Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Zero to Hero

November 22nd, 2015 Articles
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In a quest to better understand the homeless situation actor Richard Gere posed as a street bum for a day. A noble act that continued with him giving money to the needy. It was the contrast of the story that attracted my attention… and our continued fascination with the “Zero to Hero” story-line. This sneaky emotional trick is repeated shamelessly on every talent show and THE standard plot line in movies and television. A little twist of the story line can be seen in sports advertising where our hero dresses up like a zero and “Surprise!”, they’re remarkably good. The old, slightly fat senior citizen can still play!
 
We’ve seen Ronaldo the footballer do it and we’re all been following the Uncle Drew saga. (the latest of which is posted below) We like this story soo much, that it’s repeatedly told, and it never gets old… it makes us happy. These stories have slotsdad clear contrast, with beginnings and ends, starts and finishes, rags to riches, Forest Gump, David vs. Goliath, Pretty Woman and of course the entire Rocky series.
 

 

 
But in actuality… the world is tough place. It’s a place where the “Zero to Hero” rarely, if ever occurs. We all get knocked down, just ask Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey, and who can forget the iconic ring calls of… “Down Does Foreman”, “Down Goes Ali” or “Down goes Frazier.”, as heroes dramatically tumble from invincibility. The point is: we all get knocked down, both the Hero and the Zero.

 

 
Early media tricked us with “Linsanity”… but when we dug beneath the surface the true story came out. In sports as with most things the truth is hard work and setbacks. Lots and lots of setbacks….lots of hard work. It’s never easy, as athletic journeys are trials of dedication and commitment. “I’ll work at it 100%” you say, and then cite the 10 hour training days of Kobe, Nadal and Messi. These cats are top level professional athletes and they have the means to dedicate themselves to their sport completely. How about a fine dinner created by your own personal chef? A massage sir?
So we see the destination and we forget about the journey…fooled again. The fact is most of us have school, jobs, families, and all sorts of other commitments AND we’re an athlete.
 
So remember the early days, so pure… so honest. We did it for ourselves and improved rapidly. These are good times. Remember if you can. Those that continued, learned to love practice and hours blurred into weeks, months and years. It’s true that good basketball players can be born but the really great ones have been built and forged. Just because you have a “basketball body” or size 15 shoes doesn’t grant you an automatic ticket to the “Show” and basketball success. The playgrounds are littered with 6′ 4″ guys who jump through the roof but can’t shoot, dribble or play defense. I call them “Professional Dunkers”. A true aspiring athlete struggles, works and is continually improving their skills. They get injured and then they fight back through adversity one day at a time. This isn’t easy, but who said it would be?
 
I’ll leave you with a clip from “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” a story where the main character lives his life from old to young and our hero’s many journeys are beautifully condensed.
 
“I hope you make the best of it.” Benjamin Button
 

 
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Finding Buddah

May 7th, 2015 Articles
2

 

At seasons end it’s time to think a bit forward. Blossoms are blooming and for most ballers the regular season is over. Champions have been crowned in the local leagues and even the mighty Spurs have “Gone Fishing”. If you’re not been part of some sort of playoff series then it’s very likely that you’re been sidelined… and wish otherwise.

With this motivation, it’s time to reflect on your progression as a basketball player and where you’d like to be next year. Good basketball programs will provide you with formal player feedback sessions at seasons end.  If you’re program doesn’t do this, ask your coach to do so. They will do this gladly, perhaps informally and only verbally, and ideally by writing something down. This is feedback for you as a basketball player, an analysis of your game and your first step in getting better for next season.

 

What you’re looking for is a report card of your basketball game. What you do well and more importantly what are you can improve. Generally this report will be broken up sections that are rated or graded. No player gets a perfect score so there’s always something for you to work on. Typical categories are…

  • Ball Handling
  • Passing
  • Free Throw Shooting
  • Shooting (2 point)
  • Shooting (3 point)
  • Rebounding – Offensive
  • Rebounding – Defensive
  • Defense
  • Jumping Ability
  • Ability to Finish
  • Use of Weak Hand
  • Attitude and Concentration
  • Work Ethic
  • Team Orientation
  • Leadership
  • Commitment
  • Fitness

 

Now here’s my top hint to you. Accept these comments. You may not agree with them (especially the negative ones) but these comments are pure gold and your first step to becoming a better basketball player. Take this feedback seriously, and accept the feedback humbly. The sound of swished twine may echo’s in your ears… but now is the time to listen. If you don’t understand your coach’s point, quietly ask for examples and more clarification. Then ask for a drill that you can do to improve this area. The point is not to fight this, but work with it and use to to improve your basketball game.

 

 

For summer season it’s important to get out and play. If you’re under 18 and serious about basketball you should be looking for a summer basketball camp. It’s not uncommon for developing players to attend multiple camps over a summer. If you’re not in the gym then the guy who replaces you will be. Investigate the offerings around your location and get to a camp. The best one that I know of in the Netherlands is offered by Mario Bennes, a former professional player in the Dutch NBL. Here’s his website.

http://www.mariobennes.com/

 

 

 

Summer basketball can also mean 3×3 basketball and summer basketball leagues. Get your buddies together and enter a tournament. Win or get your but kicked it’s a great way to spend a summer afternoon. If you’re looking to maintain or increase conditioning it’s also fun to experience other sports. Running, tennis and CrossFit are my recommendations. Make sure to include a strength-training component to your summer program. This is a must for basketball players at all levels of play.

Increasing professional basketball players hire a personal coach during the off-season. The most revered in today’s game is Idan “Crouton” Ravin the current guru of basketball elite. He describes his services, as “I’m a trainer, a friend, a mentor, a therapist, an advisor, all of the above,” and tells his story in his book “The Hoops Whisperer”. This basketball guru works with the likes of “Chris Paul, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Stephen Curry, Blake Griffin, James Harden, Dwight Howard, and many more”… a virtual who’s who of today’s NBA elite.

For serious aspiring aspiring players it can be difficult to find a basketball guru, so if you’re lucky enough to find one: treat them nicely! Old professional players or a friendly coaches are good sources for advice. We work for food and pocket change. I’ve been thinking of calling myself “The Basketball Buddha” for gigs of this nature.

For recreational players a personal trainer or a committed workout buddy will suffice. Find someone you trust to challenge, inspire and push you. Make a plan to improve (write it down), commit to it and get better during the off-season; it’s that easy and it’s that hard. This is a massive opportunity and available for this summer only, so seize your basketball dreams this summer. The work, sweat and sacrifice will make the next season the very best yet.

Here’s a bit of inspiration about this years NBA MVP, Stephen Curry. “Success is Not An Accident”

 
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Waiting on the NBA

October 9th, 2014 Articles
0

“My name is X and I’m an addict.” is the standard introduction at the American (Basketball) Anonymous Association. Sports addiction isn’t commonly considered a bad thing, and certainly no way comparable to “THE ADDICTIONS”…. off the top of my head I’d name these as cigarettes, drink, heroin and gambling…..oh and crack. Who can forget those nasty “before” and “after” images of those afflicted by that scourge.

An NBA addict has no problems going cold turkey after the finals. We’ve had enough basketball, we’re full, and it’s time to get outdoors, be that your local court, beach, park or similar. As nights darken around October, us NBA addicts do get the urge for basketball. The beast is once again awoken with slow and painful agony with of awful preseason games. This is “NBA lite”, a watered down intro fix for the NBA fiend. These exhibition games then trigger memories of a few choice playoff highlights and after a quick check of the latest player movements we’re back on the NBA wagon “Jonesing” for NBA excitement. At this precise moment they tease and lock in our addiction with the upcoming NBA schedule.

So my first look was to check out last years EuroLeague Champion, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv as they played the NBA’s new Cleveland Cavaliers. This is coach David Blatt’s old team vesus his new team which now includes Kevin Love, my main man Mr. Kyrie Irving and of course some other guy. The Cavaliers manage to squeak out a win and I was impressed by the new coaches poise and composure. I suppose coaching becomes really, really easy with Hall of Fame players on your team. As a side story it will be interesting to see how highly touted coach Erik Spoelstra does this year without LeBron firepower in Miami.

 

My next step was to look around closer to home. This means “ZZ Leiden” a Netherlands professional basketball team featuring my main main man. Worthy De Jong. (That’s a homage to Armad Rashād, an old school sports personality) Now Worthy or “Work” as I call him put in a great performance with 35 points and 11 rebounds as he led his team in the blowout win.

 

So to close this little blog, good basketball can be found in Europe. It’s not served up and marketed as slickly as you’ll find with the NBA. What IS nice, is that basketball games in Europe can be attended and watched at a decent price and with great views of the action. The atmosphere in local European sport halls is cozy and at the same time electrifying. The refereeing is definitely suspect. Randomly executed and easily biased. Personally, I prefer to attribute the officiating to the special wacky flavor to European basketball where crazy things happen and referees like to make it so. It does take bit of searching and research to figure out when the good teams are playing in Europe as soccer or football is pretty much the only subject in the media. So here’s a hint, Maccabi gets a chance to redeem itself when they play Alba Berlin on Sept. 10th at 20:00…. these guys just beat the 2014 NBA champions the San Antonio Spurs with a last second shot.

And here’s the highlights from the game.

An exciting one that ended up being awarded the European Game of the Week.


 
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Back to Back and Repeat

May 12th, 2014 Articles
2

 

I predict that Miami will win the 2014 NBA Championship. And you’re thinking… “Thank you Captain Obvious!” It’s just after the first round of the 2014 playoffs so this “prediction” is more simply an increasing reality. Miami DOES look good, yup even THAT GUY (Mario Chalmers) on the left… and those Pacers look fragmented and broken. With the Spurs rolling in the West and “SterlingGate” distracting the Clippers, it’s also a safe bet to predict that Miami will meet San Antonio in the finals. A bit of deep patter might reveal something about “Father Tme” and a “tough showdown” with OKC only to conclude that it’s a “Back to Back” for the Heat. Actually… that’s three Championships in a row, but shucks…“Three Peat” just didn’t fit with my idea of a cool headline for an article about back pain.

So firstly let’s start with back pain being no joke. Your back is the center of all body movement, and when it hurts, you’ve a serious problem. In this article I’ll talk about my personal experience with lower back pain and I’ve even share my regiment with you. For me my back pain usually occurs after I’ve been playing basketball on hard surfaces. And this happens more often in the summer as the lure of the outdoor blacktop is hard for me to resist. I’ve gone to doctor a couple of times and the recommendation has always been “give it a rest”, so I’ve been forced to come up with something to work out the kinks during the early stages. Basically if you don’t see improvement after 72 hours go and see your local doctor but this should get you through the first few days most of the time.

This injury creeps into my life like some sort of evil fairy godmother. I wake up with a sharp pain in my back and feel like I’ve been stabbed in the night after a less than adequate sleep. With stiffness and pain, I resolve myself to a long tough day. My first step on these days is to bring out the roller massager. I do this for Myofascial release, the basic idea is to loosen up the muscles so that the body can heal the area, it’s most likely an upset ligament. I also use a thick weight lifting belt to support the back on the first couple days.

Step two is to keep the back moving, I do light stretching and movement throughout the day as I try to stimulate blood circulation and help the body heal. I find that you’ll need to do this at least five times a day, more if possible. Just don’t do anything that hurts and keep it moving. Limited motion is ok in the beginning. I also try to add a little more protein into my diet. A few eggs should do the trick. I do this for at least 5 days. Stick to it and repeat frequently. Be prepared for a long painful regiment. Stick to it and you should feel the improvement each day.

This is all pretty straightforward…the difficult part is staying away from the court when the sun is out. It’s not fun or easy, but to heal from this affliction I’ve a “No basketball rule.” After at least 5 days it should be safe to go back to some light physical activities. Give it time to heal. Your first few runs should be kept under 30 minutes of activity and with a maximum of 70% exertion. Take it easy, as it’s really common to re aggravate this injury. Give yourself at least two weeks on easy street and you’ll be back to playing with reckless abandonment like a young KG.

 

Now if I was to write the story lines for NBA theater the “better alternate Marvel universe ending” would be with the Spurs upsetting Miami. Wouldn’t it be just perfect to see the Spurs win this year? This would secure Tim “The Big Fundamental” Duncan as the greatest player of his generation surpassing Kobe Bryant in many people’s minds. Lebron James thinks this now, and says, “If I just look at the last 15 years, he’s probably been the most consistent, most dominant player that we’ve had as far as 15 years all together. He’s won four titles, multiple All Stars, MVP, and so on and so on”. Strong words from a knowledgeable King in a prelude to a real world ending which will end in a Game of Thrones “Red Wedding” massacre.

With the looming retirement of sports legends, It’s only fair to pay tribute to Two Time MVP, Steve Nash an almost retired sports Legend. Nash has chosen to document his last year in the NBA as he battles back injury in a series from the Grantland Channel.

And for an extra bit of inspiration… here’s the most recent of the video series. Let’s hope more follows!!

Thanks for stopping by. You all come on back real soon. (said with Texas twang)

 
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Socks and Tony Parker

January 25th, 2014 Articles
2

 

This article could be about how Tony Parker gives opponents “da business” in a multitude of ways…or even about why it’s strange that many basketball fans don’t really appreciate his game. But it isn’t. WayandPath.com has a theme and I’m sticking to it. This article is about finding the best basketball socks.

Just as in shoes, choosing socks that fit properly is the first step. For this reason I can never recommend tube socks for top basketball performance. Tube socks might be easy to fit to growing feet but quality of the fit in the heel and ankle region can never be secured, and the loose cloth has a nasty tendency to bunch up. If socks fit too small you’ll run the risk of cuts as exposed skin meets the sharp edges in your shoes. If socks are too big your foot will move around in the sock. Both of these lead to bunching up and then to blisters. Having experienced this “minor injury”, euro step the problem and just get good fitting modern sport socks.

Your next decision was previously debatable but has now been conquered by modern technology. Yup I said it…technology is coming to socks and it’s coming fast. In the good old days many players wore two pairs of socks. These days we reap the benefits of the modern manufacturing process and socks can be specialized to individual sports.

The reigning champion of my sock drawer has always been Thorlo Socks, but because you can’t get them outside of the good ol’ US of A I’ve been forced to experiment with other brands.

Strangely, I feel guilty for stepping out on Thorlo with other socks. Is loyalty to your socks possible? I can only attribute this to a 20 year long relationship with the brand and early marketing genius. You see, Thorlo was one of the very first companies to offer a

”Lifetime Guarantee”. A nice marketing pitch, but socks do wear out. So many years ago I replaced my worn out socks with brand new ones… three times. Since then, Thorlo has expanded into a pillar of the community with strong “American Values” and the loveable marketing slogan “Designed for feet that hurt.” Check out the site for a bit of American business history. These socks are good. Even the King can be caught sporting a pair of them!

 

Typically I’ll buy my socks in bunches of three so over the years I’ve been able to test quite a few basketball socks. The UnderArmour “Ignite”, the Adidas “D Rose”, and a few other brands but we’ll make it short with some country wisdom… “If you don’t have anything nice to say…say nothing.” All these socks sell for around the same amount, a whopping €14 a pair.

So here’s my selection for the best basketball socks as of January 2014.

Nike Elite Basketball Socks

Cost €14 pair

 

The fit of these socks require a left and a right version as the two cushioned pads are positioned asymmetrically on either side of the foot. These are the traditional locations where you’d like some padding when cutting and changing directions. Nice one Nike! The sock is then designed to wick moisture up and out of the shoe using vertically oriented ribbing and Dri-Fit technology. This is also a key point in a modern sports sock and the Nike Elite sock does it well. These socks can be seen as a low cost variation of “The Kobe System”, where different insoles were inserted into the shoe. In this case cool looking socks will make a nice addition to your game kit AND work with all shoes. Further if you’re like over 90% of basketball players, you’re wearing Nike shoes, and you’re already hooked into the Nike system. As Nike can control where the seams and stress points occur in their shoes it makes sense to choose socks from them as well.

That being done, what about Tony Parker? You’ll say he’s good, and then branch off with some mention of “The Wild Thing” Russell Westbrook or “CP3″ Chris Paul in LA. I’ll then inform you that Tony Parker and the entire Spurs team wear special socks. See I’m still on subject, and I can’t help but smile when I think about the entire Spurs team wearing matching socks for the prevention of “Deep Vein Thrombosis.”

Thanks for stopping by!

 
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