Keeping your head in the game

Knowing and understanding various situations in the game of basketball can be the difference between winning and losing.

There is a lot that goes into understanding the sport of basketball. There is more to it than putting the ball in the hoop. Coaching and experience are two very important pieces involved in this understanding.

Yanders Law coaches will take you far. For individual help, The Basketball Movement can help to further a player's knowledge about many aspects of the sport. The nuances of ball-handling, shooting, and how to conduct yourself are a few examples.

Game-time situations come at you fast. Sometimes it is in those instances that you learn the most, whether you get it right or especially if you get it wrong.

I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.
— Michael Jordan

Even the most experienced can still falter

For all of your coaching, practice, and game-experience, you will still make mistakes. Overplaying passing lanes, trying too hard to thread a pass into the post, the list of possibilities is very long.

A player must keep track of what they can control. Always being aware of the time on the game clock (or shot clock), how many fouls you have, and the score are simple, yet important facets of the game.

Even a grizzled NBA veteran like JR Smith can still make basic mistakes. Don't be a JR Smith.

Keep your head in the game and control as much of what happens as you can. Mistakes will happen; the best players often average the most turnovers.

Don't sweat the small stuff, but also do not assume that you will make the correct decisions at all times. Take deep breaths, analyze as much of each situation as time will allow, and play the game.

To continue taking your game to the next level, keep checking back here or get in touch with the guys over at The Basketball Movement!

Using size to your advantage

Basketball players come in many shapes and sizes. Each of these various sizes can be used to a player's advantage.

For a long time, basketball was closed off to only the biggest individuals at its highest levels. Throwing it into the post to let your bruiser back his/her way to the cup was the most effective form of offense. Times have changed.

The game itself has evolved, as has our understanding of what it takes to win. Foul-calling and the three pointer have been a pair of equalizers in addition to the knowledge of what it takes to succeed at smaller sizes.

It still certainly helps to be big, but now more than ever, smaller players have opportunities to compete as well.

Guards can use skill and speed

Perimeter players can be light and/or on the shorter side, while still achieving success. A great shot can go a long way in the sport of basketball. Ball-handling and passing as well. A taller player may be able to get a better view of the floor, but being lower to the ground often means improved ball-handling prowess and bounce pass options.

There are numerous examples of shorter players experiencing great success at all levels of the game. Yanders Law Founder, Rob Yanders played professionally with grit and savvy rather than overpowering opponents with strength and size - though quickness and toughness helped too.

Post players aren't going anywhere

Just because it is easier to be an undersized baller does not mean that post-play is out the door. A surplus of height, or even extra (managed) weight/muscle are always an intimidating factor on the court.

The taller you are, the closer you are to the rim. Offense and defense both become a bit easier with height. The top rim-protectors have always been tall with an above-average wingspan.

Even if you are on the bigger side, but height isn't part of the equation, there are ways to succeed. The bigger you are, the more you will be able to impose your will on smaller players.

Not too big, but not too small?

You can definitely work with this too. Being somewhere in between means that you may be able to matchup with multiple positions.

A well-rounded skill set will help you to use your size on the perimeter or hang with the bigs down low.

For more help on how to take advantage of your size, whatever it may be, talk with you Yanders Law coaches. These individuals are in these positions because they know the game inside and out. Take advantage of this resource and pull out all the stops on the way to maximizing your potential.

Representing the colors

In sports, competition is a strong driving force, but it helps to have other motivators to play for as well.

Whether you are playing for your school or one of the greatest teams around (Yanders Law Basketball for example), you are going to be wearing unique colors and logos. These things do much more than distinguish one team from the other on the court; they stand for the unity of a team, entity, or community.

Playing for your school means wearing the same colors and the same words across your chest as many that came before you. You are representing not just the athletic team, but also your school as a whole, which is something you should take great pride in.

For Yanders Law, the blue, red, and white symbolize a brotherhood and sisterhood among a diverse group of people. You don’t go to the same school as all of your teammates, you aren’t always going to be from the same city or town, and you may have very little in common. You do have at least one thing in common however: a love for the sport of basketball.

Yanders Law Basketball is not some extracurricular obligation, it is a team that you chose to join to allow your passion for basketball to flourish.

Each year that you play, you will be reunited once more with teammates you know, but you may also get to welcome new members into our exclusive club. Your brothers and sisters in Yanders Law colors are just that. We are family.

Many have worn the words “Yanders Law” on their jersey and many more will again in the future. For all of these individuals, this represents family, commitment, and passion for hoops. Wear it proudly, and remember to respect those that wear it with you; have their backs. We do not have a school backing us or any one particular community. We are built on players, parents, coaches, and FAMILY.

Wear it proudly!!

Playing on either side of a blowout

In your basketball career, you will undoubtedly be a part of a few blowout games on one side or the other.

We hope that you will always be on the winning side, but that will likely not be the case. Sometimes you will be on a team that is heavily outmatched; maybe things just were not clicking for you at all.

Being down by so many points can be disheartening. No one wants to lose so badly in front of their fans and peers. The desire to not let this happen though is an important piece of competitive spirit. We are not saying that avoiding getting blown out should be top-of-mind entering a game, but if it starts looking that way, then it should probably click.

"Blown out" sounds a little subjective. It could mean different things to players at each level of the game. For the NBA it may mean 20 to 25-plus points or so. For NCAA, more like 15 to 20-plus, since the game is slower-paced. High school ball is played at many different levels, but that 15-20 range likely is not too far off depending on how early it happens.

What to do if your team is getting blown out

If you find yourself in this situation, there is no need to panic OR hang your head. Large deficits happen frequently, and occasionally, they are overcome. Check an example by the OKC Thunder earlier in the NBA Playoffs. The Thunder were down 25 in the third quarter.

The number one thing that you can do for your team in these situation is to continue playing hard. The fans will see it, the coach will see it, and your teammates will see it. Set an example for the rest of your team by playing through and attempting to come back.

Who knows, you may just pull an upset. Wins like that are often the most memorable, so do not pass up such an opportunity.

What if you are the team that is applying the beatdown?

Basketball is at its best when played between two evenly matched teams that take the contest down to the wire. It is more entertaining and more fun (though comebacks are pretty great).

When you are doing the thumping, how to proceed is usually dictated by the coach. Are the teams so mismatched that you could pour it on at will? Is the other team a threat to come back and needs to be kept a arm's length?

Continuing to play hard in a blowout is not a bad thing, but it is a better opportunity to play right. If you are up by so much that it ceases to be fun for either team, it is a great time to focus on fundamentals and run through your playbook in a game-time situation for excellent practice. Never pass up an opportunity to improve.

For more on the sport we all love, keep it locked to Yanders Law and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Training and skill development vs. shooting around

Anytime you have a ball in your hands is an opportunity to get better. Be sure to make the most of your time with The Basketball Movement.

The most successful players make plenty of time to get up shots, work on their conditioning, and hone their craft. Almost any time that can be spent with the sport of basketball will improve your game, even if it is just an imperceptible amount.

There is a big difference however between shooting around in the driveway, park, or gym compared to structured and intentional training. You can get a lot of free throws in at the park near your house, but what if your elbow is too wide from your body or you are not bending your knees enough?

Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.
— Vince Lombardi

Nothing beats supervised, disciplined training when working to improve as much as possible. This is not to say that messing around in your driveway at home or just playing "21" after school are not good. Basketball is a game after all, and doing anything active and fun is time well-spent. Just remember when it comes to improving, there is such a thing as time best spent. 

Step up your game with The Basketball Movement

For the ultimate in training and skill development, The Basketball Movement is the leader in maximizing your time and efforts in the game of basketball.

With The Basketball Movement, you can get group or even one-on-one time with coaches dedicated to making you the best you can be. The facility is completely centered around player development, with low-impact, basketball specific equipment and full-sized courts.

There are some things that you cannot achieve on your own, practicing out in the driveway. The Basketball Movement provides the full basketball experience for players of all skill levels. Even if you can just get in on the occasional open clinic on Saturdays (2nd to 8th grade), you are taking steps to pass your opposition.

The One Rep from Glory training videos can give you the next best thing. The series includes tips and tricks on ball handling, separation moves, finishing moves, shooting off the bounce, and catch and shoot tips.

Contact us to find out how to maximize your basketball abilities. Don't forget to check out our YouTube channel too for some more drills.

Never too cold or wet for basketball

Poor weather? No problem. Indoor court, outdoor court, no court - there is always a way to keep working on your game.

Life is always going to be handing you great excuses to not hone your craft. Bad weather, full schedule, no gym, the list goes on. There is nothing wrong with taking breaks or needed time off - life happens. Just remember that the players you are striving to be better than may not be doing the same.

Basketball is of course an indoor sport primarily. If the weather is good enough for you to get to a gym, you can practice to your heart's content. Not everyone has court access (though you can always hit up The Basketball Movement), but there are always things you can do.

Locked in the house with bad weather? Grab a basketball. No, we're not going to tell you to dribble around the house. Do some around the worlds to keep your handles and the feel of the ball fresh. Lay flat on your back and get some shots up. Not hitting the ceiling, just watching the rotation of the ball to check your release and flick of the wrist.

Sharpen your mind

Whether you are a player or even a coach, there is always studying to be done on the game. Watch game footage. You do not have to have tapes of opponents or anything like that. Watch some NBA. Watch some college hoops. Get on YouTube and watch some of the greats to learn footwork and where to be on D.

Visualization can be a big part of the game. The same way pros visualize the ball going in the hoop at the free throw line, you can put yourself in the shoes of the players you see on the screen. Keep your eye out for players that you think you can model your game after.

Not everyone can be LeBron James, but there are things to be learned from any player that has made it to college or the NBA. Work on your weaknesses, but also focus on your strengths to become elite.

If the weather has you cooped up, keep these things in mind. Also, check out The Basketball Movement on YouTube for the podcasts and drills you can replicate for when you can get back out there.

For more motivation, team news, and everything hoops, keep in locked to Yanders Law!

Road trips: Traveling to games

Home court advantage is nice, but half the time or less (during spring and summer) , you will be traveling to play ball.

Traveling to games can often be the worst part about game day. Different teams and players approach this aspect in diverse ways, but it is certainly something that everyone has to deal with one way or another. Traveling short distances is nice, but you may want more time to get in the zone. Traveling long distances is the most challenging, because your mind can wander, you could stiffen up, or frankly, you could get bored.

The time and distance between you and your destination can seem insignificant next to the game, shootaround, practice, and so on. While the order of importance of these things can be debated, the travel time is still just one more thing that you must prepare for.

It’s not the will to win that matters. Everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.
— Paul "Bear" Bryant

Some coaches encourage quiet trips to games. They see chit-chat, laughter, or what have you as distracting from the task at hand. Others may take no issue with it, as it may be seen as camaraderie that contributes to team building. As usual, when in doubt, do as coach says.

As a general rule, it is probably okay to chat with your teammates, but you need to try and keep it in the realm of basketball. Talking about your strategy, plays, or opponent/scouting report are all great ways to pass the time. Even talking about basketball in general, be it NBA, WNBA, NCAA… you are still thinking about the sport you are about to go play.

Another good way to pass the time is listening to music; the genre or artist is of course up to you. For some, it may be beneficial to listen to something a bit more relaxing if you tend to get nervous or worked up before a game. For many, something that elevates your adrenaline a bit like rap or rock is preferable. Find something in your sweet spot and stick with it.

Stiffening up on a long road trip can be a tough issue to avoid. Stretching is important here as it is in so many other aspects of basketball. Even if it is rotating your ankles, straightening out your back or legs, or rotating your neck, it isn’t a bad idea to maintain a little movement on the way every so often. Once you’ve arrived, remember that it is never too early to start stretching out.

Some road trips will be extra long. Sometimes you may even travel to a distant town and not play until the next day. In those instances, it is perfectly fine to relax a bit. Listen to what you want, joke around, so on and so forth. As much as possible though, stay locked in on the task at hand and stay mentally ready to do your thing come game time.

For more tips, team news, and more, keep checking back right here!

Maintaining a "next play" mentality

Basketball is unique from other major sports with its non-stop action. It is important to keep your head up at all times.

In football, when the person with the ball gets tackled, you regroup and set up a new play to try again. After so many attempts, you either score or give up the ball to head to the sidelines for a while. In baseball, you strikeout or hit, then get a lengthy break.

Basketball is different.

If you miss a shot in basketball, you either need to attempt to rebound your own miss or be ready to sprint back on defense. There is not always time to regroup after a miss and especially not after a turnover.

Let's say you have back-to-back turnovers; is there time to hang your head and feel bad for yourself or feel embarrassed? I think you know where we are going with this.

Keep your head up and move on to the next play

Shooting slumps happen. Consecutive lapses in judgement happen. That is just part of the sport of basketball. When these things affect your mentality or your hustle, that is when you actually have a problem on your hands.

It may be tempting to hang your head when things are not going your way. There are a few big problems with that. Your teammates will see that and lose trust, your coach may see and pull you out, or the other team may see and gain confidence.

I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.
— Michael Jordan

The best thing that you can do is instantly focus on the next play. Just stay in the zone and play the game that you have been practicing and practicing. If it results in a defensive stop, you will regain some confidence. If you work to get a layup, it may breed confidence in your shots from every range.

The "next play" mentality is relevant at all levels of the game. You will miss a lot of shots in your career, which will allow lots of opportunities to bounce back. Stay ready and seize those opportunities.