Make Every Shot Count: How Basketball Taught a Point Guard to Be a Surgeon

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Volleyball, meanwhile, seemed to define what it meant to play in a team. As a child, Finn was into anything that involved movement. He started skiing at two years old. At five, he was playing soccer. He waterskied, wakeboarded, mountain biked, and ran laps around the table at dinnertime.

In spring, the family would drive home from skiing all day at Big White Mountain, passing people golfing as they approached town. On an August afternoon, seven-year-old Finn, his nine-year-old sister, and her friend filled the backseat of the family Isuzu Trooper. Owing to the oppressive heat, Vickie decided to drive the kids to the beach.


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Along the way, summer chatter filled another clear Kelowna day, until it was all silenced by a deafening smash. Only sitting on a hill with his sister and her friend, looking down at the wreckage with an orange juice. An adult told them it was going to be alright. Vickie soon underwent neck surgery to remove discs that had become pressed against her spinal cord. She lost use of her right arm, and — in a wholly unexpected complication — suffered detached vocal cords. Jeremy only remembers his mom leaving her voice in a hospital bed.

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He began acting out at school. The repetition of dribbling and shooting was, unlike so much that had befallen him, comfortingly predictable. The rhythm was calming. Already equipped with size and speed, Finn improved his skills rapidly as a high-octane point guard, routinely streaking down the lane and past helpless defenders.

Soon, the kid who always wanted to play everything gave up soccer. Skiing went next. He worshipped Jamario Moon, following the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavs when his favorite player switched squads. For years, his school attire rotated between pairs of baggy, black basketball shorts, adding a down jacket only when it snowed. As a high school senior, he was named a top player in British Columbia by The Province.

Everything, it seemed, was set in stone — his love of the game was destined to bloom forever. Sports are sports, but they all have a culture unique to themselves. He had always been a natural athlete — someone who could pick up a sport and excel almost immediately. Now, he was relegated to watching from the bench. However, Langara informed Finn he would likely lose credits if he transferred.

So, he stuck it out; by his third year, Finn was quickly gaining more playing time. By his fourth, he was named team captain. While playing time and leadership responsibilities may have changed, certain things held constant.

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He was the first to celebrate a point with a pair of clenched fists, his teammates rising to rancor along with them. He was also the first to hang his head after a mistake, and became known for quaking under pressure. Everything was max velocity. When he was in control heavy, heavy emphasis on when , he could navigate sets with a rare combination of grace and power. Parkinson tried to teach his fiery leftside that hitting a ball softly over the net may sometimes lose the point, but it also might salvage one.

A ball powered out of bounds, meanwhile, is a guaranteed notch for the other side. For his first four and a half years, Finn would cup headphones to his ears during pregame warmups, pumping anything with bass and a hyped-up tempo. No unforced errors. When the headphones became unplugged, Finn slingshotted towards his opponents — full abandon, but little in the way of measure.

Instead, he chatted with teammates. He smiled. He took in his surroundings. He began easing into sets, letting the spikes and serves come to him. I think this year I finally figured out how to do that and it changed my game completely.

For four years, Finn had lived for big points and striking plays. They were, in short, his way of justifying why he was a volleyball player, and not a basketball star. Perhaps he still felt he owed something to the game that had kept him going through his toughest time. He wanted to hang onto that safety net; that rhythm he could count on.

At the start of his final season, Finn embraced a far less glorious role. He cares about his teammates. THAT dribble. The passer feeds the ball to the big man in the post and, based on which hip their defender is playing closest to, they give one low, but strong crab dribble to the opposite side. Sometimes that will be straight to the basket for a layup. Sometimes it will be into the lane for a baby hook.

Remember; strong crab dribble and strong finish from a low position will ensure you get fed in the post as much as you can take. Passing is one of the most fundamental components of basketball.

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Even if there are players on your team who refuse to learn it. Learning how to give a basic chest or bounce pass should be elementary procedure, but taking it to the next level and throwing in other forms of passing and adding in an additional ball is another drill that tests your concentration. One player bounce passes while the other simultaneously chest passes, catches and repeats.

Shooting of the dribble is difficult. Coming up the court full speed and making a move on a defender to shoot is damn near impossible to perfect, but once you get this drill into your workout, it will at least feel like a natural way of doing things. All this drill takes is a basketball and a trash can as a defender.

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Learning to run full speed at something and stopping to make a move one way or another, while tough for an offensive player to do right, is even tougher for a defender to defend. Switch up the move; crossover, in-and-out, even a spin every once in a while with caution! After the move, you can give a strong move to the whole with no more than two additional dribbles.

Make Every Shot Count: How Basketball Taught a Point Guard to Be a Surgeon

Or learning to pull up off of it gives you a dimension to your game that coaches go gaga over. In-between game outside the lane, but inside the 3-point arch is a precisely commodity as a basketball player. All you have to do is look at Michael Jordan to understand this. Lane slides are one of the simplest drills to do, but one of the hardest to perfect.

Make Every Shot Count: How Basketball Taught a Point Guard to Be a Surgeon by Bruce Rosenfeld

There are a lot of factors that force players to freestyle their defensive moves, but lane slides will do three thing; it will force you to stay low, keep your feet apart and learn how to pivot. Thanks to one of basketballs forefathers, George Mikan, we have one of the greatest warm-up drills ever. The Mikan drill involves shooting close-up layups off one foot, alternating from one side of the basket to the other in a fluid motion.

While it may look easy, there are rules. You must keep the ball above your shoulders, which is the easiest rule to break because your natural inclination when jumping is to bring your arms, and the ball, down so you have more propulsion when going up. Another rule is that, once you miss, you have to start your count over. Oh, and then you have to do the same thing, but with reverse layups. Muscle memory and discipline can lead to easy buckets under the hoop.


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You walk in the gym and you stretch. What should be the next thing you do? It should be muscle memory shooting. One-handed shots, starting as close of range as possible and progressively moving out, keeping a rhythm as the ball drops through the hoop and go through the motion again. That ball going from your ball to your fingers and off your fingertips is one of the purest motions in basketball, even if some players have different ways of displaying it. Making Culture Pop. Our editorial content is not influenced by any commissions we receive.