The minimal guide to owning a Wilson Evolution Basketball

How a Wilson Evolution Basketball helps reduce minimalism boredom

As a minimalist, what do you do for fun? That’s the only trouble I foresee should I decide to embrace the minimalist ideal.

This brings up a common myth about minimalism — that we have empty lives, and can’t do anything fun because we try to eschew consumerism and all the spending that entails.

The purpose of entertainment

A brief discussion first: what is entertainment, and why do we need it?

the best investment in becoming better shooter

Entertainment is usually meant to distract, to make us feel that our lives are exciting — distractions such as TV, movies, carnivals, going shopping, playing video games, drinking and partying and yes, even sports, such as basketball. And while these each have other merits (a good film is a work of art), often they serve to distract us from work or other difficulties.

Unfortunately, this fun is only temporary, and often empty. And as soon as we’re off that temporary high, we must find a new high from entertainment, ad nauseum…

Unless the form of entertainment happens to have some kind of meaning tied to it. Unlike most TV, movies and games, basketball is a sport that, because of it’s off-the-court parables, contains great meaning and purpose for the aspiring athlete. Just like all entertainment in the most extreme form is bad, so is the idea of ‘work’ at its’ most extreme point. When the 2 meet however, the combustion leads to something more beautiful, engaging and productive.

That’s where having a Wilson Evolution basketball comes in handy. Playing ball without any meaning can sure be fun, but it’s a waste of time. A distraction. If you however play to alleviate stress, to find peace, to challenge yourself and to push your own limits, you’re channeling  your output more usefully. You can develop habits that you actually enjoy keeping that benefit you tremendously.

Minimalist fun

So the question remains: what can you do that’s fun and productive?

Some of the most fun things you can do, particularly with a Wilson Evolution basketball, is:

  • Individual shoot-around sessions in empty gyms
  • Cardio workouts (sprints, suicides, laps) while dribbling a basketball
  • Dribbling exercises to strengthen your forearms, fingers and ball handling

Those are just a few examples, but you get the idea. They’re not everyone’s idea of fun, but I enjoy them. Instead of spending 3-5 hours on a Friday night at a party or a bar, I’d rather go to an empty gym and just shoot around for hours. I find it therapeudic and it greatly helps improve my shooting stroke especially when I pair it up with my Shooting Arm Bandit.

Wilson Evolution Basketball Ownership Guide

Simplify, and Savor Life

‘The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.’ ~Thich Nhat Hanh

These days we have an abundance of luxuries, but I’ve found that excess actually decreases my enjoyment of life.
Sure, we can get massive amounts of rich foods, feasting to our heart’s content, stuffing ourselves in alarming displays of gluttony … but is that really enjoyable on a regular basis?

And yes, television can be fun, and so can ridiculously large parts of the Internet, but if it’s always on, if we’re always connected, doesn’t that lower the fun factor?

Excesses lead to all kinds of problems, but the biggest problem is that life is less enjoyable.

I’ve been finding that simplifying things means I can savor life more fully.

Savoring life starts with a mindset. It’s a mindset that believes that excess, that rushing, that busy-ness, that distractedness, isn’t ideal. It’s a mindset that tries instead to:

  • simplify
  • do & consume less
  • slow down
  • be mindful & present
  • savor things fully

It’s the little things that make life enjoyable: a walk with a loved one, a delicious book, a chilled plum, a newly blooming tree.

And by simplifying, we can savor life to the fullest.

Some ideas I’ve been considering lately:

1. Coffee: Instead of ordering a latte, mocha, cappuccino with whipped cream and cinnamon and shavings … simplify. Just get pure, good coffee (or espresso), brewed fresh with care and precision, with quality beans, freshly roasted. Make it yourself if you can. Drink it slowly, with little or nothing added, and enjoy it thoroughly.

2. Tea: I recently had tea with Jesse Jacobs, the owner of Samovar Tea Lounge, and he poured two different teas from tiny tea pots: Nishi Sencha 1st Flush and Bai Hao Oolong tea. It was fresh, hand-made tea from real leaves, not a tea bag, and it was simply delicious. Drink it slowly, with your eyes closed, fully appreciating the aroma … wonderful.

3. Workouts: I’ve been a fan of simpler workouts recently. While others might spend an hour to 90 minutes in the gym, going through a series of 10 different exercises, I just do 1-3 functional exercises, but with intensity. So I might do some sprint intervals, or a few rounds of pushups, pullups, and bodyweight squats. Or 400 meters of walking lunges. Let me tell you, that’s a simple but incredible workout. Another I like: five rounds 85-lb. squat thrusters (10 reps) alternated with pushups (10 reps). Today’s workout was three rounds of 15 burpees and 800-meter runs. No rest unless you need it. These are great workouts, but very simple, and very tough. I love them.

4. Sweets: I used to be a sugar addict. Now I still enjoy an occasional dessert, but in tiny portions, eaten very slowly. What I enjoy even more, though, is cold fruit. A chilled peach, some blueberries, a few strawberries, a plum: eat it one bite at a time, close your eyes with each bite, and enjoy to the fullest. So good.

5. Meals: While the trend these days is super-sized meals of greasy, fried things (more than two people need to eat actually), I have been enjoying smaller meals of simplicity. Just a few ingredients, fresh, whole, unprocessed, without chemicals or sauces. My meals usually include: a breakfast of steel-cut oats (cooked) with cinnamon, almonds, and berries; a lunch of yogurt, nuts, and fruit; a dinner of beans or tofu with quinoa and steamed veggies (or sauteed with garlic and olive oil). These simple meals are better because not only are they healthy, each ingredient can be tasted, its flavor fully enjoyed.

6. Reading: While the Internet is chock full of things to read, I’ve been enjoying the simplicity of a paper book, borrowed from the library or a friend (borrowing/sharing reduces natural resources consumed). When I read online, I read a single article at a time, using either the Readabilityor Clippable bookmarklet to remove distrations, and in full-screen mode in the Chrome browser (hit Cmd-Shift-F on the Mac version or F11 in Windows). It’s pure reading, no distractions, and lovely.

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The simple manifesto for basketball drills

Simple Living Manifesto: 72 Ideas to Simplify Your Basketball Drills & Training

“Simplicity is the peak of civilization.” – Jessie Sampter

By Leo Babauta.

A simple life has a different meaning and a different value for every person. For me, it means eliminating all but the essential, eschewing chaos for peace, and spending your time doing what’s important to you.

It means getting rid of many of the things you do so you can spend time with people you love and do the things you love. It means getting rid of the clutter so you are left with only that which gives you value. It means training more efficiently so you don’t spend unnecessary hours on basketball drills at the gym.

However, getting to simplicity isn’t always a simple process. It’s a journey, not a destination, and it can often be a journey of two steps forward, and one backward.

If you’re interested in simplifying your life, this is a great starter’s guide (if you’re not interested, move on).

The Short List of basketball drills
For the cynics who say that the list below is too long, there are really only two steps to simplifying:

  1. Identify what’s most important to you.
  2. Eliminate everything else.

Of course, that’s not terribly useful unless you can see how to apply that to different areas of your life, so I present to you the Long List.

The Long List of basketball drills
There can be no step-by-step guide to simplifying your life, but I’ve compiled an incomplete list of ideas that should help anyone trying to find the simple life. Not every tip will work for you — choose the ones that appeal and apply to your life.

One important note: this list will be criticized for being too complicated, especially as it provides a bunch of links. Don’t stress out about all of that. Just choose one at a time, and focus on that. When you’re done with that, focus on the next thing.

  1. Make a list of your top 4-5 important basketball drills. What’s most important to you? What do you value most? What 4-5 things do you most want to do in your life? Simplifying starts with these priorities, as you are trying to make room in your life so you have more time for these things.
  2. Evaluate your commitments. Look at everything you’ve got going on in your life. Everything, from work to home to civic to kids’ activities to hobbies to side businesses to other projects. Think about which of these really gives you value, which ones you love doing. Which of these are in line with the 4-5 most important things you listed above? Drop those that aren’t in line with those things. Article here.
  3. Evaluate your training time. How do you spend your day? What things do you do, from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep? Make a list, and evaluate whether they’re in line with your priorities. If not, eliminate the things that aren’t, and focus on what’s important. Redesign your day.
  4. Simplify basketball drills. Our work day is made up of an endless list of work tasks. If you simply try to knock off all the tasks on your to-do list, you’ll never get everything done, and worse yet, you’ll never get the important stuff done. Focus on the essential tasks and eliminate the rest. Read more.
  5. Simplify home tasks. In that vein, think about all the stuff you do at home. Sometimes our home task list is just as long as our work list. And we’ll never get that done either. So focus on the most important, and try to find ways to eliminate the other tasks (automate, eliminate, delegate, or hire help).
  6. Learn to say no. This is actually one of the key habits for those trying to simplify their lives. If you can’t say no, you will take on too much.Article here.
  7. Limit your communications. Our lives these days are filled with a vast flow of communications: email, IM, cell phones, paper mail, Skype, Twitter, forums, and more. It can take up your whole day if you let it. Instead, put a limit on your communications: only do email at certain times of the day, for a certain number of minutes (I recommend twice a day, but do what works for you). Only do IM once a day, for a limited amount of time. Limit phone calls to certain times too. Same with any other communications. Set a schedule and stick to it.
  8. Limit your media consumption. This tip won’t be for everyone, so if media consumption is important to you, please skip it (as with any of the other tips). However, I believe that the media in our lives — TV, radio, Internet, magazines, etc. — can come to dominate our lives. Don’t let it. Simplify your life and your information consumption by limiting it. Try a media fast.
  9. Purge your stuff. If you can devote a weekend to purging the stuff you don’t want, it feels seriously terrific. Get boxes and trash bags for the stuff you want to donate or toss. Here’s my guide on decluttering. Here’s a post on starting small. More on purging below.
  10. Get rid of the big items. There’s tons of little clutter in our lives, but if you start with the big items, you’ll simplify your life quickly and in a big way. Read more.
  11. Edit your rooms. One room at a time, go around the room and eliminate the unnecessary. Act as a newspaper editor, trying to leave only the minimum, and deleting everything else. Article here.
  12. Edit closets and drawers. Once you’ve gone through the main parts of your rooms, tackle the closets and drawers, one drawer or shelf at a time. More here.
  13. Simplify your wardrobe. Is your closet bursting full? Are your drawers so stuffed they can’t close (I’m talking about dresser drawers here, not underwear). Simplify your wardrobe by getting rid of anything you don’t actually wear. Try creating a minimal wardrobe by focusing on simple styles and a few solid colors that all match each other. Read more.
  14. Simplify your computing life. If you have trouble with too many files and too much disorganization, consider online computing. It can simplify things greatly. Read more.
  15. Declutter your digital packrattery. If you are a digital packrat, and cannot seem to control your digital clutter, there is still hope for you. Read this guide to curing yourself of this clutter.
  16. Create a simplicity statement. What do you want your simple life to look like? Write it out. More here.
  17. Limit your buying habits. If you are a slave to materialism and consumerism, there are ways to escape it. I was there, and although I haven’t escaped these things entirely, I feel much freer of it all. If you can escape materialism, you can get into the habit of buying less. And that will mean less stuff, less spending, less freneticism. Read more.
  18. Free up time. Find ways to free up time for the important stuff. That means eliminating the stuff you don’t like, cutting back on time wasters, and making room for what you want to do.
  19. Do what you love. Once you’ve freed up some time, be sure to spend that extra time doing things you love. Go back to your list of 4-5 important things. Do those, and nothing else. Read more.
  20. Spend time with people you love. Again, the list of 4-5 important things probably contains some of the people you love (if not, you may want to re-evaluate). Whether those people are a spouse, a partner, children, parents, other family, best friends, or whoever, find time to do things with them, talk to them, be intimate with them (not necessarily in sexual ways).
  21. Spend time alone. See this list of ways to free up time for yourself — to spend in solitude. Alone time is good for you, although some people aren’t comfortable with it. It could take practice getting used to the quiet, and making room for your inner voice. It sounds new-agey, I know, but it’s extremely calming. And this quiet is necessary for finding out what’s important to you.
  22. Eat slowly. If you cram your food down your throat, you are not only missing out on the great taste of the food, you are not eating healthy. Slow down to lose weight, improve digestion, and enjoy life more. Read more.
  23. Drive slowly. Most people rush through traffic, honking and getting angry and frustrated and stressed out. And endangering themselves and others in the meantime. Driving slower is not only safer, but it is better on your fuel bill, and can be incredibly peaceful. Give it a try.Read more.
  24. Be present. These two words can make a huge difference in simplifying your life. Living here and now, in the moment, keeps you aware of life, of what is going on around you and within you. It does wonders for your sanity. Read tips on how to do it.
  25. Streamline your life. Many times we live with unplanned, complex systems in our lives because we haven’t given them much thought. Instead, focus on one system at a time (your laundry system, your errands system, your paperwork system, your email system, etc.) and try to make it simplified, efficient, and written. Then stick to it. Here’s more. Another good article here.
  26. Create a simple mail & paperwork system. If you don’t have a system, this stuff will pile up. But a simple system will keep everything in order. Here’s how.
  27. Create a simple system for house work. Another example of a simple system is clean-as-you-go with a burst. Read more.
  28. Clear your desk. If you have a cluttered desk, it can be distracting and disorganized and stressful. A clear desk, however, is only a couple of simple habits away. Read more.
  29. Establish routines. The key to keeping your life simple is to create simple routines. A great article on that here.
  30. Keep your email inbox empty. Is your email inbox overflowing with new and read messages? Do the messages just keep piling up? If so, you’re normal — but you could be more efficient and your email life could be simplified with a few simple steps. Read more.
  31. Learn to live frugally. Living frugally means buying less, wanting less, and leaving less of a footprint on the earth. It’s directly related to simplicity. Here are 50 tips on how to live frugally.
  32. Make your house minimalist. A minimalist house has what is necessary, and not much else. It’s also extremely peaceful (not to mention easy to clean). More here.
  33. Find other ways to be minimalist. There are tons. You can find ways to be minimalist in every area of your life. Here are a few I do, to spur your own ideas.
  34. Consider a smaller home. If you rid your home of stuff, you might find you don’t need so much space. I’m not saying you should live on a boat (although I know some people who happily do so), but if you can be comfortable in a smaller home, it will not only be less expensive, but easier to maintain, and greatly simplify your life. Read aboutdownsizing your home here.
  35. Consider a smaller car. This is a big move, but if you have a large car or SUV, you may not really need something that big. It’s more expensive, uses more gas, harder to maintain, harder to park. Simplify your life with less car. You don’t need to go tiny, especially if you have a family, but try to find as small a car as can fit you or your family comfortably. Maybe not something you’re going to do today, but something to think about over the long term.
  36. Learn what “enough” is. Our materialistic society today is about getting more and more, with no end in sight. Sure, you can get the latest gadget, and more clothes and shoes. More stuff. But when will you have enough? Most people don’t know, and thus they keep buying more. It’s a neverending cycle. Get off the cycle by figuring out how much is enough. And then stop when you get there.
  37. Create a simple weekly dinner menu. If figuring out what’s for dinner is a nightly stressor for you or your family, consider creating a weekly menu. Decide on a week’s worth of simple dinners, set a specific dinner for each night of the week, go grocery shopping for the ingredients. Now you know what’s for dinner each night, and you have all the ingredients necessary. No need for difficult recipes — find ones that can be done in 10-15 minutes (or less).
  38. Eat healthy. It might not be obvious how eating healthy relates to simplicity, but think about the opposite: if you eat fatty, greasy, salty, sugary, fried foods all the time, you are sure to have higher medical needs over the long term. We could be talking years from now, but imagine frequent doctor visits, hospitalization, going to the pharmacist, getting therapy, having surgery, taking insulin shots … you get the idea. Being unhealthy is complicated. Eating healthy simplifies all of that greatly, over the long term. Read about how to simplify your eating habits.
  39. Exercise. This goes along the same lines as eating healthy, as it simplifies your life in the long run, but it goes even further: exercise helps burn off stress and makes you feel better. It’s great. Here’s how to create the exercise habit.
  40. Declutter before organizing. Many people make the mistake of taking a cluttered desk or filing cabinet or closet or drawer, and trying to organize it. Unfortunately, that’s not only hard to do, it keeps things complicated. Simplify the process by getting rid of as much of the junk as possible, and then organizing. If you declutter enough, you won’t need to organize at all.
  41. Have a place for everything. Age-old advice, but it’s the best advice on keeping things organized. After you declutter. Read more here.
  42. Find inner simplicity. I’m not much of a spiritual person, but I have found that spending a little time with my inner self creates a peaceful simplicity rather than a chaotic confusion. This could be time praying or communing with God, or time spent meditating or journaling or getting to know yourself, or time spent in nature. However you do it, working on your inner self is worth the time.
  43. Learn to decompress from stress. Every life is filled with stress — no matter how much you simplify your life, you’ll still have stress (except in the case of the ultimate simplifier, death). So after you go through stress, find ways to decompress. Here are some ideas.
  44. Try living without a car. OK, this isn’t something I’ve done, but many others have. It’s something I would do if I didn’t have kids. Walk, bike, or take public transportation. It reduces expenses and gives you time to think. A car is also very complicating, needing not only car payments, but insurance, registration, safety inspections, maintenance, repairs, gas and more.
  45. Find a creative outlet for self-expression. Whether that’s writing, poetry, painting, drawing, creating movies, designing websites, dance, skateboarding, whatever. We have a need for self-expression, and finding a way to do that makes your life much more fulfilling. Allow this to replace much of the busy-work you’re eliminating from your life.
  46. Simplify your goals. Instead of having half a dozen goals or more, simplify it to one goal. Not only will this make you less stressed, it will make you more successful. You’ll be able to focus on that One Goal, and give it all of your energy. That gives you much better chances for success.
  47. Single-task. Multi-tasking is more complicated, more stressful, and generally less productive. Instead, do one task at a time.
  48. Simplify your filing system. Stacking a bunch of papers just doesn’t work. But a filing system doesn’t have to be complicated to be useful. Create a simple system.
  49. Develop equanimity. If every little thing that happens to you sends you into anger or stress, your life might never be simple. Learn to detach yourself, and be more at peace. Read more.
  50. Reduce your consumption of advertising. Advertising makes us want things. That’s what it’s designed to do, and it works. Find ways to reduce your exposure of advertising, whether that’s in print, online, broadcast, or elsewhere. You’ll want much less.
  51. Live life more deliberately. Do every task slowly, with ease, paying full attention to what you’re doing. For more, see Peaceful Simplicity: How to Live a Life of Contentment.
  52. Make a Most Important Tasks (MITs) list each day. Set just 3 very important things you want to accomplish each day. Don’t start with a long list of things you probably won’t get done by the end of the day. A simple list of 3 things, ones that would make you feel like you accomplished something. See this article for more.
  53. Create morning and evening routines. A great way to simplify your life is to create routines at the start and end of your day. Read more on morning routines and evening routines.
  54. Create a morning writing ritual. If you enjoy writing, like I do, make it a peaceful, productive ritual. Article here.
  55. Learn to do nothing. Doing nothing can be an art form, and it should be a part of every life. Read the Art of Doing Nothing.
  56. Read Walden, by Thoreau. The quintessential text on simplifying.Available on Wikisources for free.
  57. Go for quality, not quantity. Try not to have a ton of stuff in your life … instead, have just a few possessions, but ones that you really love, and that will last for a long time.
  58. Read Simplify Your Life, by Elaine St. James. One of my favorite all-time authors on simplicity. Read my review here.
  59. Fill your day with simple pleasures. Make a list of your favorite simple pleasures, and sprinkle them throughout your day. List here.
  60. Simplify your RSS feeds. If you’ve got dozens of feeds, or more than a hundred (as I once did), you probably have a lot of stress in trying to keep up with them all. Simplify your feed reading. See How to Drop an RSS Feed Like a Bad Habit.
  61. But subscribe to Unclutterer. Probably the best blog on simplifying your stuff and routines (along with Zen Habits, of course!).
  62. Create an easy-to-maintain yard. If you spend too much time on your yard, here are some good tips.
  63. Carry less stuff. Are your pockets bulging. Consider carrying only the essentials. Some thoughts on that here.
  64. Simplify your online life. If you have too much going on online, here are a few ways to simplify it all. Article here.
  65. Strive to automate your income. This isn’t the easiest task, but it can (and has) been done. I’ve been working towards it myself. Article here.
  66. Simplify your budget. Many people skip budgeting (which is very important) because it’s too hard or too complicated. Read more here.
  67. Simplify your financial life. Article from a financial planning
  68. Always ask: Will this simplify my life? If the answer is no, reconsider.
  69. expert here.
  70. Learn to pack light. Who wants to lug a bunch of luggage around on a trip? Here’s an article on using just one carry-on.
  71. Use a minimalist productivity system. The minimal Zen To Doneis all you need. Everything else is icing.
  72. Leave space around things in your day. Whether they’re appointments, or things you need to do, don’t stack them back-to-back. Leave a little space between things you need to do, so you will have room for contingencies, and you’ll go through your day much more relaxed.
  73. Live closer to work. This might mean getting a job closer to your home, or moving to a home closer to your work. Either will do much to simplify your life.

Break through basketball slumps & creative blocks

Get Off Your Butt: 16 Ways to Get Motivated When You’re in a Slump

Even the most motivated of us feel unmotivated at times. In fact, sometimes we get into such a slump or we hit creative rough patches that even thinking about making positive changes seems too difficult.

But it’s not hopeless: with some small steps, baby ones in fact, you can get started down the road to positive change.

Yes, I know, it seems impossible at times. You don’t feel like doing anything. I’ve been there, and in fact I still feel that way from time to time. You’re not alone. But I’ve learned a few ways to break out of a slump, and we’ll take a look at those today.

When I fall out of exercise, due to illness or injury or disruption from things going on in my life, it’s hard to get started again. I don’t even feel like thinking about it, sometimes. But I’ve always found a way to break out of that slump, and here are some things I’ve learned that have helped:

  1. One Goal. Whenever I’ve been in a slump, I’ve discovered that it’s often because I have too much going on in my life. I’m trying to do too much. And it saps my energy and motivation. It’s probably the most common mistake that people make: they try to take on too much, try to accomplish too many goals at once. You cannot maintain energy and focus (the two most important things in accomplishing a goal) if you are trying to do two or more goals at once. It’s not possible — I’ve tried it many times. You have to choose one goal, for now, and focus on it completely. I know, that’s hard. Still, I speak from experience. You can always do your other goals when you’ve accomplished your One Goal.

I think the most common basketball rough patch is the shooting slump. Even in the NBA, the best shooters in the world like Ray Allen and Stephen Curry and the best scorers like Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and Kevin Durant struggle from time to time with their shooting. They go for games where they shoot below 35% from the field and even miss easier shots that they are so accustomed to making. You’d think with thousands of hours put into their art, that they’d be perfect and shoot with the same level of accuracy consistently, but it just doesn’t work that way.

Think about how they take the ‘One goal’ approach to overcome this particular mental hurdle. In between games and traveling on the road during a season, these players get in the gym earlier and leave later, focusing on only their shooting and nothing more. They shoot for hours during practice and pregame sessions to regain the same mechanics and reactivate the same muscle memory that allows them to shoot like pros at an extremely high level.

2. Find inspiration. Inspiration, for me, comes from others who have achieved what I want to achieve, or who are currently doing it. I read other blogs, books, magazines. I Google my goal, and read success stories. Zen Habits is just one place for inspiration, not only from me but from many readers who have achieved amazing things.

If you find yourself struggling with your game in general, watch the best. Who does your game most resemble? What is it that you are struggling with? Youtube has virtually an endless collection of highlight mixes and tapes that you can browse through of your favorite players and teams as well as basketball tips and drills from non-NBA coaches and players. You might not always find solutions that translate in real life on the court, but you can certainly find new ideas and inspiration that could give you a fresh approach to your problems. Sometimes, that’s all you need – a hard refresh.

3. Get excited. This sounds obvious, but most people don’t think about it much: if you want to break out of a slump, get yourself excited about a goal. But how can you do that when you don’t feel motivated? Well, it starts with inspiration from others (see above), but you have to take that excitement and build on it. For me, I’ve learned that by talking to my wife about it, and to others, and reading as much about it as possible, and visualizing what it would be like to be successful (seeing the benefits of the goal in my head), I get excited about a goal. Once I’ve done that, it’s just a matter of carrying that energy forward and keeping it going.

For this maybe Youtube might do the trick, but I’d recommend going away from current technology. Youtube might have virtually every NBA video, movie and tape mix out there, but there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned DVD or even VCR tape of the old days. Very few DVDs get me excited like my Bulls 90’s dynasty collection which contains stories and Finals games of 6 of the best years in Bulls’ history. This is my go-to collection when I get any sort of creative block and have a few hours to kill.

4. Build anticipation. This will sound hard, and many people will skip this tip. But it really works. It helped me quit smoking after many failed attempts. If you find inspiration and want to do a goal, don’t start right away. Many of us will get excited and want to start today. That’s a mistake. Set a date in the future — a week or two, or even a month — and make that your Start Date. Mark it on the calendar. Get excited about that date. Make it the most important date in your life. In the meantime, start writing out a plan. And do some of the steps below. Because by delaying your start, you are building anticipation, and increasing your focus and energy for your goal.

Sometimes, it helps to just take a step back and go on a ‘vacation’. If it’s basketball you’re slumping with, stay away from the gym for a day or 2. As badly as you might want to return, let the excitement build internally. It’s the opposite approach of an earlier point but there’s no one fixed solution. Sometimes you have to try 2 different extremes to get the desired result. Go back to the gym with a clear mind and high anticipation. That energy just might re-ignite you.

5. Post your goal. Print out your goal in big words. Make your goal just a few words long, like a mantra (“Exercise 15 mins. Daily”), and post it up on your wall or refrigerator. Post it at home and work. Put it on your computer desktop. You want to have big reminders about your goal, to keep your focus and keep your excitement going. A picture of your goal (like a model with sexy abs, for example) also helps.

Honestly, I don’t think this tip applies unless you struggle finishing a long-term training routine. For slumps, I wouldn’t recommend this because I’m not sold on the idea itself. Leo’s absolutely right however, if you have a specific short-term or long-term goal in mind, don’t sleep on it. Make mental and physical notes to not let it become irrelevant.

6.Commit publicly. None of us likes to look bad in front of others. We will go the extra mile to do something we’ve said publicly. For example, when I wanted to run my first marathon, I started writing a column about it in my local daily newspaper. The entire island of Guam (pop. 160K) knew about my goal. I couldn’t back down, and even though my motivation came and went, I stuck with it and completed it. Now, you don’t have to commit to your goal in your daily newspaper, but you can do it with friends and family and co-workers, and you can do it on your blog if you have one. And hold yourself accountable — don’t just commit once, but commit to giving progress updates to everyone every week or so.

It takes a lot of balls to declare you’re going to do something big and worthwhile even to friends and family, who you know will support you. Like Leo said, you don’t want to fall short, be ‘all talk, no action’ and look bad. If you’re thinking about joining that school basketball team next season, tell people about your intention clearly and then go out and do it. If there’s someone you trust that’ll go out of their way to call you out on slacking, thank that person and ask them to hold you accountable until you achieve that goal.

7. Think about it daily. If you think about your goal every day, it is much more likely to become true. To this end, posting the goal on your wall or computer desktop (as mentioned above) helps a lot. Sending yourself daily reminders also helps. And if you can commit to doing one small thing to further your goal (even just 5 minutes) every single day, your goal will almost certainly come true.

Self-explanatory. Luckily for basketball lovers, it’s not hard to do. Basketball just comes to mind naturally and frequently, especially at the office or in class, don’t be afraid to daydream and imagine new moves, new ideas on how to improve your game, etc.

8. Get support. It’s hard to accomplish something alone. When I decided to run my marathon, I had the help of friends and family, and I had a great running community on Guam who encouraged me at 5K races and did long runs with me. When I decided to quit smoking, I joined an online forum and that helped tremendously. And of course, my wife Eva helped every step of the way. I couldn’t have done these goals without her, or without the others who supported me. Find your support network, either in the real world or online, or both.

Get help from other players and coaches. This isn’t always easy because the players you generally play with and against are your competitors and the last thing you want to do is show any weakness and give up any mental edge. But it is helpful especially when you’re closer friends with someone than you are brute competitors.

9. Realize that there’s an ebb and flow. Motivation is not a constant thing that is always there for you. It comes and goes, and comes and goes again, like the tide. But realize that while it may go away, it doesn’t do so permanently. It will come back. Just stick it out and wait for that motivation to come back. In the meantime, read about your goal (see below), ask for help (see below), and do some of the other things listed here until your motivation comes back.

See next point.

10. Stick with it. Whatever you do, don’t give up. Even if you aren’t feeling any motivation today, or this week, don’t give up. Again, that motivation will come back. Think of your goal as a long journey, and your slump is just a little bump in the road. You can’t give up with every little bump. Stay with it for the long term, ride out the ebbs and surf on the flows, and you’ll get there.

You always hear NBA players, coaches and analysts talk about how shooters need to just shoot when they’re struggling. They’re all right about this. Sometimes it might hurt your team, but your team in the big picture needs you to be aggressive and on point with your shooting so they need to bear with you while you struggle and you need to return that same favor to any teammate when he/she goes through a similar slump. Persist and you sooner rather than later pick up right where you left off.

11.Start small. Really small. If you are having a hard time getting started, it may be because you’re thinking too big. If you want to exercise, for example, you may be thinking that you have to do these intense workouts 5 days a week. No — instead, do small, tiny, baby steps. Just do 2 minutes of exercise. I know, that sounds wimpy. But it works. Commit to 2 minutes of exercise for one week. You may want to do more, but just stick to 2 minutes. It’s so easy, you can’t fail. Do it at the same time, every day. Just some crunches, 2 pushups, and some jogging in place. Once you’ve done 2 minutes a day for a week, increase it to 5, and stick with that for a week. In a month, you’ll be doing 15-20. Want to wake up early? Don’t think about waking at 5 a.m. Instead, think about waking 10 minutes earlier for a week. That’s all. Once you’ve done that, wake 10 minutes earlier than that. Baby steps.

This is my favorite tip, especially for shooting slumps. When you’re struggling with your shot, you could spend hours shooting from your normal range and spots but it’d really be helpful if you start ‘close’. Shooting is mostly arm-eye coordination so to get the muscle memory in sync again, you just need to ‘remember’. Go stand underneath the front of the rim and shoot jump shots at point blank range. Too easy? It’s not. Go ahead, take 500 shots. Most amateurs won’t make even 50% of them. Avoid using the backboard. Shoot like you would from any other spot on the floor minus jumping.

12. Build on small successes. Again, if you start small for a week, you’re going to be successful. You can’t fail if you start with something ridiculously easy. Who can’t exercise for 2 minutes? (If that’s you, I apologize.) And you’ll feel successful, and good about yourself. Take that successful feeling and build on it, with another baby step. Add 2-3 minutes to your exercise routine, for example. With each step (and each step should last about a week), you will feel even more successful. Make each step really, really small, and you won’t fail. After a couple of months, your tiny steps will add up to a lot of progress and a lot of success.

13. Read about it daily. When I lose motivation, I just read a book or blog about my goal. It inspires me and reinvigorates me. For some reason, reading helps motivate and focus you on whatever you’re reading about. So read about your goal every day, if you can, especially when you’re not feeling motivated.

14. Call for help when your motivation ebbs. Having trouble? Ask for help. Email me. Join an online forum. Get a partner to join you. Call your mom. It doesn’t matter who, just tell them your problems, and talking about it will help. Ask them for advice. Ask them to help you overcome your slump. It works.

15. Think about the benefits, not the difficulties. One common problem is that we think about how hard something is. Exercise sounds so hard! Just thinking about it makes you tired. But instead of thinking about how hard something is, think about what you will get out of it. For example, instead of thinking about how tiring exercise can be, focus on how good you’ll feel when you’re done, and how you’ll be healthier and slimmer over the long run. The benefits of something will help energize you.

16. Squash negative thoughts; replace them with positive ones. Along those lines, it’s important to start monitoring your thoughts. Recognize negative self-talk, which is really what’s causing your slump. Just spend a few days becoming aware of every negative thought. Then, after a few days, try squashing those negative thoughts like a bug, and then replacing them with a corresponding positive thought. Squash, “This is too hard!” and replace it with, “I can do this! If that wimp Leo can do it, so can I!” It sounds corny, but it works. Really.

To add to Leo’s point, here’s a bonus tip:

17. Change it up.

Don’t be afraid to change up all your routines. Work out with different basketball training aid and equipment to kill boredom.  Shoot with the opposite hand for an entire shoot-around session. Shoot with the lights off. Read some books. Take some time to research your favorite players and coaches and learn about their personal side and understand them better.

SKLZ Rapid Fire – Basketball Ball Return Trainer Review

The SKLZ Rapid Fire system is a ball return system with mounting brackets that help secure a net to any rectangular backboard up to 60in. wide so that the ball can easily return to the shooter. It’s essentially a wide net (13 ft wide) so you know it’ll collect and return both makes and misses quickly and easily to the shooter. This helps you save time from the non-value added work during shootarounds. No more chasing rebounds or waiting for a rebounder to dish the ball to you. You can stay in your favorite spots on the court and remain in rhythm as you shoot continuously like a pro without disruption. Because of the net’s width, you can shoot from virtually any angle or distance on the court including the baselines.

This is best for individual workouts as the entire system does take up a lot of space in the half court.  The 2 outside bases are very mobile so you just have to pick a preferred spot on the floor, adjust the bases and shoot away for hours. This system costs about $100 on Amazon and has 5/5 star ratings and positive reviews from players, coaches and trainers.

Basketball Training System Review: SKLZ 3-in-1 Essentials Kit

The SKLZ Basketball Essentials Kit is a complete core basketball training system that comes with 3 components: lateral resistors, reaction belts, and hopz.  

The lateral resistors help develop an explosive first step while increasing your side-to-side quickness for better driving, ball handling and on-ball defense. The reaction belts help increase the reaction speed and time for better man-to-man defense.  This really helps you stay in front of the quickest ball handlers.

The ankle weights or “Hopz” rounds out the set and are designed to help you increase your vertical. The concept is similar to the Jumpsoles and this works extremely well with the Jump program as a complementary training aid.

Players and coaches, not only in basketball, but also in football, wrestling and tennis even, can benefit from this complete basketball training system because each of these sport requires players to ‘get low’ and use tremendous amounts of lower body strength and explosiveness.  The system costs a hundred bucks on Amazon and has received strong/positive reviews from coaches, trainers and players.

 

ZFOsports® Adjustable Weighted Vest Review

ZFOsports® – 20LBS -UNISEX- Comfortable Exercise Adjustable Weighted Vest is a 20lb vest with .75lbs adjustable increments.  The added weight to your regular basketball drills allows you to increase endurance, strength, speed, power, and quickness and it does this by adding additional resistance to your workouts.

Coaches at all levels can incorporate the vest for all positions in their running, shooting, and lay-up drills to improve the speed, jump shot, and elevation.  

These make a great complement to ankle weights. Use them during workouts or to just simply walk around. The moment you take the vest off, you’ll feel much lighter and essentially trick your brain into believing you’re quicker and stronger.

The weighted vest cost about $34, designed to contour and stay tight to your body during your workouts, and is one size fits all.

Basketball Shooting Aid Review: The Shooting Arm Bandit

The Shooting Bandit helps directly improves your form so you can shoot a higher percentage. The secret to the Bandit is repetition. It’s designed to control your range of motion in your shooting form. You slide the bandit on your arms and strap the Velcros at points that feel comfortable. It’s that simple!

The Bandit then helps your form by ensuring every shot you take you can only bend the shooting arm up to 90 degrees if you bend it any further you feel a pinch near your elbow.  Players and coaches from all levels can use this shooting aid to help players get the proper shooting form which subsequently leads to more accurate shots boosting the player’s confidence.

The Shooting Bandit costs about $45, very easy to use, helps improve shooting form, and is ambidextrous so it can be used on both arms.

The shooting form doesn’t matter as much as the repetition does. If you can engrave in your muscle memory the exact form and release all the way till the follow-through, you will have a crisp, consistent shot every release. The best way to use it is to start near the rim and then slowly work your way out to the perimeter.

You can also supplement the shooting bandit with the 3-lb Spalding heavy ball.

Basketball Training Aid Review: Spalding Weighted Basketball – 3 lb.

Spalding NBA 3lb. Weighted Trainer Basketball Pricing, Info & Review

This heavy ball is a 29.5 in. weighted basketball which helps improve dribbling, passing, and extends shooting range by improving arm, wrist, and finger strength. This is meant to be used for your dribbling, shooting and passing drills and since the ball is weighted it gives your fingers, wrists, and arms a workout that you can’t get in the weight room.  This is the type of strength training that ties in directly to your game.

The trainer basketball can help all positions on the basketball court by strengthening their arm which improves the range of the shooter.  The weighted basketball also helps the dribbling skills and passing skills of all players.  Coaches from high school all the way to pro levels can easily use the training aid in their dibbling and passing exercises.   The weighted basketball can range anywhere from $35 – $50, is made of ZK Microfiber Composite Leather Cover, and bounces like a regulation basketball.

When you put the weighted ball down, it’s so much easier to use a regulation ball. You have much better control and ‘touch’ of the basketball allowing for crisper passes, stronger ball handling and smoother jump shooting.

SKLZ Rain Maker – Trajectory & Rebounding Basketball Trainer Review

 SKLZ Rain Maker – Trajectory & Rebounding Basketball Trainer

the rain maker difference - pricing, info and review

This is a rubber construction rim that transforms the standard, full size, 18 inch rim into a 15 inch rim.  By turning the rim into a 15 inch rim it forces the shooter to improve the trajectory of the shot to find the center of the hoop which helps improve the accuracy of the shooter.  The Rain Maker also comes with detachable “rejector” pieces that allow for rebounding practice.  The Rain Maker can help all the positions in the basketball game.

It helps your point guards and shooting guards improve their accuracy and getting them into a habit of putting some arc on their shots.  For your forwards and centers, this training aid will not only help improve their jump shots but it can also be used for rebounding practices.  The Rain Maker can easily be incorporated in daily practices by coaches from middle school to pro levels as there is always room for improvement on the shooting and rebounding side.

The Rain Maker can not only be used in the gym but this can also be used with theEasy training aid setup hoop in the driveway.  The training aid costs $25, it is very easy to put on an existing rim, and does wonders for players’ confidence.