Mammoth Feb 2106
So Dash can hit the three pointers (see the video below). He's not hitting over 25% from the arc in games, so more work is needed, but he hits them.
The part of his game that had been needing improvement is driving to the basket. He feels no pride embarrassing me 1-on-1, but has been basically afraid to dribble in traffic in games. Bal = hot potato. The upside is that he probably has more assists than anyone else on the team combined. The bad news has been questionable passes and turnovers.
A couple of weeks ago, I modified our one-on-one "practice". In the past he got to dribble as much as he wanted and then would take a shot when he felt like it. It produced a lot of perimeter dribble without much purpose. I started counting backwards from 8, forcing him to shoot or drive. If I covered his shots he pretty much had to drive against me. He saw, unless I fouled him, that he was fast enough to get a shot off (because my feet had to move). Basketball rules kind of suck: if you got the ball, it's really easy to draw fouls if you're fast.
Prior to his game last Saturday, we offered the first bribe in a while: drive three times and you get Cold Stone afterwards. Midway through the first half, with limited success and confidence, he looked over and asked "how many drives do I have?" "Two." It looked like he was of the mind to drive once more for the ice cream and then revert to perimeter loitering.
He drove eight times, but was really annoyed, since he didn't score on any of them. Drew a hard foul on one, though. He only had two points for the game and just was angry as heck. "They didn't call fouls!"
He played up in the next game, 12-and-under, and scored seven points, but didn't force things to the basket. Drew a couple of fouls, had a turnover on one drive (zero in the previous game).
Back to the car, he was just not getting why Leigh and I were positively raving about his performance. "But I didn't finish!" "You can't begin learning to finish until you start starting. You've now put yourself in a position where you can learn to finish. You did great." Rave, rave, rave. "Up until today, your turnover ration on a drive was about 75%. Today, you got shots off on 8/9, with only one turnover! Your improvement is fantastic. Your points will come."
Forward to this weekend's tournament. All teams at least their size and skill. In yesterday's first 10u game, Dash scored 17 points on three 3-pointers and the rest drives. Wee hoo! In a game against a 12u team he drove against three 12us, splitting two and getting fouled by the 3rd, but making the bucket. His first And1, against 12us, no less. (Missed the And1).
In today's first 10u game, Dash made his first conventional three-point play, slashing to the right side (his favorite), finger rolling it off the glass. "And 1!"
Team lost by four (porous transition defense).
In the second 10u game, the other team was fast and Dash was in that "no-factor" zone for the first part of it. That's where he's kind of trotting up the court, being behind the action instead of in it. By the second half, of course, I'm starting to yell "instructions". To give him credit, he did not do the Shut Up thing that he tends to do. I'm doing the two-handed ladder-climbing pantomime ("Step Up!"). He gets his first bucket in the second half, maybe he'll get going. Tight game. At one point he's kind of ahead on a break, but not sprinting, he actually listens (a first), speeds up, gets enough separation for the point to pass to him for a quick layup. I'm yell "Thanks, Dad!" He actually smiled.
Still a rather unimpressive game from him with two minutes left and the lead flip-flopping. Finally, for whatever reason, with about a minute left, on two consecutive possessions, he drives from outside the outside left position, slashing over for right-handed layups. Strong fast confident moves. Our last four points to take the game by three, 32-29.
There's shooting and then there's basketball. Dash is finally not just perimeter shooting, he's playing basketball. Obviously, there is enormous amounts to learn and enormous amouts to improve on, but as far as I'm concerned, Dash has arrived.
Everyones' really happy. He's worked really hard since joining Team Joey in June of 2013. Two and a half years of serious ball. He's got a lot to learn, but he's now a Player.
Dash's first basket Feb 2012
(Dash is in the bright yellow shoes)