Creativity in Basketball

This entry is the latest chapter in the blog Complexity, Creativity, and Everything. The addition was made on January 19, 2017. The whole blog is here.

What is the role of creativity in basketball and other invasion team sports? That is a question that comes up again and again in discussions regarding coaching. It is now time to answer that question from one angle and based on two claims:

  1. In the previous chapter of this blog, it was stated that in basketball, the number of possible situations is infinite, and so is the number of possible decisions in each situation.
  2. Creativity has been defined as “the interaction among aptitude, process, and environment by which an individual or group produces a perceptible product that is both novel and useful as defined within a social context”.

Put together, these claims imply that creativity is inevitably a constant element in basketball and other invasion team sports. In basketball, the decision making process always produces a perceptible product (e.g. a shot or a pass). This product is by definition novel, because the situation in which it appears is unique, or novel.

Also, the product is more or less useful given its social context – i.e. a basketball game. The usefulness of the product may be assessed by looking into how well it optimizes the effectiveness of the decision-maker’s team – in other words, how it affects their chances of beating the other team.

I believe that keeping this in mind is the key if one wants to have a relevant discussion on creativity in sports. Creativity in sports is wholly different than say creativity in music because the social context is wholly different.

To be continued. On the next episode: Conscious and Non-conscious Control.

Complexity, Creativity, and Everything

“Basketball is interaction between the two teams and the rules of basketball.”

That was my definition of basketball I wrote in a previous blog. In this blog, I will first try to justify the aforementioned definition. Then I will discuss where it takes us – in other words, what it implies regarding coaching, practicing, and playing basketball.

There will be profound questions about complexity, collectivism, creativity, variability, mindfulness. All the way through, I will draw practical conclusions from the theoretical musings.

As James C. Maxwell remarked: “There is nothing more practical than a good theory.”

I am writing this piece by piece. The latest addition was made on Thursday January 19. The update starts with the subheading Creativity in Basketball.

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Let Us Re-imagine Basketball

We should re-imagine basketball.

The current equipment and rules are designed to suit men’s top level. Elite players can go coast-to-coast in a flash, palm the ball, throw end-to-end passes, dunk the ball thunderously, hit threes as if they were lay-ups. You know, do all kinds of cool stuff.

The rest – kids, women, recreational male players – are left with a ball game that’s nice not really suited for them. This could be changed. We could modify the rules so that players of all levels would get to really enjoy the game.

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Why eFG% Is Invalid for Measuring the Efficiency of FG Shooting

Whenever you see basketball performance analysis where eFG% is used as the metric to measure the efficiency of FG shooting, you immediately know that the whole analysis is invalid. Since eFG% is widely used, much of the current basketball performance analysis is invalid.

Nothing helps: not the huge amount of the data, not the sophistication of the analysis methods, not the great looks of the graphics. In a way, they only make matters worse since they help hide the invalidity of the underlying assumptions.

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Improving Andre Drummond’s Free Throw

In a previous blog entry, I wrote about shooting and practicing shooting at a general level. Here I try to show how to implement those ideas into a real-life situation.

To make this concrete and familiar, let’s have a look at a much-publicized dilemma: an NBA player’s free throw shooting technique that is flawed and produces bad results. In other words, let’s look at Andre Drummond’s free throw shooting.

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Remarks on Shooting and Practicing Shooting

This entry is an attempt to combine some principles and some nuts and bolts regarding shooting and practicing shooting. Originally, I published this post in March 2015.

In November 2015 I put it back together piece by piece and also added some new remarks. The latest additions were made on Monday Nov 30. Drills related to this entry can be found in this blog entry.

Shooting Accuracy and Efficiency Are Not the Same Thing

For starters we must define the primary goal of shooting practice. That definition is a prerequisite for any intelligent discussion about the subject. That is because if we do not know exactly what shooting practice should accomplish, it is impossible to assess its efficiency.

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Coach, Why Do We Practice This?

Recently I started putting together a practice plan, as I usually do. This time it proved to be a laborious task because I couldn’t stop asking this question:

What should players practice?

This wasn’t just an acute question regarding the content of that particular session. Rather the question concerned me at a more general level. Meaning, what types of tasks should be included? Scrimmaging, running, ball-handling, shooting, defensive footwork? Yes? No?

And, most importantly, why?

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