Basketball: Practice, and consistency #2

So. I had a look at the MSAC schedule and saw a lack of courts on weekend mornings, which meant no practice time on the weekend.

The normal me would have gone HMMMM and just skipped out on practice. Can’t blame circumstances for what they are hey?

The current me went the opposite tack and did something quite unusual.

I woke up at 0450hrs on Thursday morning. Dressed, grabbed my gear and headed down to MSAC. Practiced my shots (mid-range, three point, FT) from 0600hrs to 0800hrs, had a quick clean up and headed off to a full day of work right after.

A snapshot of what usually goes on in a solo practice session:
Stretching, changing of shoes, getting dressed.
Doing the Mikan drill to get a bit warmed up, damn it sure is hard using my right hand.
(A few minutes.)
A couple of layups to get the feet working and the brain thinking less.
(A few minutes.)
Mid-range shooting, just shooting. Shot misses, I pick the ball up from where it lands and shoot again. And so on. Jog, pick ball up, face basket and shoot again. Not thinking, just shooting.
(This goes on for a couple of hours.)
Practice on the catch and shoot on the baseline. Throw a bounce pass to the baseline, run over catch it and shoot.
Practice on the catch and shoot at the free throw line; same stuff, different spot.
(This goes for about ten minutes usually.)
Check the clock, if time’s up I stretch, pack up and leave. Otherwise it’s more shooting because shooting in a fatigued condition simulates actual game condition better.

I took a video of my shots on Thursday and confirmed it yet again; when I hang before releasing the ball, I screw the shot up. A lot. Maybe it was the gym session on Tuesday (sore triceps) or I was just plain tired so it wasn’t exactly the best of practice sessions, but I think I’m beginning to breed a little consistency on my shot.

Let’s hope this level of discipline keeps up.

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Basketball: Practice, and consistency

It’s 0700hrs on a freezing Saturday morning, and thirty minutes later I’m waiting at the tram stop; hands in pockets and hoodie drawn up, wondering where exactly this drive is coming from. I’m heading off to an indoor sports complex out of the city for one purpose and that is to work on my shot alone aka practice, practice, practice.

Believe me, three months ago I wouldn’t have even made it out the bedroom door. You’re not the only surprised one.

Why though?

Like a lot of other things in life, results can only be gained through hard work, practice and consistency. You could be a born genius at something, but only applied consistency and active reflection on your mistakes gets you improving.

Maybe I’m in one of my enthusiastic moods again, but right now I’m really trying hard to develop a consistent game. If that means I have to haul my ass off the warmth of the covers, travel forty minutes and play basketball on a winter morning so be it.

Rewatching Michael Jordan DVDs is a sort of inspiration in itself; Jordan didn’t become a legend because of his talent alone. He was also a relentless individual who pushed himself everyday to practice and develop various aspects of his game, especially his shooting and defense, which were areas of his game critics commented as being flawed. I’m certainly no MJ but at this age and mental state, I’m at a stage where I should be disciplined over my own habits, and this is an attempt to start align my passion with the level of effort I should be putting into it.

After this morning’s session I’m happy that it looks like it’s starting to pay off; today’s shots are finally beginning to fall really consistently! And I got some practice on the shots while playing a couple of pickup games which has improved the feel of how I should be shooting in a game situation – really helpful.

And with Clifton’s tip about doing the jumpshot while jumping forward (ended up landing near FT line wtf!) I might be even launching treys regularly next time. Now to practice more, that’s the key.

Birthdays: keinday 2011, the 30 hath arrived!

Damn, 30 years old! Good thing I don’t feel old though, the years have certainly been kind.

So, what else has been going on in the last year?

Work: Time just whizzed by. There would be lull periods and then an occasional fault; I spent a great deal more time in the datacenter than I did last year. Got pissed off at things which hindered me from doing work which is nothing new. New projects on the way, more new things to learn for sure. Picked up pieces on integrating SOAP on Windows server environments, something I was forced to do through the incompetence of others. Revamped my LinkedIn profile, does this count? Used less of the formal language structuring, and reverted to a more colloquial style which I think represents my personality better. Continued to improve on social skills – this is something hard to quantify but I think I’m making progress. My ability to handle responsibility (and incidentally, stress) have levelled up considerably as well.

Holidays: Had an epic trip to the States with my brother Stan. Stuck at the airport, check. Watched NBA games up live and in person, check. Slipped on ice, check. Froze my balls off, check. Got sick of taking United flights, check. Enjoyed great shopping and fantastic chow, check. Unforgettable for years to come, check.

Basketball: Pretty much stagnated ever since the indoor sessions died down, but we are looking to join a basketball league this year and I’m looking forward to exciting days ahead! I’m looking to polish 1-on-1 skills at this point rather than team stuff. Improve driving and jumpshots for the most part, plus right-handed drives and post-up shots.

Photography: Very stagnant, have not been shooting too much. There is just that prevailing indolent attitude going on in this topic at this point of time. I certainly need to kick off this laziness and take the camera out more often.

Life: Spent a great deal of time thinking about it, but finally plonked a chunk of moolah on this shiny rock with a metal ring we know as an engagement ring and proposed last year. Killed a lot of brain cells and getting generally frustrated planning the wedding. Ranted non-stop about the roadblocks to anyone and everyone. Enjoyed the wedding and the process of getting married. Enjoyed the company of all the dear friends who came over. And the latest project: getting our first kid on the way, who is due in December this year.

Personal: Continued my usual thinking throughout the year, reflection on one’s actions is always an important part of self-improvement. I try to think more before I speak in diplomatic situations, to be honest with people I hold dear, to always enjoy every day of my life, and to be content in the moments of happiness that come by. I’m also happy that I have managed to keep in touch with most of the people important to me, and wish that I will be able to do this for all my beloved friends.


Onwards with the surprise birthday dinner! So we had this dinner at The Yar a week before the birthday and a cake was hauled out at the end of the buffet dinner when I was already stuffed – very surprised!

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Especially thankful to Jasmine for organising the whole deal (including the delicious cake) and also to Bill, Andy, Doris, Stan and V for going along with it.

So what else did I do on the birthday?

  • Applied for leave, visited the obstetrician with V in the morning. Everything’s good with the baby!
  • Had awful pseudo-Japanese food by Chinese folks at the Chadstone food court, really bad. Should make it a rule never to eat fake Japanese food in food courts ever ever
  • Watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2 by myself at Hoyts Directors Suite – awesome seat, awesome ending to the Potter franchise.
    Well done guys you get a 4.9 from me, 0.1 deducted thanks to Harry breaking the Elder Wand (WTF moment) and the snipped dialogue from Ron to his kid at King’s Cross Station at the end. I like to think that the added screentime along with fantastic direction and visuals gave this film what it needed to present a glorious wrap.
  • Dinner with Clement, Clifton and the family at Ying Thai 2.

Present list!
From Lishi: an Esprit tee and an Esprit checkered shirt. My annual topup to the wardrobe, fits just right 😀 Thanks FG! I’m still waiting for my card :X

Card arrived 25th Jul! The card this year is one that says “29 FOREVER – I never lie…” on the cover. harhar. harhar.

Inside, it reads:

DEAREST KEIN

Hey there!

Sorry for the late birthday card (although you’ve got your bday gifts already). Hehe. Wanted to send from Krabi but it was a very quiet place, no have nice cards, only postcards so apologies for the latecoming!

Btw, i’m meeting up with Minghui at this very moment. Haha. He’s looking at me while i’m writing this up. Muahahaha.

Congrats on the coming new arrival to your newly set-up family. Help me convey my greetings to Ellen as well. I’ll try to go over n see my ‘godson’ next year!
Something to look forward to.

Alrite, I’ll end here. Hope you enjoy your birthday & Harry Potter! Try to come back this year leh!

P.S The card very adequate right?
Hehe.

Yours Sincerely,
Lishi aka FG

From V: a copy of Legends of Lone Wolf #12 – The Rotting Land. AT LAST! This book has been on my list for the longest time ever, thanks babe : )

From Stan: a black Angry Birds tee with the caption Flip The Bird.
And a card with a pair of faux tits (lol) that reads:

To: Kein aka my brother

2011 has been a year of BIGS:
– Boston Trip
– THE Wedding
– 30 years of existance

And not forgetting THE Baby!
Thank you for being a great role model, brother, friend and much more.
Looking fwd to many years more of awesomeness!
Happy Birthday!

Stan
13/7/11

From Bill & Andy: an infantino Breathe Vented Comfort baby carrier. Thanks for the gift guys! I really appreciate the thoughtfulness that went into it and it probably could come in handy (and here’s the part where I sound like an ungrateful bitch) but I was hoping to get something for me rather than something for my kid. After all it’s my birthday and it really feels very sad when even the day that marks my birth gets overshadowed by the impending arrival of my kid. Yes, I’m relatively egocentric.

To be honest I was quite glum about this the entire morning but I guess I should be grateful people are bothered enough to buy a present as it is; one should always learn to count one’s blessings.


Well-wishes: This year the list is a little long, much longer than I thought it would be. I’m a simple guy who’s easily contented and really, these messages make me very grateful to everyone who remembers, and bother enough to drop a message. Each message I read reminds me of the wonderful (or awful sometimes) days I have had with that person, and I feel happy thinking about the indelible memories we shared together. My Griffiths classmates, people from Ngee Ann (especially Swim Team as always), Temasek mates, RCY, NS, 1-Net, work, basketball (Changkat, Melbourne) and everywhere after. You guys are the best.

SMS:
Keith:
Happy birthday Kein , all the best this year!!!

ahlong:
Happy birthday bro..

Nanzhen:
Happy Birthday bro! Welcome to the 30 club… Haha. Enjoy ur day and ur movie!

Lishi:
My whatsapp got prob… Suddenly can’t connect. Will be home late leh. Btw happy birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WhatsApp:
Meishan:
Happy birthday, daddy-to-be!

Nick:
was waiting for 12 but ah? u are 2 hrs ahead…. haha

will the year ahead be ur most wonderful and loved ever. be happy and fill of joy to come, and have chance and luck along u always hehe U hit 30 liao hahaand i’m joining u real soon ^0^

Great Birthday!! Great Friend!!

Zhiming:
Happy Birthday PIG! May u get purple cloak n horse n wonderful things in life …. Hate u deeply …. ZM 🙂

Lester:
Yo Happy birthday

Sharon:
Happy belated burfday!! Sry I’m late:) was away on cruise:) hee

MSN:
XX says (11:50 PM):
halo…xx here… Happy Birthday 2u …

Zhongming says (12:37 PM):
hapi belated bdae~

Skype:
Wenqi (02:26 AM):
bro, happy birthday

Facebook:
Apologies if the alignment is out, the list was really too long so I mucked it up somewhat. And be warned, this list is very, very long.






Basketball: No backspin on the jumper, WTF?

So I was really really really out of touch on the jumpshot after many weeks of indolence, and took the opportunity today to polish the shot a bit. And made a lot of airballs. And crooked shots. It was really really really bad I tell you, no shit.

So I started to tweak my posture, trying to figure out what went wrong and somewhere along the uninterrupted two hour shooting session, I ended up with a follow throw that was super duper straight, I could literally see my extended arm pointing straight at the rim after I released the ball. And the ball was going in a lot so I figured that was the end of my woes.

It wasn’t until later in the morning when Dinesh and Sherry pointed out a very odd phenomenon on my shot, that I realised the job wasn’t completed yet – my shot’s backspin disappeared. In shot, no rotation. I’m seriously not too sure how I managed that since I flicked the ball pretty hard every time on the follow throw but it looked like a flying rock.

Back to the drawing board? Hopefully I’ll figure it out on tomorrow’s session.

Keinian ideals: Being me, and staying me

(Drafted this on the tram to morning basketball – me time is usually very conducive to philosophical thoughts.)

A long time ago, a buddy was sharing a story. So his parents were fulltime dancers – yes, incredible isn’t it? Awesome careers IMO. But they ultimately gave that up for stable jobs and a family/kids. We were younger back then and youthful angst has a part to do with what we think at that time, but he was kind of frustrated by their seeming sacrifice because they could say they did it for him but he never had a say in the entire matter. Sacrifices, are not always understood and might turn into a guilt trip.

It’s a good way to start the post I guess. To me, this memory is a reminder of who I want to be.

I want to be someone I’m proud of, someone the younger me can look and marvel at. To be wise, understanding and a ready listener; someone my child would have no problems sharing his joys and fears with. Someone he can respect and look up to as a role model. Someone he would be able to tell his friends about; that his dad is an awesome fellow who lives life doing the things he loves. I want to be the friend, the geek, the basketball fanatic, the gamer, the photographer, the armchair philosopher, the fussy critic and so many other parts that make up the self.

I would really dread the day when I have to tell my kid something to the order of “I used to love doing blahblah before we had you.” Instant confusion (“Why do you not do it now?”) and subsequent guilt trip (“Am I to blame for this?”).

I want to be my own person, and to die doing the things I love. I have never believed that being an employee, a boyfriend, a husband and a father would mean submerging my own persona “for the long term good”, as Stan once said. That’s utter bullshit to me. Everything is but just a facet of the big picture, and a balance.

Growing up merely means taking on more responsibilities, and it’s up to me to make things work. My life is for me, and I should be living it for no one else. If my existence has diluted to the point of fulfilling mere roles without any expressions of individuality, it would be a very poor existence indeed and I should be looking hard to turn things around. Or run straight at the nearest wall, whichever is more convenient.

Hopefully it will never happen, but I write this as a signpost to myself – to never lose my sense of self.

Basketball: Time to shape up!

So things are picking up and some of the guys (along with me of course) are forming a team to join up on a local basketball league. That’s a new phase of my life starting right there woohoooooo! Never been in a league before lots of fun things ahead I’d say. It would’ve been better if all our regular group people could join in the team but not everyone’s keen on playing in a league (prob due to dirty stuff people pull) but I’m counting my blessings and just feeling happy that at this stage of life, I’m still healthy and able to play ball the way I like.

Wanted to get 14 as my jersey number originally (after Hisashi Mitsui in SLAMDUNK), but Hin wants it too so I’ll be taking 11 instead. Yes yes cue all the puking people, I’m a zillion miles off from what Kaede Rukawa looks like but suck it up!

One of the things about the team though, it looks like I’d have to end up playing C, a position I thought I had left behind in Singapore ages ago. Oh well, at least I’ve played the spot before and if someone else comes along I’m more than happy to step aside and let him do the honours instead. My main objective will be to maintain the zone, keep idiots from cutting in along the baseline, plug the holes, box out and get the rebound – the other guys can have all the pleasure of scoring heh heh.

So my physique has significantly deteriorated in these years of staying in Melbourne, all the muscle gained from those fun days at the gym with XQ have bade their farewells one by one. Time to restart the training program and kick my ass back into shape! Primary focus this time will be on triceps, back and shoulders; I realised that my triceps are consistently the first muscle group to feel soreness after basketball, especially when banging it down in the paint with a bigger guy.

Checked my 1RM yesterday and I’m about 15kg when doing a seated triceps press. That’s a good starting point to build on for now, I think I’ll focus on sets of 8-10 reps at about 60% RM and see how things go. Ordered the creatine and WPI, free shaker bottle and the gear is mostly set. Have to feel lucky that I have a gym right downstairs really, think I’m really gonna miss it when I move out.

Another thing to work out, much as I hate this – running. Hello treadmill, let’s hope I don’t faint from boredom.

Keinian ideals: Responsibility and respect

There was this group project back in primary school that I remember vividly for some reason. So the class was split into groups of four and every group had to compile a bunch of short stories that they liked, and hand it up in the form of a book. So I was somehow made the group leader and began digging around for the right stories. When the deadline was up, most of the stories inside were mine; most of the other groupmates simply did not care and I was not much of a leader to push them hard enough to get the stories. Priscilla (who was sitting next to me at that time) tried to lighten up my mood, but I was seriously frustrated by the end result and the general attitude of my groupmates.

Years later and life unsurprisingly still meanders around the same trends. Requests are made and delays happen due to failure on following instructions, failure to act promptly on requests or even failure to complete the requested task. In fact, it seems like people give a damn about their work responsibilities more than personal stuff; I suspect this is due to an ingrained fear of getting their asses roasted and subsequently threatened lifelihoods.

You can screw up your personal affairs with no visible consequences, although this of course smacks of general disrespect towards the people you hold dear but I will refrain from throwing too many insults here. To me, work and personal tasks are of equal importance, and should be similarly treated with the same responsibility and care.

IMO people generally do not give serious consideration to any group-related chore, and deem it safe to let the one in charge sort it out. To me, a request made is one that needs to be done the same day. If you do not want me to do it today, don’t tell me about it now then.

Which of course brings us to responsibility. I believe that every one of us (be it as a friend or family member or employee) are responsible for requests made to us.

Saying no: If you do not think that request can be done or if you do not wish to do it, say no or discuss the request further – do not say yes and subsequently waste everyone’s time being a jerkoff by not doing it while people have to remind you multiple times on what needs to be done.

Saying yes: This implies a commitment that you are willing to adhere to, not a casual agreement to do something “soon” or worst, not at all. Keeping one’s word is an important part of life as a responsible individual because it defines how much people can trust you and although I’m not some holy man who keeps his word all the time, I do try my best to keep to what I promise.

(This of course extends to punctuality on appointments as well but I will not go into that.)

I also get annoyed when people do not bother to check things up themselves before asking me, because this to me is an indication that they find my time less valuable than theirs, which equates to a lack of respect – this is especially true when I do not know the answer. It’s really not a problem when you have tried to find out and are getting nowhere, but not trying before asking for a spoonfeed means nothing but laziness.