Clutch Hoops

Watching the NCAA’s this year, as with every other year,we’re seeing a lot of clutch hoops. Guys coming down thecourt weaving their way through traffic to get off a fallaway jumper with no time on the clock. I love it. The drama the suspense-that’s why they call it March Madness.

But we all know those plays just aren’t made, they arepracticed and practiced and practiced over and over and over again. Any kid who has had a ball, a basket, and aback yard has made those shots a thousand times. In their mindanyways. But still it’s about the clutch hoops.

It amazes me how many guys in the NCAA finals have it. With less than 10 or 15 seconds to go we could see at least 4 or 5 clutch hoops in that period. That’s good basketball. That’s clutch shooting.

I’ve hit a few big shots, but none of the magnitude of theshots that these guys are hitting. Someday, if not already,you will be required to hit those shots. You’ll be the go-to guy, the guy they’re looking for to hit the big shot.The money man. Here are a few pointers to help you be themoney scorer, the guy who hits that game winning shot andseals the victory.

Have a repertoire of game winning shots; three, fouror five different shots from different areas of the floor.Shots that you practice over and over and over again untilyou know you can make them 100% of the time.

Know the clock. Practice the seconds. Count in your headand if possible, in a gym, practice with a clock so you getused to the time counts without actually looking at theclock. After a while you’ll know how long five seconds isand how long 2 and one tenth of a second is.

Know the foul count and what your opponent may do. Ifthere is a bonus situation you may be able to draw a fouland get to the line without having to hoist up a shot toseal the win. Also you may be able to draw a foul on theshot so if the shot is missed you will go to the line.

Know how many fouls your opponent has. Players never wantto foul out of the game even in the last second. If your defender has four fouls he may not play youas hard for fear of fouling out. Use this to youradvantage.

Shoot as close to the buzzer as you can. Always leave asecond or two but no more. In the event that you miss the shot,your teammates will have a chance to tip in the ball.That’s all. It doesn’t give the other team a chance tosecure the ball and race down court for another shot.

Practice your free throws. There is always a good chanceyou will get hit on that last second shot and go to the lineto win the game. You will need to hit those free throws towin the game.

Cut hard and want the ball. You may get a screen or twobefore receiving the ball. Cut hard off the screens and wantthe ball. Once you have the ball go quickly into your shotas the defender may be lost in the screens and you can getoff an uncontested shot.

Your last second shot may need lots of arc, more so thanyou regular shot. The defender may be coming out hard andfast, so get lots of arc on that ball so it gets over thedefender and into the mesh.

In the event you do miss the shot and your team is still down beprepared to foul, so that you can stop the clock and send themto the line. This is a game situation decision. But beprepared for the next play.

Practice these situations in practice over and over againwith different scenarios. Down three with 15 seconds left.Up two with 10 seconds. Tied with 20 seconds to go. You getthe gist. All these situations will happen eventually in yourbasketball careers. Get ready. Will you be the man? Will you be able to make the Clutch Hoops?