Mastering the layup, similar to martial arts?

I hadn’t really noticed it previously, but Lester’s comment on Sunday about how he couldn’t change the way of his release for his layup in mid-air I did, made me think about it for a bit. I was pretty sure I could do it by the time I was 18 (albeit erratically), but I think the recent years in Australia have improved the smoothness of the delivery somewhat. As always, practice makes perfect. Now if only I could do it the way Ray Allen does it, that would be awesome.

I was explaining it to Stan later that night, that the layup in some aspects reminded me of the way comics described martial arts. A move (招式) was a move, but to master the move meant you had to understand all the possible variations (变化) the move covered. In the same essence, a layup is the same but yet different every time. You jump from a different spot, the opponent has you covered differently, you might not be jumping the same height, you might not even be hanging in mid-air for the same duration. So you adjust, and compensate. And hopefully, your adjustments allow for the ball to swish into the net.

I think I’m getting the hang of using the board to deliver a right-handed layup, so that’s good news too. Now if only I could do a right-handed finger roll, hmmmmmm.

Another observation made during the Sunday session: observing the right instant to drive, when your teammates are making the defense undergo transition. There is that moment, when the penetration could cause the defense to collapse. Needs more practice to make it work, but I think I made a little more progress in my understanding that day.

I think I’m getting somewhat decent at making good inbound passes towards teammates in a stationary position, but good passes on the move is still somewhat distant on the horizon. More practice required before I hit this level I guess.

Post Sunday basketball thoughts.

We had a pretty good session today in the evening, but hmmm could be better. We ran into a bit of a problem getting back into the court, which was largely caused by this annoying lady at the front desk that wanted to force us to pay an additional $2.50 after we had paid for entrance earlier. Bloody #$@$! It was a good thing the MSAC dude (think his name’s Adam) sorted things out after awhile, and let us play in the exhibition court instead. Two words: great guy.

(And this is to NZ: I bought a new ball today, you gonna get yours soon? lol.)

Stuff to think about:

  • I think I need to bone up on my passing. Not much passing today, and once again Stan and Johnny couldn’t get a firm hold on my bounce passes. I think there’s something seriously wrong somewhere, need to figure it out.
  • Driving was pretty good, got to the basket pretty smoothly but I think I’ve almost reached the point where I need to train up on my right hand’s ability to get to the basket to improve further. I made some test layups after the session, and surprisingly it didn’t feel that hard to use the right hand for a layup.
  • If I can make only slight hand adjustments and shoot set shots from my current posture (when I’m ready to make an overhead pass), I’m pretty sure it’ll make things a lot easier for a fake and drive.

There were these two guys in our last game of 4on4, really good shooters. One tall fellow who could make shots off at the high post easily and consistently, and another shorter guy who could shoot, pass and drive with equal facility. Everyone seemed amped up after those guys joined the game, played a lot harder. Had great fun guarding the second fellow today, but I only managed to stop him on one drive, and none on his shots. I guess playing with better players = how you improve your game fast.

What a weekend it’s been!

It’s been quite a while since I pulled an all-nighter, and even longer since I did it for work. I bet your Saturday’s been better than mine! I’m starting to have the feeling that the company owns my life.

0500hrs: Planned cutover for a mail server, which failed so we abandoned the migration and did a rollback. Managed to keep myself awake by playing Master of Orion the entire night.
0630hrs: Scheduled power maintenance for a datacenter completed, verified network equipment back up and running before trying to sleep – failed.
1040hrs: At the vet in Toorak, with Cookie for her annual jab. I think Cookie had a good idea of what was coming, and refused to walk in by herself. Yelped after jab was given, and despite the vet’s comment of “she might feel a little sleepy after that”, Cookie was her usual excited self at home.
1200hrs: Lunch at Melbourne Central. Hello ham-cheese-and-tomato toastie, I’m finally back!
1300hrs: Nearly comatose at this point, brain largely non-functional. Grocery shopping at Coles.
1400hrs: Attempted to sleep and almost did, but got notice of a problem on mail sending, which turned out to be a configuration issue caused by the rollback. Quick fix, and lost all mood to sleep thereafter.
1600hrs: Pizza aka early dinner.
0000hrs: Finally decided that it was time to sleep, and KO-ed. V said I wasn’t as loud as how my mum was in 2007, but I was running a close second. 11 hours of sleep after that, to replace the sleep lost on Friday night.

What if.

I lost my job right now, hmm. Probably get fcuked up big-time, to say the least.

  • No work visa = 28 days to find another job or leave the country.
  • No income to pay up the rest of loan.
  • Relocation back home instantly.
  • Problem with finding another suitable job.

Yessir, bad news indeed if it happens. And do I have to mention that the thought of going back doesn’t exactly thrill me? Bah. This year is just full of good news. Not.

Recalling life, all over again.

Random ideas always come at the oddest moments. I had the sudden urge to leave a more palatable record of my life journey, and before I knew it I was scribbling ideas down here and there on the notebook I always carried around.

So a few days of research on how it is to be done, a bit of “hmmm yes I think we’re a leeeetle bit closer to the point where it really could be done”, and we’re getting started now. Subdomain setup, WordPress installed, theme’s locked and loaded, plugin (most important bit of the puzzle) ready to rock.

Now, to finish tweaking the odds and ends before I officially announce the start on this bit of life documentation. Let’s hope my interest doesn’t wane too fast.

Basketball: A lazy weekend evening at the court.

I’ve gotta say, the MSAC provides a good training ground when it’s quiet. We were so incredulous at actually seeing an empty half-court instead of the usual slugfest, we thought the dudes on the other half were playing a full-court game. I was in a good rhythm this weekend, and shooting’s pretty good on the mid-range. Ball movement was pretty good on the court that day too, Bill’s in good form!

Things that I think I need to watch out for hmm.

  • Like for example how guys get past me and do a reverse layup sometimes.
  • Or the fact that I still cannot consistently drive at the basket, and instead drive with the intention to avoid contact. Just go at it dammit!
  • Or that I can beat the first defender, but cannot clear off the help defense sometimes.
  • I need to figure out how to make my off-the-dribble bullet passes more palatable for the teammate. I think the receiver fumbles the pass on 100% of these passes to date. It hits the receiver’s hands, and flies off. Too unexpectedly hard for the guy, which is why I’m trying 50% power for this kind of pass for Stan right now.
  • Need to unite my moves into a single whole. Sounds very vague, but it means to me, that I need to have my options fluid. When I have room, I shoot. If I don’t, I drive. Anytime a lane is clear, I pass. I’m going on a pass-then-drive-then-shoot kinda routine right now, which is too rigid; defenders know that I will drive more than I shoot, so adjust their defense accordingly.

Like Stan said, it’s good to have an empty court for practice.

  • We did a bit of experimentation on why he kept losing the ball on several inbound passes I made on his cut on the games earlier in the day. Ball goes in the right direction, it hit his hand, and flew away. It turned out to be the spin of the ball that was the problem; something he has to get used to I guess.
  • A straight pass I made to him failed, because he turned in the opposite direction (clockwise instead of anti-clockwise). More practice too.
  • We also talked about the way he moved with the ball after the cut – he tended to go with the direction on his original cut, going up for a layup or a hook shot which made his movements quite easy to predict. Maybe adding a stop and shoot to vary the repetoire?
  • We also did some practice on how he should be passing to me on the high/low post, and
  • For him to try to actually start driving instead of either options A (pass) or B (shoot, which he almost never does unless he’s at the baseline).

Fun day, a pity we don’t get empty courts that often on the weekend.


so. bloody. stifling.

I think I need to let go, and not bother about too many things. The price of being overly responsible, is mental fatigue and increased irritation. Interestingly enough, three people made the same comment in the space of a single day heh. I guess my fangs are really, really starting to show.

*bares teeth and snarls*