Matt Dyment was a basketball player at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. He is also one of the finest leaders I have ever seen on and off a basketball court. I offer some examples of Matt’s leadership as a yardstick so you can measure your own efforts by comparison.
As a young high-school athlete I’d never experienced falling in love, not until I started training with professional athletes in Houston. (Yes, just as the commercial says, the NBA CARES, they really do.) That was where I got to know Miss Takes. Oh, I didn’t love her immediately – I even cursed at her at the beginning of our relationship – I wanted her to go away, but somehow, I could never get rid of her. I began to appreciate her and eventually, I grew to love my Miss Takes.
In response to an error, Hustle-CAT is a good term to remember and a good thing to do. In all the continuous team sports like basketball, soccer, volleyball, and hockey—and sometimes in baseball and football as well—a player will make a mistake and have the opportunity immediately either to compound the mistake or to correct it. If your error immobilizes you while you pause to demonstrate your anguish or anger, you compound your error.
We, humans, should be most appreciative of our thumbs. They are pretty super little tools and they help us do things that most other species can’t achieve: jump rope, have thumb wars, and let’s not forget maybe the most important – playing Super Mario Kart. (Man, I miss those red turtle shells!)
THINK THE GAME
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Common sense might seem to tell you that great plays are what make the difference between a good player and a mediocre player. But most coaches would disagree. More often, they would say, great plays—or the attempts to make great plays—are what make good players mediocre.
Players shouldn’t be shy about asking for the ball. The “He’s a ball hog” theory is correct a lot less often than the “He just didn’t see you that time” theory; all too often the problem is that you didn’t look very open. No one should expect to get the ball even half of the times he is open. You should expect something more like one out of ten. Therefore, you should put a definite plan into effect that can help you get the ball more often.
Like most people, a lot of basketball players are looking for that one thing that will create an immediate impact for themselves and their team. Let’s take a look at five things any player can do to gain immediate improvement.
Fleet means quick-moving, and here it is also a made-up word for “FLoored feEET.” Feet on the floor, on defense. Never leave your feet on defense, not even to block a pass, not even to block a shot. For every pass you block by jumping, two will get by you, and you will be slow getting to a good defensive help-position because you are not FLEET when you are in the air. You have to wait until you come down to move.