Remodeling vs Demolition
Imagine you just inherited your grandparent’s family farm where you spent your childhood summers. You grew up learning every nook and cranny of the 1900’s farmhouse and all the hideouts and fishing holes of the estate. Your inheritance comes complete with a house, barn, and functioning farming operation - but one stuck in the 1950’s. You hire an architect to discuss how to modernize the property as a functional farm, but their advice is to demolish the house and barn, and stop all operations for 6 months while the rebuild is taking place….
How likely are you to listen to that advice?
Your child has a lot of experience playing basketball, and has developed habits that has brought them success so far. If your advice, or that of their coaches is only ever “You’re doing it wrong, so you must start over as a beginner” they are likely to tune it out and keep doing what has worked for them so far.
The truth is no one likes to experience a demolition of the familiar, and the uncertainty of a future result, fear of failure, or the embarrassment of looking foolish during the transition period is too much for even most mature adults (when did you last undertake learning a new physical skill in public in front of your peers?)
The alternative to demolition is remodeling!
Taking an old farmhouse with good structure and using the best of what is there to create something new can produce amazing results!
Shaping skills toward an ideal is the equivalent of a remodel in basketball. We start with identifying where a player currently is with a skill, and then finding the most impactful point of change for that skill to incrementally move it toward the ideal.
Shooting is a great example: a player may have multiple issues going on - such as shooting too flat, maybe pushing with 2 hands, and falling forward after they jump.
We choose the point of greatest impact - in this case likely the start point of the ball for their shot motion - and incrementally move it toward the ideal starting point at their chin.
Knowing that multitasking is impossible, we ignore all other complicating factors of the current shot motion, and focus the player only on “chin”. Once they have done that 3-5 times, we move on to remodeling the next piece - likely to be the end point of their shot motion which we call “elbow to eyebrow”.
Rinse and repeat until all rooms of the shooting “house” are remodeled. Review these pieces every practice for a few weeks to create lasting change. Every remodeled room contributes to a better chance of success, and the self-reinforcement of made shots.
Hearing "Do this next" instead of "You're terrible"
Notice that we never had to tell the player “your shot is terrible, you’re doing it wrong”, they never had to hear “all the work and success you have experienced are worthless, you need to start over”.
We dealt with reality - this is the custom recipe this player has for propelling a basketball to the basket. All we needed to do was shape it toward an ideal 1 step at a time.
This takes focus, and an incredible amount of patience and persistence. Fortunately for me those are both specialties of mine, and the results are incredibly rewarding!
A player that maintains their confidence and makes incremental changes to improve can continue doing so, and is more likely to stay motivated to do so, over their entire basketball career.