This is why some coaches will not foul.
This is why some coaches will not foul.
This past week Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love pulled down 31 rebounds against the Knicks. Love has a knack for going after the ball.
Day 76 – Chasing Down Loose Balls
How hard do you go after loose balls?
Do you pursue rebounds? Rebounding the ball well determines your ability to win or lose ballgames. Do not give up on second and third shots. Get every rebound possible…
If you don’t go very hard, you better change your ways.
Here’s New York Post basketball writer Pete Vecsey on Love and his ‘love’ for chasing down loose-balls.
Here’s a quote from Love when he wrote an e-mail message as a high school player.
“I want to be a rebounder like Dennis Rodman. I want to get every rebound and bleep up everybody up on the boards.”
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I decided to compose this entry Saturday night at half-time of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Celtics and the Orlando Magic.
I was shocked to look at the box score and see 1 offensive rebound next to Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard.
Big reason for the shock?
He was on the floor for all 24 minutes.
Matter of fact, the Magic shot 12 for 31 from the field and were able to pull down 1 offensive rebound as a team in the half.
For the game they had 3 offensive rebounds. In Games 1 and 2 the Magic pulled down 15 and 10.
Offensive rebounding is all about being aggressive. It’s about pursuing the ball. It’s about mental toughness. It’s hard work and determination.
I was surprised at how the Magic players stand around on the perimeter and watch the ball when a shot is taken. (That is one of my main problems with this ‘D-D-M’ offense. Sure you drive and kick out to open shooters, but what happens when a shot is missed; who gets the rebounds?)
Players like Charles Oakley, Dennis Rodman, Ben Wallace and Moses Malone were relentless on the glass. When a shot went up, they went after the ball.
“It’s not about height; a lot of people think it is,” said Wilt Chamberlain, the NBA’s all-time leading rebounder. “People don’t realize rebounding is a mental thing.”
If you don’t have the heart and desire to go after the ball, you don’t have a chance.
Like ‘Wilt the Stilt’ mentioned, it doesn’t matter how tall you are, how strong you are or what position you play. I’m watching Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, the second smallest cat on the floor go in and snatch offensive rebounds; he’s 6’1″.
Even if you can’t get the rebound, at least try to tip it backwards. Better yet, make some sort of effort to pursue the ball.
When a shot goes up, crash the boards! Don’t stand around and watch.
Want to know what separates good rebounders from the great ones? “Heart, it’s that simple.” said Robert Parish.
5 Traits of Great Rebounders:
5-Pursue the Ball
“Nothing in the game gives me as much of a rush as the feeling I get when I grab an offensive rebound over two or three guys in the final three minutes of a game…it completley demoralizes the other team.”
Follow me on Twitter: @CoachFinamore
Last season ESPN’s Jay Bilas wrote a great piece on ‘toughness’. I thought it was a great read; one of the greatest pieces of advice on the game ever! Everyone raved about it; coaches all across America printed it and posted it in their locker rooms. They also passed it around as a hand-out.
Bilas did a great job breaking it down on what it took to get things done on the court, especially on a toughness level.
The game of basketball, especially at the highest level, is not for the weak. The higher in level you go, the tougher you need to be. (When I say tough, I don’t mean fist-fighting)
Here’s my take on toughness. The next few days I will break down different aspects of the game and where toughness factors in.
We all know about Allen Iverson’s ‘practice’ rant, one of the most played video clips of all-time; regardless of what A.I. said, practice is the backbone to a player’s success. It’s where you get your extra shooting in, you work on conditioning, and most of all, you get to spend time with your teammates running the offense and working together on the defensive end. It’s where you learn defensive principles, concepts and where you see who can help you on game day.
I once read a great quote about Michael Jordan being the greatest practice player in the history of basketball. I also found this from Adrian W. of Yahoo Sports on Jerry Krause.
“Michael absolutely killed Scottie in practice every day for his first two years. Mike just tore Pip up. He made Pip learn how to compete and forced him into playing hard. Had there not been someone to challenge Scottie like that, I’m not sure what would’ve happened to him.”
What if Jordan had not went after Scottie Pippen hard in practice every day? Would Scottie have been as great as he turned out?
You need to compete every day in practice; regardless if your best friend or roommate is guarding you in a scrimmage game or even if you are competing against them in a drill.
Here’s a piece on Jordan from ESPN’s Melissa Isaacson.
“We’d run a three-man shooting drill in practice,” longtime assistant Johnny Bach recalled. “And Michael always made sure he had the threesome he wanted. Not Trent Tucker, not Johnny Paxson, not Craig Hodges [among the best 3-point shooters in the league].
“He’d say, ‘I’m calling my pigeons up to shoot.’ They were shooting for some remuneration. He’d force himself to shoot under pressure. He needed a challenge to beat [Scottie] Pippen. He knew Horace [Grant] had a nice shot. He’d also throw some wicked passes to [his shooters]. You’re supposed to honor the code to throw a good pass to the shooter, but he had a way of throwing screwballs and sinkers. Not that he would have tolerated that. That was imperial Michael at his best.”
“Run it back, run it back,” is what Michael yelled when his team lost. It is what he said whenever he had lost.
Run it back, run it back is something that needs to be said over and over in practice if you expect to improve. Is it any wonder the greatest player in the history of basketball was arguably the greatest practice player of all-time?
Here are a couple of practice tips that all players can use:
Come prepared to practice hard every day. (Focus)
Take meaningful shots to warm up
Run the floor hard
Pay attention to the coaching staff
Challenge your teammates
Stay after practice and work on your offensive moves.
Get in extra shooting
“He wanted to be the best player on the best team,” said Wennington. “In order to do that, he understood that he had to have 11 other guys working hard all the time.”
-Bill Wennington on his former teammate Michael Jordan.
The first time someone steps onto a basketball court and grabs a ball, they check out the rim, size it up and without warning hoist the ball up into the air. Doesn’t matter how old they are; everyone’s first experience on a court with a basketball is a shot at the basket. If they make it, they feel good, miss it and they try again and again, usually until they make one.
So it’s no wonder as players advance in their career whether it’s the high school, college or pro level, shooting is what’s most important to most. You have DVD’s on shooting, books on how to become a better shooter and coaches preaching about different shooting devices or programs to improve your shot. But it’s too bad that many fail to realize there are a lot of things one can do on the court for their team besides shooting. We put too much emphasis on shooting the ball.
Take Dogus Balbay, a 6’1″ junior for the Texas Longhorns. I criticize ESPN’s Jay Bilas often but last night he made a great point in saying, “Balbay makes a difference in the game without even shooting the ball”. Jay-bird is right! The starting point guard for Rick Barnes’ team did a great job in distributing the ball and playing lock-down defense on Michigan State’s all-american point guard Kalin Lucas (3-11 FG and 6 turnovers) helping the Longhorns to the victory 79-68.
In today’s game everyone worries about being the leading scorer. Parents want their kids to be the leading scorer, players want their names in the paper so they have to get their shots and big time players want the big contracts. But little do they know that if they do other things to help the team, the praise and accolades will come.
Here are 3 elements of the game besides shooting/ scoring which are needed for teams to be successful.
Defense: Like Balbay, if you concentrate on shutting down your opponent, you are in a great position to win. Pressuring the ball, helping, getting deflections and drawing charges. Defense comes from the heart. It comes from having courage, being fearless and willing to exert the energy to help the team. “You’re not going to find many better on the ball defenders at the point guard position than Dogus Balbay.” Jay Bilas added during last night’s Texas-MSU match-up.
Sharing the Ball: As with shooting, players form habits. It’s too bad many fail to realize the importance of forming a habit of sharing the ball; to hit the open man or make the extra pass around the perimeter. Players who share the ball are special-it’s an indication that they care about their teammates. Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls had a great quote just a few days ago. “I’m a point guard, I’m supposed to pass the ball and everything. People are saying they want me to shoot more, but I’m a point guard, I can’t do that. I got to pass the ball to people and get people open. So taking over as a point guard is getting people open and shooting here or there.”
Rebound: Tough, aggressive, and persistent players crash the boards and pursue the ball. Rebounding takes work; most players don’t want to work. They refuse to fight. An extra effort is needed to keep the ball alive on the offensive glass or failure to pursue the ball after a missed shot will result in a poor outcome. You can’t be timid. Players need to go all-out when a shot goes up. You need to put a body on your man and hold your ground. You can’t be timid. Pat Riley once said, “No rebounds, no rings.”
Shooting the ball is an awesome feeling. It’s fun, it’s entertaining and of course necessary but the above elements, which may seem trivial to most are just as important in order to give yourself a chance to be successful.
My responsibility is getting all my players playing for the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back.