Archivio per il tag 'pallacanestro'

Intervista Jan Vesely sul ruolo della mindset di squadra

The interview to Jan Vesely[1] shows the main relevance to have a mindset growth oriented instead to have fixed mindset. He said:


“It’s just concentration. The first year was with Maccabi; it was tough, but it was 3-0. After that I was injured against Real Madrid, so the team changed the mentality to play without one of the important players and they put even more than the maximum in those playoffs and beat Real Madrid. Last year playing Panathinaikos on the road the first two games and having the pressure to win the EuroLeague and play the Final Four in Istanbul, there was big pressure, so we set our mindset to always be much more focused than in the other games and to give our maximum. I think the secret was in our concentration to do the little things until the end, until the referee stops the game or we get the rebound or something. I think all those things are much more important now than in the regular season. I think the mindset is the most important thing.”


These words demonstrate that Jan Vesely but also the team, have not thought: “We have the talent and the skills to win” but they worked to develop their potential through effort, and practice. They understand the difference between to have the potential and to play at the best to achieve the result you want to achieve. Commitment, deliberate practice and strong task orientation are the secrets of this result. Great talent does not transport the players in great performances. The team has to dive itself inside the match, living each moments as it was the most important. This is the meaning of the sentence: “It’s just concentration.” It seems easy because it’s their job but going in deep it means “Do the right thing in the right moment” and in a fast tactical play like it’s top basketball, to play with this approach it’s a very demanding task.

The players with a growth mindset assume on themselves the responsibility that also if we play at our best, the success is not guaranteed because there is the other team that can play better than us. In any case it’s this kind of mindset that lead them to fight each second of the match, they say to them “I don’t think to the final results or how many mistakes I will do but I know that my teammates and me will perform till the last shot with the maximum focus needed to do our best performance.” It could be a thinking little bit rhetoric, but it’s not true. It means, as Jan Vesely said:

“I think the secret was in our concentration to do the little things until the end, until the referee stops the game or we get the rebound or something. I think all those things are much more important now than in the regular season. I think the mindset is the most important thing.”


L’impatto dei tiri liberi in pallacanestro

In basketball the free throw is a technical fundamental showing the leading role of the players’ mind.

At first glance, the free throw seems easy to do: its execution is always at the same distance from the basket, the players are not moving and have the time to prepare the shot following their personal rhythm without any direct physical contact from the opponents. At the contrary, the statistics published by EuroLeague Basketball show a different scenario.

In the current season, in all games only 8.5% of the players made the 90% of free throws, 35% made the 80%, 32% the 70% and 24% have scores below the 70%.

Furthermore, the statistics of the last three games show the 54% of the players made at least the 80% of free throws, while the 40% scored from 69% to 36%.

The points scored are higher than those of all matches for the reason that in this second comparison there are only 22 and not 105 players as in the first: increasing the number of the players, increase also the mistake percentages.

These data clearly tell us that this easy shot, from the technical side, can become very difficult. The reason is in the players’ problems to manage their competitive stress. In other words, the free throw could represent one key index to know how much the players are able to be efficiently focused on a specific task when they are under pressure.

In the last years, the sport psychologists have proposed the free throw could be coached using a more effective routine pre-shot. This approach is useful to learn the management of the extra-time they have before the shot. This time, indeed, can be an advantage or a disadvantage. This free throw momentum will be positive only if it has been build a personal routine to forget the distractions (momentum of the match, score, pressure of the opponents, individual worries and fear, personal confidence in that situation, fans’ screams). Otherwise the risk is that the emotions become too strong and difficult to get out from the mind and the players will increase the probability to choke under this psychological overload.

The EuroLeague Basketball statistics confirm the free throws very often represent a problem to cope with also for the best teams, like are who compete in this European tournament, they are the top teams in their countries but less than 44% of the players made the 80% of the shots and 24% made less than 70%. This is not only a European problem. In NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers have had a very bad statistic with the 68% of shots scored and the club sent the players to follow a psychological program to improve the free throws.

The training to improve the free throws can be centered in two different phases. The first regards how to reduce the tension and be focused on a task for few seconds. In this phase, the players practice deep abdominal breathings in a correct way.

This is a fundamental exercise because usually the players are not able to breath deeply and consequently cannot help themselves before the execution of the free shot. After that moment they should notice their breath, don’t change the breath but stay focused on the sensation of air in and out for two minutes, repeating 4/5 times this last exercise.

The final goal of this work is to have an efficient body control – loosing up the muscle tension – and center the attention on the present.

The second phase, is to practice a specific routine when shooting a free throw, following five steps:

  • Reduce immediately the body tension (through one deep breathing)
  • Put the body on the line in a comfortable position (feel the body centered in the ground)
  • Visualize two free shots (mentally rehearsal the shots as you are doing in that moment)
  • Look on the ring (the gaze must be always oriented in the same point)
  • Do the shot

The players have to train several times this routine in order to reach an optimal confidence level in this preparation. To reach this kind of proficiency, once the players have planned and established their personal routine, they have to simulate game pressure in practice.

Magic Johnson e la coesione di squadra: una storia vecchia ma sempre vera

Le squadre di basket devono essere unite per realizzare il loro obiettivo prioritario: affrontare gli avversari in modo sicuro e determinato. La rivalità interna, se non limitata a episodi circoscritti fa sprecare inutili energie agli atleti e li tiene impegnati in attività che hanno un’influenza disgregante sull’allenamento e sulla partita. La squadra deve sempre ragionare in termini di NOI. Il coach deve: favorire la partecipazione dei giocatori, cercando di accoglierne le indicazioni, trattare tutti con gli stessi criteri ed evitare favoritismi, premiare i comportamenti altruistici e ridurre i comportamenti individualistici.

La storia di Magic Earvin Johnson è un esempio di come anche un campione deve passare da comportamenti troppo individualistici a una maggiore condivisione con i suoi compagni. Infatti, quando Magic giocava nei Los Angeles Lakers si distingueva anche per la sua dedizione al gioco di squadra: passava e difendeva anziché pensare a segnare punti. E’ stato Magic a spiegare al suo allenatore Pat Riley come si era affermato in lui questo atteggiamento collaborativo verso la squadra.

Quando giocava nella Lega Giovanile di pallacanestro, a East Lansing, Michigan, il suo allenatore gli diceva che lui era il migliore giocatore della squadra e che doveva tirare in continuazione.  Magic Johnson obbediva a questa richiesta e segnava la maggior parte dei canestri della sua squadra, che così vinceva in continuazione. Nonostante queste vittorie gli altri compagni di squadra si sentivano incapaci, erano depressi e nessuno lo ringraziava o si mostrava contento per quello che lui faceva. Decise che quella situazione per lui era insopportabile. Da quel momento il suo comportamento in campo cambiò e mise le sue capacità al servizio della squadra. L’umore dei compagni cambiò completamente e furono molto più motivati. incrementarono le loro abilità e continuarono ugualmente a vincere.

Com’è la tua squadra, i giocatori riescono a mettere da parte il loro ego e giocano in modo coeso indipendentemente dal momentum di gioco?

Kobe Briant annuncia il ritiro con un poema di amore per il basket

Internet è andato in tilt  quando la superstar NBA Kobe Bryant ha annunciato che si sarebbe ritirato dai Los Angeles Lakers alla fine di questa stagione. L’annuncio è stato pubblicato dal The Players’ Tribune, blog di giornalismo sportivo fondato da Derek Jeter, e il sito si è schiantato più volte subito dopo questo annuncio.
La cosa più notevole del post di Kobe Bryant intitolato “Dear Basketball” è l’essere stato scritto in forma poetica. Eccone riportati alcuni brani.

Dear Basketball,


From the moment
I started rolling my dad’s tube socks
And shooting imaginary
Game-winning shots
In the Great Western Forum
I knew one thing was real:

I fell in love with you.

A love so deep I gave you my all —
From my mind & body
To my spirit & soul.

You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream
And I’ll always love you for it.
But I can’t love you obsessively for much longer.
This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.

Love you always,

(The Players’ Tribune)

Le parole di Ettore Messina

Per capire meglio cosa sia la tensione agonistica leggete l’intervista a Ettore Messina, nuovo allenatore di pallacanestro del CSKA di Mosca:

“Che … c’avete dentro”

Doveva essere proprio furioso con la sua squdra Pianigiani per arrabbiarsi così con i suoi durante la partita con Israele. Un po’ di dignità, chiede, fate almeno un fallo. Quando la disperazione porta a dire queste parole, la delusione per non essere riusciti a trasmettere ai giocatori cosa fare deve essere terribile. Comprensibile e giusto questo sfogo. “Che …. c’avete dentro”: chissa come è rimbombata questa frase in ognuno, forse è caduta in un baratro sordo ma spero che almeno qualcuno si sia indignato contro se stesso. E per restare sulla stessa linea d’onda terminerei: “altrimenti che campate a fare”.