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The Basketball Vision



What can you see from this basketball pass?  Yes, I can see damn well that it's a no-look pass, but I can see more beyond this picture.  I can see countless number of contorted faces after getting a basketball shoved right in the face by this guy who wants to look cool.  After all, vision is communication. When you don't want to communicate in game with your vision, you gotta communicate beforehand and tell your teammates, "look out, I am gonna chuck the ball at you anytime."


The power of vision

When asked "what makes you a great basketball player?", many people will say things like strong wrist, soft touch, excellent dribbling skills, long arms, crazy height and so on and so forth.  To me, however, vision is the biggest weapon of all.  It captures any weak points that you can attack and advantages that you can exploit.  More importantly, it implies certain messages to all the other players on the court  Let's look at how you can communicate with others on the basketball court with your eyes

"I am going to school you and rip you apart."

Look at the painting of Michael on the right.  Even through this is merely a drawing, you can see this pervading gleam of confidence and determination in his eyes.  It is this confidence that will embolden his teammates and make them trust him.  It is this confidence that makes all his opposing defenders fear him and respect him from head to toe.  It is this confidence that sends the following message: "I am going to blow by you with sheer speed, no petty fakes.  Then, I am going to simply shoot over you with zero moves, just plain jump shot.  You are nothing."  In response to this message, the defender bites at each and every move of yours every time, and every time it ends up to be a fake.


"You can't get pass me."

Some people likes to stare at the offending players right into the eyes and wear a crafty smile on his face when playing defense.  This aggressive stare makes the offending player rethink before he attempts to make a move and when he hesitates, he will lose his ambition and even his opportunity.  Then, they will just end up passing the basketball off to someone else. 

"I have given up.  I am freaken tired."

When you avoid eye contact with the defender by looking down when you are not holding the ball.  The defender may think that you are exhausted and become off-guard.  That is when you should suddenly burst towards your sweet spot

"Where are you?  I don't see nobody."

By looking up towards the ceiling of the basketball court, you are taunting your adversary.  It's a total disrespect of your opponent and he will most likely react to it by trying to make you look bad with extra unnecessary basketball moves.  Hence, try this when you have a hot-headed opposing player.

"I am going to pass/drive this way...or maybe not."

Okay you can call this an eye fake, the most sophisticated basketball move ever.  When you committed yourself to one lane, your shoulder must move first, your limbs must also be directed at that way, and your head must also follow your shoulder for full speed.  ONLY YOUR EYES can be directed towards a totally opposite direction from your intention or action.  Hence, this is the most deceptive fake in the game of basketball.  Whether it is a fake or not, however, is hard to say.  You need prior communication, heightened basketball sense, years of experience and cooperation to make out what one intends to do.


Vision on the Court

When we talk about vision on the court, we are talking about the ability to observe the ever-changing action on the court and spot the movement of both your teammates and opponents and use them to your advantage.  Nash is one of the basketball players with vision.  He can see what the rest of the world can't see and catch the open teammate that is just loosely defended for a second.  He can also foresee what his teammates and opponents will do by delivering the basketball to the position his teammates will arrive at in a second.  Certainly, he communicates and drills plays with his teammates well.

Nash is able to show us all three types of basketball vision on the court.  Specifically, they are:

Pre-vision: With ample drills and communication beforehand, Nash knows where his players will be in his mind because how they run the play is already in his mind and he just simply needs to follow the drill.

Vision-in-action: This is an innate talent.  Nash is gifted with an enigmatic motional vision as well as peripheral vision (being able to see things clearly without adjusting the focus towards the stimulus of interest).  This gift allows him to make final adjustments to his passing and deliver passes in unbelievable angles like a psychic.

Envision: This comes from experience and trust in the teammates.  Nash can anticipate how far will his teammate get before he lets go of his pass.  He also believes that the teammate will be able to get there no matter what.  Anticipation and basketball sense is the key.


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