A couple weeks ago, I played in a double header. I had one game at 1:30, and another one at 3, both on the upper west side. Sundays are always tough days to play because after going out Saturday night, the last thing you wanna do is physical activity the next day. Nevertheless, once I lace up the shoes and throw on the jersey, I kind of forget about the lack of sleep and it’s on.
The first game our team got blown out, I mean it was sad. They were pretty fast and we were not making our shots, and I think we ended up losing by 30+ points. The most demoralizing thing to your opponent (which one of my teammates pointed out) is making shots, and boy did they. It felt like everyone was making 3s, and I stopped boxing out since I knew they just had it. The 2nd most demoralizing aspect of the game: turnovers. It’s one of those things you can’t teach, aside from the simple repetition of “take care of the ball.” The second game I had 6-8 turnovers, leading the entire team. After this debacle of a doubleheader, the sobering subway ride home and lonely walk up the narrow hallways of my apartment building led me to a few epiphanies about committing turnovers during a game.
- Indecisiveness. I believe this is a characteristic of basketball in general since you’re constantly making quick decisions, but indecisiveness can lead you to not pass the ball with confidence and ultimately results in a high probability of a turnover. The most common mindset I find myself in is when I get passed the ball, and I don’t know what to do with it and end up looking for a teammate to bail me out in a sense. Once I got the ball, however, the play was already over. My mind wasn’t there, and I’m already looking to pass the rock. Where to pass? Who to pass to? These questions should not be running through your mind, but they ran through my mind during both of these games and led me to turnover after turnover.
- Holding the ball firmly. One of my teammates talked about this after our loss at the second game, and it made so much sense to me that I had to write it down. You’ve got muscle, you’ve got hands, hold onto that ball like you’re fucking life depended on it. Get into the 3-point stance and hold the ball with elbows stretched out. The firm grip gives you a sense of confidence and aggression will lead you to pass more effectively and commit less turnovers.
- See ball see man. This usually applies to defense in keeping an eye on both the ball and your man, but it applies to when you have the ball as well. Many times I have the ball, and think my teammate is in a position to receive a pass, but he’s still battling for position or isn’t looking himself. I’m not a true point guard but this is one of those lessons I am struggling with the most since I don’t normally have that bird’s-eye-view of the court from the PG’s perspective. You have the ball, you know where you are taking it, but the last final step before the pass is made is seeing your teammate who you are passing to. I’m not saying it’s like locking eyes and nodding to make sure he’s ready, but there’s an awareness that needs to be perceived, and it might just be a relationship between the two guys to know each other’s game.