Steve Nash and the Creative Art of Skill Development

As I get older, it’s harder and harder to claim myself as a fan to many players. I can’t bring myself to buy players’ jerseys or posters anymore. Even in regards to my favorite teams, I can’t find the logic in purchasing branded apparel. With the retirement of Steve Nash, so leaves another player that I watched as a child as a true fan. Someone I would get excited to see when I was a child. I never owned a Nash jersey, but he was definitely someone who I would study as a player. He had an interesting quote in a recent Sports Illustrated article:

“Parents try to buy the 10,000 hours,” he says. “It’s drills and strength coaches and skill development. But you lose a lot. At the park, there’s no instruction, so you create constantly...I want to foster in my kids a passion for sports, but I have to be careful. I can’t do it completely. I can only open an environment and encourage them in whatever they do.”

His statements have meaning. People are naturally creative. It’s not until we get exposed to situations that limit our creativity - whether it be school, athletics, or work - that we come to a point where we find what we do mundane.

Looking back on my childhood, I feel like my dad accomplished this with me in basketball. I remember a huge emphasis on shooting form and being able to dribble and lay up with both hands. Outside of that, most of our time was spent playing against other kids or pretending we were certain players in a game situation (I loved being Terry Porter and Clyde Drexler). Our creativity reinforced our fundamentals and allowed us to see the game as a playground.

I believe fundamentals are important, and skill development is necessary. The one thing that we can not neglect as coaches is the importance of stretching our players ability to see the game in different ways. To be able to improvise within the system we teach.