Basketball and other physical sports have the possibility of transforming us. It all depends on how you play the game, of course! A couple years ago I attended a pre-season game in the town of Los Gatos, near where I live in northern California. As usual at these games, half time was a crazy time when kids are welcome to go out on the court and shoot around. Kids of all sizes show up and shoot and share the balls. If you make a shot, you are rewarded by getting the ball back for another shot until you miss. If you miss and don't get the rebound, you have to wait your turn for the next shot.
There is a kind of democracy going on, where each kid has a chance to retrieve a missed shot and then go out and create his or her own shot ... until s/he misses. I imagine these little kids dream of being bigger kids and performing well in games. The basket is a tremendous "possibility" of success. A long swish shot is a valued thing.
What was most memorable this particular evening was a small, slender and very pretty girl of 7 or 8 who came humbly out to have her chance to shoot some shots. She was sweet and patient. It appeared no one was noticing her, except me from my vantage point under the basket. When she did get a ball, she cradled it in her arms and carefully approached the basket to about 3-4 feet away where she would have a chance to get the big ball (regulation size) up to 10 feet. She did so beautifully, swishing most of her shots. If she made it, she was right there to claim the prize, back out carefully so as not to get hit by other players or balls, and then move in again for another shot. If she missed, she was alert to get another chance.
In that little montage of moments I saw the beauty of the game. Anyone can participate in the half time shoot-around. There is sharing, usually, and once players have a ball, the others let them shoot. They get their chance to go for the brass ring, to go for a "Swish." And the reward of a made shot is instantaneous. Make it and you get another chance. Miss it and you have to fight for the ball (or wait for a lucky bounce). Everyone understands those rules. I can only imagine what these young kids were thinking, but I'll bet it was much like my own dreams of success when I was their age.
Tom Nordland is a shooting expert and coach from California via Minnesota. His videos, coaching and writings are inspiring a Renaissance (a rebirth, a revival) in shooting around the world as players and coaches are taught the things that really matter in shooting. A great shooter as a youth, Tom was given a gift of seeing shooting like few have ever seen it. He sees the essence of great shooting and how to get there. The good news is that its very simple. The few great shooters of today and yesterday mastered simple things, not complicated motions. Improved shooting is now possible for everybody in the game, and mastery is available to those who sincerely dedicate themselves to it. Visit Toms website (www.swish22.com) to read of his background and his articles and newsletters, and to view the remarkable endorsements and amazing testimonials for this approach to shooting.