Friday, June 08, 2007

What to do when injured: Homework!

I went on the DL in March with a torn achilles and since then, I've been looking for things to do to satisfy my hoops addiction. In a previous post, Cary suggested video games, and I've definitely had a little fun playing NBA2K7 on my rickety old Playstation2. I also spent a lot of time watching the NCAA tournament and the NBA playoffs.

Recently I read Mark Kriegel's biography of Pete Maravich, which was enjoyable to me in the same way that Us magazine is enjoyable to my wife. But the book discusses a series of instructional videos that Maravich made in the early 1980s called "Homework Basketball." I'd never heard of these before, so I decided to check youtube, which seems to have uploaded every video ever made by anyone.

What a revelation! Maravich is a great teacher of the game, which is not surprising considering his father's coaching prowess. (And he refers to his dad constantly in the clips.) The younger Maravich explains ideas clearly, and in describing various drills, rarely fails to note one or two little tricks that can dramatically improve performance. (Example: When throwing a behind-the-back pass, make sure your palm is "floppy" and pointing upwards.) With my busted wheel, I couldn't do a lot of the drills, but there were a number I could practice even while sitting on my couch in a cast, like:

This one on ball handling.

This one on shooting form.

I've actually adjusted the way I shoot based on one of the videos, rotating my hand clockwise about 10 degrees so my index finger sits in the center of the ball. (I've always shot with my middle finger in the center.) Wow. I thought I was too old to adjust my mechanics, but this minor change has really helped a lot. I've been going to the park and doing light shooting drills lately, and the Maravich method is definitely a lot more natural and smooth than my old way of shooting.

The funny thing is that the Homework Basketball videos were clearly made for kids learning to play ball, but I think that they can be useful for anyone who wants to get better. The youtube clips are all pretty short, but I learned something from every single one.

Do your homework!

No comments: