The Junior Basics – Five Sample Chapters

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It is hard to learn any new skill. This is true about basketball, too. There are so many different techniques you need to master, so many different tactics, different rules. And additionally, you are supposed to be strong. And quick. And durable.

Why bother?

Because nothing feels greater than learning a new skill. The more you learn about something, the more fulfilling learning becomes. It is like travelling deeper into a new fascinating world day by day.

Someone may be interested in playing guitar, someone in dancing ballet, someone in doing brain surgery. If you are interested in playing basketball, this book is for you. I hope it helps you along your way.

Chapter 1: Help Your Team Win

What is your main goal as a basketball player?

The answer is simple. Because basketball is a team game, your goal is to do whatever you can do to help your team win.

The principle “Help the team win” may sound simple and self-evident but it isn’t. In fact, most players have other things on their agenda, too. They want to score a lot of points. Or to do something spectacular. Or to keep themselves from being embarrassed.

Yet in the end the best players are the best for one reason and one reason only: they do the most to help team win. If you concentrate purely on that goal, you’re on the right track.

This principle is also a tool for you to evaluate your development. The more you can help your team, the better player you have become.

Chapter 21: Avoid Shortcuts

There are some players who practice lazily, yet perform well in games. And some superstars have bad habits off the floor. So, are practicing deliberately and building good habits a waste of effort?

Obviously not.

First of all, practicing deliberately and building good habits will make you the best player you can be. If someone doesn’t stick to those principles, he will never be as good as he could have been.

Second, once you develop a taste for it, deliberate practice is a whole lot more fun than just fooling around.

And last, good habits – sleeping well, eating healthily, not drinking alcohol, not using drugs and not smoking – will benefit you off the floor, too. Now and when your career is over.

Chapter 41: Allow Yourself Mastery

Ordinary people learn to do amazing things if they put a lot of time and effort into it. Learning skills is not about innate talent – it is about lots of deliberate practice.

This is not pep talk, but a scientifically proven fact. Unfortunately, we are so restricted by common beliefs that we don’t see how far we could reach.

Break free of everything that’s holding you back and give it a try. Go for the mastery. It may be fun. Or painful. Probably both. Anyway, you’ll probably learn more than you considered possible.

Chapter 47: Go All Out All the Time

Playing hard is a skill and a habit. That’s why you have to go all out anytime you step on the floor.

It is the only way to learn to play hard. Playing hard takes a lot of skill. You have to know how to dive after loose balls, bump cutters, fight for rebounds with no bars held.. You have to work on those things, and playing hard is the only way to do that.

Playing hard is also a habit. You can’t turn it on and off. You have to do it all the time. Otherwise you’ll end up thinking whether to dive after a loose ball or not while someone else simply dives and grabs the ball.

Playing hard means that you do your best and use your physical contact whenever necessary. It doesn’t mean you should commit fouls out of control or act violently. It is not a part of basketball.

Chapter 75: Remember It’s a Game

Even though you want to play well and put a lot of time and effort in basketball, keep it in perspective. It’s just a game after all. There are lots of happy people in the world who have never even seen a basketball.

If you become a high-performance player, that’s nice. If you give it a try but don’t make it, that’s nice, too. Maybe you find another role in the game that interests you: as a coach, referee, trainer, timekeeper, spectator.

This doesn’t mean that that you shouldn’t go all while you play. You should. Full engagement in whatever you are doing at the moment brings happiness to a human being.

Table of Contents


1) Help Your Team Win

2) Become Your Own Person

3) Accept Division of Work

4) Expect Miscomprehensions

5) Ignore Bystanders’ Opinions

6) Deal With Your Parents

7) Do What the Coach Says

8) Save Your Explanations

9) Apply, Don’t Paralyze

10) Look Out for Your Rights

11) Talk to Coach in Private

12) Respect Your Teammates

13) Communicate All You Can

14) Encourage Everyone

15) Hug Someone

16) Balance You and Team

17) Watch Out What You Say

18) Create Good Habits

19) Develop Routines

20) Act Serious

21) Avoid Shortcuts

22) Concentrate Routinely

23) Make Yourself Available

24) Restrict Your Activities

25) Exercise 18 Hours a Week

26) Sleep Tight

27) Nap Every Day

28) Fill and Refill Your Tank

29) Eat a Plenty

30) Really Say No

31) Mind the Gear

32) Stay Healthy

33) Brace Yourself

34) Heal Your Wounds

35) Work Out While Injured, Too

36) Love Learning

37) Anticipate Difficulties

38) Build a Solid Basis of Skills

39) Do Other Sports

40) Pick Stuff from Pros

41) Allow Yourself Mastery

42) Study the Playbook

43) Master Your Position

44) Think Ahead

45) Play With an Open Mind

46) Learn from W’s and L’s

47) Go All Out All the Time

48) Change Rhythm and Tempo

49) Stay Calm

50) Arrive Early

51) Focus on the Task at Hand

52) Dream on

53) Assess Realistically

54) Prepare for the Next Step

55) Have a Long-Term Plan

56) Set Different Goals

57) Appreciate the Size

58) Keep on Keeping on

59) Pack Your Bags

60) Use Your Strengths

61) Strengthen Your Weakness

62) Train on Your Own

63) Find a Partner

64) Complement Team Practices

65) Get Out of Sight

66) Pay Attention to Some Stats

67) Check the Score

68) Defend Your Position

69) Let Them Fake

70) Pass, please

71) Obey the Percentage

72) Shoot Considerately

73) Stick to Your Shot Selection

74) Seek Purposeful Contact

75) Remember It’s a Game

2 thoughts on “The Junior Basics – Five Sample Chapters

  1. Pingback: Blog: Remarks on Shooting and Practicing Shootin | Coach Harri Mannonen

  2. Pingback: Complexity, Creativity, and Everything | Coach Harri Mannonen

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