Waking up for what should be a pretty tough day, it's sad to feel legs that just are not peppy at all. My strategy: Maybe coffee can fix that. Coffee, or grit.
Overall, everything we do here has been fun and instructive. But it's also a lot, pretty fast, and I have a to work on, as you have seen in the videos, I guess. Today's sessions will include some defense, and perhaps some work in the post. Funny line from ESPN radio's Ryen Russillo, who sat out a few minutes yesterday with a sore leg. When he heard we were going to do some defense today, he joked: "I'm probably going to be injured for that."
At the end of Tuesday, we actually played some full-court basketball. It was a lot of fun -- what everybody here has been wanting to do. But it was also pretty embarrassing. Here we are in front of coaches like David Thorpe, Mike Moreau, and Anthony Macri, people who notice every detail, playing at our most exhausted. They're noticing things like when you shot fake on the perimeter, before driving to the hoop, do you take a little step back, or do you just step forward as you should? Meanwhile, my thought process was along the lines of "I wonder if my legs will agree to run this play?" I tried to employ all the lessons I had learned, but that kind of fatigue, in the course of a full-court game, is tough. Earlier in the day, we had done all kinds of ball-handling and shooting drills, not to mention a session with a strength and conditioning coach, doing things like jumping as high as we can and touching a heavy medicine ball to the wall. I think I speak for every participant (except for maybe Chris Ballard, who seems not to tire) here when I say we'd like not to be judged by this night of basketball.
TrueHoop reader David writes, in response to the ballhandling video: "So, my ball handling is garbage and it's an aspect of my game that I've been looking to improve as of late. I was really excited to see you had posted about some ball handling drills but was hoping for a little more detail on what you were taught. Why did they want you to dribble hard? I'm sure you learned countless new things, but did anyone else in particular really stand out about ball handling?" There is a lot here that would be best addressed to one of the coaches, but I'll paraphrase them: When you dribble, the ball is vulnerable to being poked away, especially because for some of the time it is out of your hands entirely. Getting low, and dribbling hard, makes it so the ball is out of your hand for a very short amount of time, and is thus harder to get at. Also, when you play against an elite defender, you'll find yourself wanting to dribble hard to keep it away from him/her. When that day comes, you'll want it to be second nature to dribble that way. The coaches here don't really ever want you to be loosey-goosey with the ball.
TrueHoop reader Kyle writes: "Hey, just wanna say thanks for these video updates. I'm learning loads, much more than on my own on the pick-up court. And I also learned that you're so white, you glow. Any pukes yet?" Thanks Kyle. I should make clear: That glow has nothing to do with my whiteness. I just sweat so much my aura was starting to leak out. I'm pleased to report, however, that we have not had any pukes.
Unrelated story I just noticed that's pretty interesting: Erik Spoelstra's playbook for the Miami Heat is in a book, but it's also on iPods that have been distributed to all the players.