“I was thinking about too much,” he said. “It’s definitely mind over matter.”
[...] “It only hinders you when you think,” he said. “You want to be out there reacting. I learned on myself by going through games and struggling. I realized to just go out there and play. And it’s still a process. I’ve just got to think less.”
“(It’s) just being clutter-free mentally,” Bass said. “You just try not to think so much and just go out there and play and give it maximum effort.
“You want to play well. Being that you want to play well, over thinking gets in the way some times.”
I don’t often share stories from when I played basketball, but this was just too constant a theme out for me not be
haunted reminded of it.
Any time I made a mistake in practice and the coach would ask “what are you doing out there?”… if I started a sentence with “I thought….” he’d yell back “that’s your problem. You’re thinking. Stop that.”
And the point is simply this: You have to practice and get yourself to a point where the scenarios you see out there on the floor draw out an instinctive reaction, rather than induce thought. Because in the time it takes you think, “hmmm, this guy is cheating on this screen a lot, let me scan the floor and determine whether I should slip it,” the defense is already smothering the ball handler and the play is blown up. If you have trained your body to KNOW once you see a certain scenario, like that screen, you do things that half-step quicker. And in the NBA, the half step is the difference between a dunk, and potentially getting blocked.
This also fits right in with my biggest criticism of Brandon Bass.
Bass #1 is tentative. He catches the ball and looks around before trying to figure out what he wants to do. He gets the ball under the rim, crouches, and fakes 5 times before finally going up. He’s the guy that turns the ball over, gets blocked, and generally does something that might as well be the first pass in the opponent’s fast break.
Bass #2 is aggressive. This Bass goes right up with his shot. This Bass will take the occasional one dribble into the paint and attack. This Bass gets rebounds, blocks a shot, gets dunks. Aggressive Bass is some terrific Bass.
“Tentative” is just another way to say he’s thinking too much out there. His brain gets in his way and it stops him from reaching his full potential. “Aggressive” means the conscious brain is off, allowing the rest of the brain to simply react without being encumbered by whatever made up problems the tentative brain might have presented. Aggression cannot exist by thinking through every scenario before performing a move. It can only exist when the body naturally reacts to a visual cue on the floor, and goes.
Think about it this way.
When you drive home the same route every day for years. You could move away for a while, come back, and still know how to drive home. It’s familiar. You know when your turn is coming up. You know where traffic tends to back up and how to avoid it. You know shortcuts and alternate routes.
Or when you start a new job and everything just takes so much longer because you have to think everything through… “so this project code goes into the red file?? NOO… it’s the purple file. And then I have to go to what floor? [pulls out training manual] oh, right, the third floor.” Something like that used to take you all day. Now you’re busting through that stuff in an hour, and some of you are doing it while reading this post because you’ve got the whole system down and you can do other things while a different part of your brain handles that stuff.
This is the same thing. After doing the same thing over and over and over again, the routine sinks into a different part of your brain. And if you let it just do its job, the route you take on the floor is easier. When the process falls so deep into your subconscious that you swear you can do it with your eyes closed, you’ve reached that point of “not thinking, just reacting.” And if you don’t let yourself be bothered by any thoughts like “am I really doing this the right way?”… you can get things done quickly and efficiently.
That’s what Brandon Bass did last night. He did most things quickly, he scored efficiently, and he didn’t try to reinvent the wheel.
You’re Brandon Bass. You hit mid-range jumpers and, when you see a sliver of light, you attack the rim and dunk. That’s who you are. Maybe over the summer you can practice other things and add those things to who you are, but right now, just be Brandon Bass and continue to not think. The less you think, Brandon, the better the Celtics will be.
The rest of the links:
Herald: Jordan Crawford gets out quickly on break | Kevin Garnett makes everything better | Collins warmly welcomed back to Garden | Return of Garnett, Pierce puts Celtics back in rhythm | Globe: Celtics beat Wizards as Pierce, KG return | CSNNE: KG puts in solid performance in return | Bradley does work on Wall | Webster shares insight into Seattle tri0 | Randolph: No ill will towards Wizards after camp cut | Still much love between Jason Collins and Celtics | ESPN Boston: Look who’s back | Crawford quiet vs. Wizards | Wilcox finds his way vs. Wizards | Pierce wins second Auerbach award | WEEI: KG: I know what I have in there, who’s willing to fight | Pierce on Garnett: “we’re not going anywhere without Kevin’s presence” | Pierce, Garnett return as Celtics beat Wizards | MWDN: Projected playoff lineup finally plays together