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From 3 Combinations to Exponential Options

Thursday, September 21, 2023

The Confidence Chronicle/Journey to the method/From 3 Combinations to Exponential Options

From 3 Combinations to Exponential Options

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”

– Shunryu Suzuki, Zen master

I read a book by Dan Sullivan a few years ago called Simplifier vs. Multiplier. The basic premise was that everyone is capable of both, but everyone is better at being 100% of one or the other if they had the choice to do their best work.

I discovered that I am a 100% simplifier - given the choice, I would do my best work taking complexity and distilling it into simple, repeatable, systematic solutions (which is pretty much what I do!)

When I began learning to coach, studying under several different mentors and learning from a wide variety of sources, one of the first things I noticed was complexity and confusing terminology - especially related to finishing.

Coaches called the same thing different terms, taught overly-specific techniques with limited applications, and provided limited practice time devoted to game-realistic finishing vs defense, leaving players confused and ultimately setting them up for failure.

By the time I created the Confidence Formula in 2020, I decided I needed a way to simplify how to describe finishing both for myself, and for a beginner player to grasp and apply it.

The problem I was seeing was that to a beginner player, finishing combinations seemed countless and it was a daunting task to become proficient at even a handful.

Some players would work on complex combination finishes that "looked cool" but were disconnected from any guiding principles or even a primary, default simple option that their "fancy finish" could be paired with as a counter move (more on this idea coming later).

Epiphany #1 was - that there are only 3 combinations!

So, I created my finishing quadrant diagram, and began using only inside/ outside terminology related to finishing, which boils down to only 3 possible combinations (see diagram below).

The Finishing Quadrant

1. Inside foot, outside hand (Standard layup)
2. Outside foot, inside hand (Inside hand/ Euro step finish)
3. Outside foot, outside hand (Goofy foot finish)

Note: Players always ask about the 4th combination on the quadrant - but if you attempt it you will see why Inside foot, inside hand while possible, is impractical at the rim due to bio-mechanical power and space available on an actual attack to the basket.

Now combining this concept, as simple as it sounds, with attacking the basket from 5 angles (instead of only standard layup-line 45 degree angle) produces:

3 combinations x 5 angles x 2 hands
= 30 options to score around the basket!

That is exponential finishing!

If your player needs more options, sign up now for our Layup Maker 2.0 Launch coming October 1st!

See you on the court,

Coach BJ

P.S. In my next post I will explain Epiphany #2 and how I discovered the need for 2 separate skills to be learned separately, but applied together...
Read on: Layup Maker Story #4 - 2-steps to success

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Hi, I'm BJ Mumford

Founder of Play Practice Basketball and owner of the Seacoast Hoops Lab in Portsmouth, NH