when the game is on the line and one or two players will miss their chance to make a clutch shot because the receiver wasn’t able to receive such a pass or the positioning of the other player was all wrong.
It’s a sad thing to see. And that’s the advantage of having a team of five players who play sound fundamental basketball. When the game is on the line, they have far better chances to turn it around. Coaches know that. Players know that. But both of them tend to forget about it.
Two of my favorite basketball movies talk about fundamentals. True stories by the way. I’ve talked a great deal about them but it’s because they’re real and they represent what is real hard work and desire to win and to be the best you can be. In both of those movies (“Coach Carter” and “Glory Road”), fundamental basketball is the very essence of the movies. That is all there is to it. Basketball fundamentals.
They even went one step further and required some sort a “sacrifice”. That is, if you decide to dedicate yourself to your team, to this collaborative effort, you have to stay committed. And that means no late night parties.
No girls messing around with you. No nothing. That is just to illustrate a point that if coaches want to stay on top, they have to take the game of basketball as serious as they can. Being in great physical shape means having more energy. Having more energy will make you shine in those key moments.