Bad habits sure are a pain in the you know what. On the court or off, they can seem insurmountable and unbreakable. What’s the best way to break a bad habit? Never form one. However, since we are all human and inevitably create them in our lives and our games, we have to ask ourselves one very important question. Once these habits have been formed, and once you recognize that they are there, wreaking havoc…
Are you willing to start over and do what it takes to break that bad habit and lay the foundation for a good one?
You answer to that question will help to determine your success as a player. Bad habits are easy to come by. Too much playground ball can lead to numerous aspects of your game becoming less effective. Jumpshot, defense, turnovers, just to name a few. They can be small, barely recognizable. Or glaring like a spotlight. Whatever they are, they are not allowing you to maximize your talent as a player. Let me tell you one habit that almost ruined my career as a shooter.
It was my sophomore year in high school, I was the starting point guard. For some reason that I’m still not sure of to this day, my shooting form starting becoming “off ” throughout the course of the season. Maybe I wasn’t yet strong enough, who knows. It wasn’t a lack of practice and repetition, as I attending every off season camp and diligently worked out all summer long. But here I was, instead of shooting the proper way, with the shooting window open (meaning taking the ball from my right hip directly up to over my right eye, then releasing), it was starting to close on me. I was now taking the ball across my body, so not only did I not have a clear view of the basket the entire time, but I also wasn’t releasing it from the proper point. Have you even seen Kevin Martin shoot (Rockets, Thunder, Wolves)? Think that, yet way less effective. My shooting didn’t tank completely, but it was enough to effect my percentage and it was clear to see on tape that it just wasn’t right.
So I had a decision to make.
I could go on with this new found improper shooting form. Or I could fix it. One option was easy, the other was hard. One option gave me limited long term success, the other removed all limits.
I immediately chose option #2. No, not hashtag 2, number 2 (keep up kids).
Once the season finished, I got to work. With what, you say? The most basic of the basic shooting drills.
Form shooting, naturally. I started 2 feet in front of the basket and slowly, monotonously, worked on transforming my bad habit into a good one. Every day, shot after shot after shot. I didn’t even take a full jumpshot for a few weeks. Simply every day, right in front of the basket, 2 feet, 4 feet, 6 feet. One hand form shooting, then adding the guide hand. Over and over and over again until that window stayed open. I reprogramed my brain in order to reprogram my body.
Sure, it was painstaking. Sure, it was frustrating at times, wondering why in the heck it got to that point in the first place. But you know what else is was?
And that’s all that matters. Results. There are results, and then there are MAXIMUM results. It’s our choice as players to decide what we want.
Every player will get results by playing or working on their game. But the ones that are willing to analyze their games honestly, and then fix the bad habits, big or small, will be the ones that squeeze every last ounce out of the talent that was given to them.
The great news? After that off season of fixing my busted shot, I’ve never had to fix it again. I also gained some added benefits that I didn’t expect. I proved to myself once again that if I put in the work, gains would come. There was nothing but upside physically and mentally. It gave me the edge to know that if something became broken in my game in the future, I could fix it. There is nothing that can replace that. It gives you the confidence of an animal. When you know that you are not really truly willing to put in the work that it takes, there is always a hesitancy in the back on your mind. Hesitancy does not breed the ultimate confidence you will need to dominate.
So, are you willing to start over? What’s waiting for you on the other side is more exciting than you can imagine.