If you’ve spent any time on the Sabers Fitness Floor while I am there, you know that I can’t help myself from telling everyone “a better way” to do whatever it is they are trying to do. On the Fitness Floor, we promote barbell training (emphasis on the word “training”). More specifically: heavy barbell training with full range of motion, compound, multi-joint athletic movements. Even more specifically: squats, deadlifts, presses, cleans, and did I mention squats and deadlifts? We practice these kinds of lifts in order to improve strength and power in the belief that greater strength and power will lead to better and safer performances in the Sabers gym and on the Sabers field, not to mention an overall improvement in physical health and mental wellbeing.
(An aside: This approach differs from the use of machine-based single-joint isolation exercises, the ones where you get to sit down on a padded seat.
Don’t get me started on the topic of which approach I think is better.)
We've all heard the adage "practice makes perfect." And many of us have heard an amended version: "perfect practice makes perfect." But, of course, no one is perfect and, in the world of sports, players almost never perform perfectly. Pro baseball batters fail 70% of the time. Pro basketball players miss over half their shots. Pro bowlers do roll a perfect 300 game, but rarely.
At Sabers athletics, we prefer the phrase "practice makes permanent." The way you practice leads to the way you usually perform on the court or field. If you always practice with proper technique and a positive attitude, you will play with proper technique and a positive attitude, Good practice leads to good play. On the flip side, poor practice can lead to poor play.
(Matheny’s writing won’t win him the Man Booker award, but his ability to take a fast pitch to the jaw without flinching might win him some “Man Tough” award. Don't watch if blood gushing from the mouth makes you queasy.)
Here at SOIS, in the Sabers middle school and high school boys basketball programs, our coaches’ strong preference is to play man-to-man defense. Coach Ray, Coach Routh and I all believe that it is vital to teach young players the fundamentals of man defense at a young age so that they can develop into better players as they get older. (Our teams play zone D, too, at times.)
Many youth basketball coaches rely on zone defenses because they think they don’t have enough time to teach man-to-man fundamentals. But to play good zone defense, players – in addition to learning how to play their individual roles in the zone – must also have sound man-to-man defensive skills (lateral movement, close-out technique, passing lane anticipation, etc.). In the end, it takes just as much time if not more to teach players how to play zone defense, if done properly. What happens, though, too often, is that youth coaches skip the man defensive fundamentals. Marginal zone defenses can work at the intermediate youth level, but this is short-sighted thinking. What about our players’ progress for the future?
Teaching is certainly not a 9-to-5 job, and teachers do not leave their work behind at the office when they go home. Sabers coaches, in particular, put in long hours working with our student-athletes after school and on Saturdays (and a few school holidays).
Some coaches (and many non-coaches, too, of course) are “go-getters”. Sabers coaches do not coach for pay, power, or prestige – they do it for the students; they are “go-getters”, and they enjoy what they do.
This The Atlantic article suggests that in many work environments being a competent go-getter is not fun.
This blog is written by Mr. Peter Heimer, the activities director for Senri and Osaka International Schools (SOIS). Coach Heimer has been the Sabers AD since 2011, taking over from Mr. Simon Parker. Before that, Coach Heimer has held various positions at the two schools, mostly as SIS English teacher and Sabers basketball coach. OK, after this paragraph, Coach Heimer will stop referring to himself in the third person.
I will write about various sports- and non-sports-related topics (but mostly sports-related). The views expressed here are mine only and do not necessarily represent opinions of the school.
Thank you for reading. Feedback welcome anytime. firstname.lastname@example.org
Sabers AD Pete Heimer, blogging about various sports- and non-sports-related topics (mostly sports-related). The views expressed here are those of the author only and do not necessarily represent opinions of the school..