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  • My coach moved me from starting point guard to starting shooting guard halfway through my college career. This change made no sense to me as I was the best ball handler, our team’s leader, and I could get to the rim whenever I wanted to. I was so upset as my entire identity was wrapped around the idea that I was our team’s point guard. I met with my coach to ask him why this was happening, and what he said will stick with me forever.

    “Tyler you don’t see your teammates, you only see your shot, and that’s why I’m doing this.”

    That hurt. I had a misconception that just by working on my ball-handling and passing skills, I would become a great point guard.

    But I never developed my vision, and that hindered my ability to be a college point guard.

    These tools I’m about to share with you will help you learn to see the floor like a high-level playmaker and help you stand out to coaches everywhere.

    Vision to play

    This is your ability to play at speed, against contact, while seeing open teammates and making reads on defenders that are directly in front of you. These are the obvious passes. You drive into the paint, the post defender steps up, and you pass it down to your open teammate. Most players that can play the game can see that. That doesn’t make you a playmaker; it makes you competent enough to be on the court. To be a playmaker, you need the second level of vision.

    Vision to start

    If you’re going to give your team an advantage and become a starter, you must be able to see more than what’s directly in front of you. You must begin to use your peripheral vision, or side vision. These are the less apparent passes the better players see. For example, when you drive into the paint, the post defender steps up, and the helpers help guard against the pass down to your open teammate, you understand that there are still more options. Using your peripheral vision, you quickly identify your open teammate in the corner and make the pass to them for a wide-open shot. That is the vision to start. That is seeing more than what is directly in front of you. When you’re thinking the game like this, you’re playing at a much higher level. However, there is one more level of vision that separates the good from the greats.

    You might be thinking, “how do I actually train my vision?” Here’s what you need to know. Your eyes are never still, and your head is constantly on a swivel. The next time you are on the floor, try to make eye contact with all four of your teammates every time you have the ball. Before you attack the paint, have a plan. Know who is most likely to help on your drive and which teammate will become open as a result. Move your teammates into spots with verbal cues, eye contact, nods, and pointing. This will gradually grow your vision and make you a coach on the floor like Lebron James, Sue Bird, and Steve Nash.

    Think about it like this: when you’re driving in traffic changing lanes multiple times, you’re continually scanning what is directly in front of you, to the side of you, as well as in your blind spot to see who is coming next. That is 360-degree vision.

    In order to do this, you must become an expert ball handler, eliminating any conscious attention directed toward your dribbling. Your focus should be aimed at using your eyes and mind as tools to find open teammates, create plays, and frustrate your opponent.

    Grow your vision so you can grow your game. Coaches at the college level want players who can see the floor. This is a skill that transfers to the next level and one that coaches love to identify in young players. It’s one that will have coaches talking about how well you “think the game” and your “great feel” out on the court.

    -Tyler

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    About PGC

    PGC Basketball provides intense, no-nonsense basketball training for players and coaches. Our basketball camps are designed to teach players of all positions to play smart basketball, be coaches on the court, and be leaders in practices, games and in everyday life.

    We combine our unique PGC culture with a variety of teaching methods and learning environments to maximize the learning potential of those that attend our sessions. In addition to spending 6-7 hours on the court each day, lessons will be reinforced through classroom sessions and video analysis.

    Our goal at PGC is to empower you with the tools to fulfill your basketball dreams, while also assisting you in experiencing the joy of the journey.

    To learn more about PGC Basketball, including additional basketball training tips and videos, visit our YouTube Channel or find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.