Every basketball game that ever was played or ever will be played is nothing but a good old school yard pick up game. School yard pick up games are a wonderful carefree joyous ballet of unfettered boundless energy.People like Michael Jordan, Julius Erving, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson, who knew the "secret" played the game on on offense, with that same school yard spirit, even in NBA championship games..
i say offense, because unlike baseball or football. basketball requires that the same 5 people switch back and forth from offense to defense every 20 seconds or so. The dichotomy here raises the challenge that the extreme aggression, almost anger if you will, necessary to play successful defense is exactly opposite the mind set necessary to correctly shoot and make a jump shot. Art Shell said in football defense should be played as if the guy you are going against just hit your mother in the head with a 2 by 4. I alter this for basketball saying defense must be played that if your man scores your mother WILL be hit in the head with a 2 by 4.
Ahhh, but offense is different....sure you can offensive rebound with aggression and drive to the hoop aggressively, but shooting the basketball at one's highest level requires that the shooter take the shot with the same carefree unfettered joy with which he shot as an early teen in a school yard game. how many of you remember playing or watching school yard games. How many of you remember as I do playing in early teens against future div. 1 college players. You all know who they were. They were the ones who never missed an open shot, and even after taking their man and pulling up they would still make 90% of their j's. What the media calls a shooter "getting into a zone" and hitting 10 straight shots is merely a player going into a carefree school yard mode and letting them rip, all pressure be damned.
In the span of every human being's life, rich or poor, there are things that cause pressure . Health concerns, the faithfulness of a spouse, child birth, going off to war, enduring a loved one going off to war, and ultimately for believers, even living properly and trying to achieve Heaven and avoid hell. But even in the so called "Big" basketball games, no one machine guns your loved ones if you miss a shot, and no one takes your scholarship away if you lose, All the self imposed or outside media or fan pressure to win or not lose is manufactured and diametrically opposed to what it takes to hit a jump shot.
The Solution. first let me preface The Solution, by saying i adhere to the strictest of fundamentals being taught and practiced relentlessly on a daily basis and by no means suggest in any way the undisciplined off balance heaves often seen in school yard ball..........Every freshmen who attends his first Villanova practice until as a senior he attends his last practice should be taught and shown that every offensive set we run, be it a single play or a skins and shirt game us against us, should be done with the same care free unfettered joy that it was done with from his earliest remembrances in the school yards. Then when the season begins and it's us against them, every player will be taught and taught until it becomes second nature that we always play offense with this same carefree unfettered joy. Unfettered from "Big Game" hype,, "a must win" hype, pro scout in attendance hype, honor and glory hype, social network hype. We play defense like war and we play offense with carefree simple schoolyard joy for the game. Take your hype and shove it. when the season is over we will look back on what we achieved.
This must be preached every minute of every practice and every game, until it becomes a reality for every single player.
Coaches like J W have it half right, in that they give the players the green light, freedom, if you will, to shoot basically any open shot, but what they don't teach is the pressure free school yard joyous attitude it takes to shoot these 'free to take" shots "FREELY". That's when the true emancipation takes place and young men who were slaves to big game pressure will now be free to let their wonderful God given abilities shine through and flow.
Many of you know K.I.S.S. or keep it simple stupid. The infamous coach k when interviewed last week said with all the proper gravity that every game is a BIG Game. Of course inspite of his past hall of fame success 2 of his last 3 NCAA appearances ended in abject failure. My belief is on defense every game is war, and on offense every game is just another pick up game to be played with unfettered school yard joy, let the chips fall where they may.
If the "Solution' is implemented, never again will a Villanova team under achieve in big games due to tightness, and I believe with everything that's in me, the emptiness of knowing that the stupid worthless debilitating pressure that attacked our kids just as a disease would will never infect them or affect us again.
If not for the last 3 games this would have never been written. So hopefully, this little what I deem to be an answer to a prayer on how to make the point, will bring us all some over achieving Nova hoops Joy.
And as the great Mr. Gump said. "and that's all i have to say about that"