There has been a phrase around sports training for a long time, maybe you have heard it? “Developing good habits” It has been used when coaches have been discussing training female basketball players and, in fact, it is used in the entire sporting world. Coaches have proclaimed that they want to “break their girls down, strip them of what they do wrong and then create and develop good habits”. You hear and see this at all levels and all ages. From Youth Leagues, AAU programs, High School, Junior College, Division I’s, II’s and III’s, the WNBA and NBA. It’s everywhere.
You have to ask yourself do you want to be (or even need to be) broken down? I don’t know about you but that sounds rather unappealing.
So what is a habit?
A habit is something that you do unconsciously or a way that you act in certain circumstances and situations. It is always something you do, at least partially unknowingly.
One example of a bad habit I have seen a lot of is a players traveling with the ball. There are as many different ways to do this as there are players. But what is interesting is how unaware they are of what their body is doing when they travel. This is a habit, they are doing it without deciding to do it and they are for the most part unaware that they are doing it.
With that understanding of what a habit is, then the real question is: Are there actually any “good” habits? Do you really want to unconsciously have to act a certain way because of some unknown and unseen force? Or would you rather be the one playing the game?
My view of this is, you don’t need habits. You need to understand the game of basketball well enough to respond and react to each situation as it occurs and you need to have practiced and learned well enough each of the fundamental basketball moves so that you can respond.
You need to understand basketball well enough so that as the action occurs and the defenses change you know instantly what you need to do and can do it.
When I coach a player I do not want to create habits, I want the player to have an increased awareness of what is happening around her on the court and to have the skill to respond to it, I want to train players to knowingly act! I want actions, which are based off of their knowledge I want them to use their judgment. There is another term for this it is called Basketball IQ.
My intent as a coach is to raise the Basketball IQ of the player and the physical skill then let them play the game.