(NBA season tips off today. I felt like writing something basketball-related, even though I have no chance at all in becoming an NBA player.)
For myself, basketball began when I was in the fourth grade. My teacher offered us a sign-up basketball sheet for the 5th grade team. I knew nothing about the game. I said to myself, "Let's give this a try," then I signed the sheet. (This was one of my first moments to be a part of something.) It was a privilege.
To this day, I still enjoy watching and playing the sport, other than tennis. Sooner or later, my knees will break down. (Embrace it, while I still can play.)
As a 10 year old, I only studied basketball players' rituals, superstitions, habits, and customs; (What a dumb kid I was) such as I studied Kobe Bryant's free throw routine. (By now, you already know he was my favorite NBA player growing up in my generation. Yes, Michael Jordan is still the GOAT.)
Kobe's body is aligned at the center of the free throw line. His body is slightly twisted to the left. Both toes are pointed slightly to the left at -45 degrees. Right foot a bit forward than his left foot. Both feet are about 3 inches apart. He slowly dribbles three times, then inhales and exhales. Now, he shoots the free throw.
I am a lefty in basketball, so I oppositely followed his routine in a mirror's perspective. (I do not dribble three times anymore. You will see on the video below.)
No wonder, I had an ugly-looking, 2-handed shooting form. I was only a catch-and-shoot player. Anybody can steal the ball from me, like stealing candy from a baby.
I easily made the basketball team from grades, 5-8. (No tryouts. Everybody was welcome to play. 8th grade team had a total of 21 players.) Yes, we won it every year, but I was known as a "benchwarmer." Every game, the coach only went for a 6-7 player rotation. Everybody else sat on the bench. Surprisingly, the generous parents did not complain about their kids' playing time.
I always looked forward to my team practice, and that was it. During practice, I enjoyed playing scrimmages, and I tried my best to prove the coach wrong. (It never happened anyway. Even though my playing time slightly improved every year, I was still a benchwarmer.)
My uncle was my playmate, when I was in the 7th and 8th grade. Every night, we played one-on-one up to 100 points, scoring 2s and 3s. (Lots of cardio) Like myself, he was a catch-and-shoot player with a 2-handed shot. I was better at attacking the rim than him. He beat me 75% of the time.
Every other weekend, at public parks, we teamed up together to play 2-on-2. We hardly won, since we were very small. (At that time, we were both standing at 5'2.) Whenever we did win, we would get excited, like winning a championship game.
In high school, I tried out for the freshman basketball team. Tryouts lasted 5 days. (I only attended 3 out of 5 days.) I was not good enough. I failed the tryouts. My lame excuse was I had no ride.
My friend did get along with our school's athletic director. He asked him, "Can Mike tryout again for next year's JV basketball team?" The director answered him, "He can't anymore, since he did not qualify for the freshman basketball team."
Nothing really changed. My shooting was still the same. Once I horribly missed, I sticked with passing or driving the ball. (I had no confidence.) I could somehow dribble, but I always went to my strong side, the left. I had a habit of dribbling really low with my head down, when I was in trouble. My one type of speed was "out of control." I ran fast to attempt a layup. Again, it was out of control. I had no moves. I only relied on my pass, layup drive, and defense. It was all ugly. (This was truthfully critiqued from Coach Willie, who embarrassedly saw my adult league basketball games in 2009-2012 and 2013.)
First and foremost, Coach Willie taught me the game of basketball. Honestly, it (basketball) all started in 2008. (He was also my tennis coach.) For everything in life, it takes time to improve. Having a great coach, like him (great guidance), showed me the "way." (Self-taught is tough.)
Coach Willie importantly told me, "Closely study your favorite player, and mimic his game. Only watch him with and without the ball. Forget about everybody else."
He was my basketball player development coach. I did not realize it, until one of my good friends recently told me, "You should be a basketball player development coach."
As of now, I have become more knowledgeable about the game.
Video below is what Coach Willie taught me.