”Do not be afraid to learn from players. Especially new techniques. “Stars” become “stars” because they do many things non standard, not by the text book.”
Readers of this blog will instantly recognise the above quote from Vyacheslav Platonov, which I have used before. I was reminded of it recently reading one of the many articles produced to mark the retirement of Steve Nash from the NBA. The article talks among other things, about how Nash’s style of play affected the way basketball was taught. For example:
Before he started winning MVPs, old axioms like having two hands on the ball while passing still ruled the basketball landscape. Nash not only made one-handed passing cool, but necessary. Trainers and coaches watching him play noticed that he passed with one hand not for flair or attention, but because it offered more efficient, less restrictive angles for getting the ball to his teammates.
In other words, the star player became a star by doing non standard things. And eventually (because I am guessing it really did take until he won MVPs for it to happen) coaches recognised that using another technique actually created advantages and actually began to teach it.
So when we see players like Earvin N’Gapeth (as in this post with video) we should always keep an open mind.