20 Second TimeOut is Proud to Welcome a New Partner

Early this morning we teamed up with a well-known and highly respected basketball coach from Belgrade, Serbia who coaches a top division men’s team in Qatar. Miroslav Zlatkovic has reached out to us and asked us if we would like to be partners in his website. hotspot4basketball.com has nearly 1,000 coaches and players, as well as entire teams, registered on the website around the world. Coach Zlatkovic has very experienced coaches that come from various backgrounds, around the world. All of them are listed on the website with their accolades and years of experience.

Also, immediately upon joining teams, hotspot4basketball is also proud to announce the beginning of the Elite Overseas Basketball Exposure Showcase, Which will be held in Qatar in January of 2018. For more information on the camp, please visit the official Facebook page of the showcase.

NBA The Business Side

If you had the choice to work anywhere in the country, would you take the opportunity? Perhaps you would take advantage for yourself, to relocate closer to friends and/or family, if not you, your wife might enjoy a new experience elsewhere, or possibly even your children would be better suited for a school system in a different city, as they grow up. Whatever the scenario, you and your family deserve to be happy in a place where you all share a better quality of life. Given many do not have this option as they are forced to work when and where there are job opportunities and they receive the best compensation for their work. But for those that are fortunate enough to climb the social ladder that allows them to dictate where they reside, there should not be any penalty or social backlash for making the decision that best suits their family.

Normally there is not.

HOWEVER, when it comes to professional athletes such as our favorite NBA players, for numerous reasons, on the surface, they are deemed as “unfaithful”, “a snake”, or not staying true to their family of fans, should they decide to move their actual family and people they care about to another area, for reasons the general public will never know anything about.

Many attribute the NBA’s current free agency situation to LeBron James’s decision to play in Miami back in July 9, 2010. For certain, the way James made a public scene that shocked the world did not go over well with his critics or even the media. He definitely has a reputation for seeking the spotlight in hopes of gaining attention, but now LeBron’s brand is rapidly growing, so it was a savvy business move. Sure, there were many dissatisfied loyal Cleveland Cavaliers fans who could not believe the news, who would then express their hatred, even to the point of being recorded on camera, burning jerseys of LeBron James.

Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, came out and publicly ridiculed James calling him a traitor. But as for the many fans of LeBron that denounced their loyalty to him, he received an even greater welcome in South Beach when LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh made their grand entrance to the Miami Heat at the American Airlines Center that off-season.

In the next few years, with social media platforms on the rise, every day fans, even kids, are now aware of trades, trade rumors, or any type of free agency reports. With this information anyone around the world can speculate what will happen next. But the truth is no one could have foreseen something like the situation of Kevin Durant going to Golden State (except his inner circle of friends, family, agent, and business partners). So when the world hears about “KD” going to the Warriors, many would assume he was only after his first elusive title that he could not obtain in Oklahoma City as the face of the Thunder. But fans, media, sports reporters, or analysts, have no idea why an athlete might make such a controversial decision. There are simply too many factors that go in to such a life altering move.

Just recently, A big trade went down between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics with all kinds of rumors about players and why they left. Many fans, media, and even teammates were left feeling helpless and empty-handed when the teams and players reached an agreement.

To help shed some light on what an NBA player musts go through in his career, Caron Butler, who has had a very successful career as a veteran for many NBA teams, provided this statement. “Celtics traded a guy who played in a game for them a day after his sister died, but y’all expect players to be loyal to the franchise, sure …@isaiahthomas Much love brother. I got traded before. It was painful. Players leave for different team, ‘They’re disloyal! A Judas!’ Teams trade a player who gave his heart and soul to the city and team, it’s called business. Hmmm. Does that make sense? The best way to deal with this business is not to have expectations from anyone but yourself. Keep being you. #keepinspiring #example #GIANT.”

Ray Allen, who is easily regarded as one of the best shooters to ever play in the NBA, did not differ from Butler’s statement at all. He responded to Butler by saying, “I immediately thought the same thing. Why is it that we are disloyal for going to a team we feel will be best for us, but there is no outrage towards the teams that trade us. Fans kill us, but when a team does it, it’s just business. SMH! I expect every Celtic fan to be pissed off at the organization because they showed that they were disloyal to Isaiah. They traded him to your rival! The team you guys played in the conference finals. Oh wait, now it’s just business!”

With that being said, maybe it is time the world of basketball should focus its attention on the people in the front offices of these organizations, such as the presidents, vice presidents, managers, directors of basketball operations, or even the owners. Players have to do what is best for themselves and for their families and their future, knowing basketball will not last forever, and their careers could be cut short at any time. So now, keep in mind professional basketball truly is a business, nowhere more so than the NBA. Like most businesses, there are the workers, and there are the owners of the companies that cut the paychecks. The NBA is no different. Being mindful of this next time your favorite player appears to “jump ship”, remember he or she has a personal life with a family and close friends. You are merely one of potentially millions of fans in their fan base. It is not acceptable to go online and begin slandering what they have worked hard for.

Basketball is a lifestyle.

Life is never fair, but do not make things worse for the players that have reached the pinnacle of basketball glory and continue to do great things in the game. Instead, thank them for their hard work, dedication, and time spent in the city they played.

You Can’t Control The Outcome If You Can’t Control Yourself

So many times after a turnover, bad pass, or missed lay-up, by a player, or controversial call by an official, there are inexperienced and reactive players and coaches that will immediately respond negatively. Humans, much like animals, are instinctive creatures. It is normal to get angry at a bad call, excited when your team gets a big “and 1”, or discouraged if shots are not going in. But do NOT play the rest of the game reflecting on this. In the world of sports, this is called “living in the past”, “not playing in the present”, or simply just being reactive. When athletes or teams default their mindset to this instinctive behavior, there are usually a series of unfortunate, seemingly contagious, events that follow. Many great all-around players and teams with no weaknesses in their games, far too often, find themselves wondering why the momentum will not shift back easily. After a loss, coaches think they need to make serious adjustments in terms of X’s and O’s, change the tempo at which their team plays, or even drastically change the structure of their practices, all because things are not working out, and something has to change. 

There are 2 things you can control, your effort and your attitude. A bad attitude might be understandable, but it is NEVER acceptable. 

Assuming everyone is giving 100%, it is time to take a look at how you are performing mentally in the heat of the battle. With the physicality of the game at an all time high, it is very difficult to be conscious of your emotions, body language, and even the way you come across when you communicate, especially if your endurance and conditioning are not at an extremely high level.

The answer? Forget about it! Move on! It is time to stop being reactive and start being proactive. In order to be successful in this game, or really in life, you must keep moving forward in a positive direction. If you dwell on a mistake or if you continually think about the negative’s in the past, you will not be in the right mindset to do your present job. Experienced coaches and mentally tough players will swear by it. You must continue to “play in the present”. If you pick up a silly foul, huddle up with your team during the whistle, regroup, and stay focused. You have a job to do. It is not going to be easy. If winning was easy, everybody would be doing it. There will be obstacles, but if you remain focused and perform “In the present”, you will be able to change the outcome. 

Many times the situation in a game will take a bad turn. How do you respond? Instead of reacting negatively, the best players and coaches know how to be comfortable being uncomfortable. This is a concept that many coaches hammer home at the earliest opportunity. They do this by making practices extremely difficult and see how the players will respond under harsh conditions, knowing if they can keep a cool head when everything is going against them, they will be prepared and able to forget about any negative circumstances. The truth is everyone has to perform their job at high level despite the circumstances. This is true in basketball. This is true in life. 

If there was ever an athlete in the game who truly took on this mindset and made it a point not to let the past determine the future, many would immediately jump to the conclusion of Michael Jordan. Yes, “His Airness” has certainly mastered the psychology of mentally being above his opponents. Indeed, Michael was so in sync with his thought process, he had an edge over the entire league. These principles were instilled in him from a very young age by his parents, James and Deloris Jordan. He then burst on to the national scene in Chapel Hill as a freshman at the University of North Carolina, where he would establish himself as an elite all-around player by hitting the game-winning shot against Georgetown in the national championship game in 1981. He would go on to hit many buzzer-beating game-winning shots in his hall-of-fame career in the NBA. One of his career defining moments, according to Jordan, was when he hit “The Shot” over Craig Ehlo of the Cleveland Cavaliers to knock them off in the 1989 playoffs. Do not forget “The flu game”. In the 1997 NBA Finals, for whatever reason, Michael was bed ridden in Utah before the game. Of course number 23 would not be denied, as he played with flu like symptoms, even vomiting before the game and at halftime. During timeouts Michael could not even make it to Chicago’s bench without the assistance of his teammate, Scottie Pippen. Despite being visibly exhausted and dehydrated right from the tipoff, he not only managed to score 39 points, but he led his team to a much needed victory in a decisive finals game against the Utah Jazz. Then, a year later, there was the infamous last shot in a Chicago Bulls’ uniform, as he stripped Karl Malone, the-go to-man of the Utah Jazz. With 17 seconds left in the game, Michael calmly dribbled up the court in front of 27,000 screaming fans at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City. He was closely guarded by Utah’s Brian Russell. With the clock ticking down, Jordan drove right, crossed over, and shook off Russell. He then elevated for the the 17-footer, and held his picture perfect follow through. As Russell struggled to regain his balance, he stood up just in time to helplessly see the ball fall through the net, clenching the Bulls’ 6th championship title in the last 8 years. Jordan would then retire as a member of the Chicago Bulls as the greatest player to ever play the game. 

How was he able to maintain a superior psychological edge on anyone that tried to stop him? After he gained the physical stamina and endurance, as well as, the strength to withstand an 82 game regular season, plus an even more grueling post-season run, he simply outsmarted his opponents. He knew what he could do because he had done it time and time again in practice and in games. Knowing this, he approached each game with the intent to beat down his opponents, both physically and mentally. Some would even try to beat Michael at his own game by trying to “get inside his head” or get him flustered so he would miss shots, make ill-advised passes, or let his emotions get the best of him. They would do this by “trash talking”, insulting him, or even physically beating him to the ground leaving Jordan bloody and injured. But Mike wanted it more than anyone. His drive to win was unparalleled. As the old saying goes, “To get what you’ve never gotten, you’ve got to do what you’ve never done.” With failure as Jordan’s motivation throughout his entire life, he was far too familiar with this concept.

With this in mind, should a coach make a poor decision in the first half or pick up a technical foul at a crucial point in the game, he or she can regroup and stay focused on the task at hand, allowing his or her team to feed off of their positive energy, and finish the game. Even for an official, should he or she make a costly error, an experienced referee can shake it off and still earn the respect of both teams. This certainly holds true for players that want to know how to gain an advantage on their competition. Even the most consistent best shooters have off nights. They may not be getting any calls going their way, they might have missed their last 17 shots in a row, and they might be on the road. But with 1.2 seconds left, double teamed, and no timeouts, they want the ball in their hands. Because they are not thinking about the last shot. The only shot they are thinking about is the next one. This is what coaches and trainers call “shooter’s memory”. 

Basketball is a Lifestyle. 

It is meant to be lived in the present. 

Do NOT Train Hard

Funday Monday. Time to Train Smarter. 

Everybody who has ever played basketball competitively knows you must give 100% in training and practice to give yourself a chance at being successful on the court. You do not have to look far to find instruction on ways to improve your skill level, regardless if these methods are from a reliable source. With today’s internet (including Google, YouTube, Facebook, and many basketball websites), most credible sources will have some philosophy behind their training that implies you absolutely must give your all. But for many players, coaches, and trainers, this means a wide variety of different things. Far too often we find inexperienced men and women in these positions trying to educate and train small children. But now even certain college level coaches, and trainers looking to make money, claim to have knowledge of what it takes to train an athlete for a very physically demanding game. 

In the old days players just ran wind-sprints (in the form of down and backs or suicides) to stay in shape. The game was certainly not a year-round sport, as many young athletes were strongly encouraged to play multiple sports throughout the year in order to stay out of the house. It was uncommon to see players lift weights on a daily basis. Watching film was not in a comfortable, air conditioned room, with an HD projector. Programs did not have fancy equipment that helped develop, or fine tune a player’s skill set. Certainly strength and conducting coaches were not in high demand, and the ones that did have the opportunity to work with athletes were extremely less informed than the trainers we find working with today’s top universities and professional athletes. It seemed there was only one recipe for basketball success. You had to have the tallest, fastest, and strongest athletes, that could run, jump, shoot, and play defense. At the same time, they all had to be coachable, play well together, and of course, have a quality, driven, no-nonsense coach. 

With the growing popularity of the game directly proportionate to knowledge in the Information Age, more and more young people around the world dream of becoming the next big thing in basketball. With schools awarding degrees in subjects growing in popularity like kinesiology, sports science, body composition, and even sports psychology, not only can you buy a great strength and conditioning coach or trainer for a professional, collegiate, high school team, or even an individual trainer for a son or daughter, but now these highly motivated young athletes can find all of this information on their own if they know where to look on the internet. 

Players without this information are far too often seen on Facebook, or other social media sites posting about how many long hours they “practice” in a gymnasium with one basketball, taking a couple dribbles, and giving their best attempt at throwing the ball at the basket. They do not practice form shooting, shooting off the dribble, making a move before the shot, or worst of all, doing all these things at game speed. As these players get older and grow physically, they are the ones often deemed by their coaches (should the make any team on a respectable level) as lazy or uncoachable. They think they have already put in the work to be considered to be the best in their class. To back up their theory, they have their parents, friends, and girlfriends that are more than happy to give their input to the coach to explain why he or she deserves more playing time. If you do not believe them, they have “proof” by showing video shot from a phone of some friends playing 3 on 3 at the local outdoor park. 

Then there are all the athletes that do everything all day and all night. They do not shoot, but make 1,500 shots everyday, spending long hours in the gym. They lift heavy weights in the weight room 5 times a week, all while buying expensive sports supplements that guarantee immediate results. They fork over large amounts of money to have the slightest edge, by purchasing the latest and greatest Kobe, LeBron, or KD pairs of shoes. They try to have good attitude and advertise they are coachable. They know having a savvy basketball IQ will cover up any weaknesses in there game so they watch Sports Center’s Top 10 plays every night thinking they will automatically have an uncanny knowledge and wisdom about being a superstar in their league, when in reality they are considered a role player at best. 

Sure the top 1 percent can achieve some level of success “working hard” without knowledge and structure, and of course, there are no shortcuts to being a successful player (much like any position or job in life). But as basketball continues to grow, and information becomes more easily accessible, could we be missing something? If so, what could we do? For years mankind has been working hard at their jobs. But they have also been trying to find ways to “unlock” new means of learning “tricks of the trade” in order to become the best at highly specific jobs that did not exist in generations past (Yes, including basketball). Positions like Point Forward, that Lebron James revolutionized, a pure shooting big man in Dirk Nowitski, that only the Europeans could produce, or the scoring point guard, whose job is not only to orchestrate a fine tuned offense, but generate “instant offense” at the end of the shot clock, as we see in Russell Westbrook.

The answer is simple, and you have all heard it before.

Work Smarter, not harder.

No, this does NOT mean giving any less effort. In fact, you need to go all that much harder, because you will not be wasting time with “counterintuitive training”. This is an important concept athletes need to be aware of and stay away from. This type of progression will give you the impression you have accomplished what goals you set out for by giving the illusion of positive results, making you feel sore after weight lifting, or increasing your percentages of stand still shooting. But make no mistake. These are not the results you are looking for. In fact, if you are lifting to become more explosive, and you are performing slow lackadaisical movements, you are really hurting yourself. Although you might be getting stronger, you will not develop into the type of athlete that resembles Russell Westbrook or Lebron James. You will actually be slower and more prone to injury because you did not develop the type of fast twitch muscle fibers in the specific area you seek to improve in. For example, if you are working on your verticle leap, add weight, and lessen your time and reps. Concentrate on each repetition, as you explode up with each jump. This is much different than jumping rope for 30 minutes at once, as jumping rope simply teaches your muscles to jump 4 inches off the ground thousands and thousands of times. Or when you are practicing shooting, always shoot at game speed, perhaps add a defender to shoot over after you have shaken free of (another) very aggressive defender before you receive the ball (even allow this defender to grab, hold, and push you to keep you from getting open). Then when you have mastered sinking shots in harsh conditions at game speed, you will notice a boost in your confidence and become a lethal shooter much faster. 

Please do not let the title mislead you, rather, allow it to enlighten you on the subject of working smarter. These are only a few examples from a few aspects of training, but if you apply the concept of smarter workouts, you will achieve optimal results that allow you to accomplish your exact goals. Not only that, you will be training with a purpose, so there will not be any time wasted on motions, drills, lifts, or helplessly trying understand the game. 

Many times, elite athletes who are aware of this principle will apply it to things as detailed as watching film on themselves. A way to maximize critiquing game film is watching with at least 1 partner. This allows not only you to see what went wrong and what can be done better, but with a teammate or two, a group can easily provide multiple points of view. This creates opportunity for much greater improvement, as well as time management, and you can return the favor to your teammates all at the same time (and still have more time on your hands than if you tried sitting in front of the screen by yourself not knowing what went wrong). There are countless ways to maximize your productivity. For example, a group of teammates might be analyzing game film, while drinking a protein shake after weight lifting, and icing their ankles or knees recovering from their workout without even thinking about it. 

Basketball is a Lifestyle. It is time you give yourself the tools and knowledge to train with a purpose. 

Train smarter, not harder.

A BIG Man’s Debate 

WHO WAS THE GREATEST CENTER OF ALL-TIME? 

Of course Kareem had the points, Russell had the rings, Wilt could do it all, Shaq was physically superior, Mikan was the first to do it, the Dream had the moves, the Admiral and Patrick won gold in Barcelona, Mutombo made the “finger wag” famous, Yao was the one and only beast from the East, and of course Walton had the hair. 

But what defines greatness? Could it possibly extend off the court?

Russell and Jabbar were civil rights activists, Wilt had sex with literally 20,000 women (which many would consider to be quite the feat), Shaquille could make a commercial out of anything, Hakeem and Dikembe brought Africa to the League, George Mikan taught us about history, Ewing reminded us where Madison Square Garden is, Robinson made the NBA start testing for performance enhancing drugs, (merely because of his biceps), Yao Ming was the biggest thing on YouTube (7’5″), and Bill Walton made the phrase, “Throw it down big man. Throw it down!” famous. 

So throughout the years, regardless of the era, who is your number 1 pick to hold down the paint? Who would you choose to anchor your defense? If you needed a BIG bucket, who would you go to? Was there a special giant you would select to have as a leader in the locker room? 

Let us know your choice and why. 

And do not worry. Even if you like Dwight Howard, chances are, you will not be blacklisted. We want to hear every reason (fact or opinion) your big man is the one. 

Technical Foul!

If you have ever received a “T”, or witnessed a player or coach penalized with this violation and thought it was unwarranted, chances are, you have never been a certified (solid) basketball official. Many players, coaches, and especially fans are unaware of the truth behind the technical foul. Basketball is a highly emotional game, as it should be, and many times these emotions run negative. However, basketball is a sport that, to the surprise of many, has a strong sense of etiquette. It is not the WWF, where you can lash out at an official, cheap shot or taunt your opponent, or beat a spectator bloody. Furthermore, as a fan in attendance at a game, you are not allowed to say whatever you please to opposing players and coaches, or make things personal with an official. Whatever your role in basketball competition, should you decide to cross the line (whether you are aware of the rules or not), you may easily be penalized, and rightfully so. Basketball is a lot like life. If you have experience, chances are, you have witnessed quite a bit of random crazy behavior by just about everyone. That is human nature. Men and women are instinctively reactive. That is normal. When a player, coach or fan breaks the basketball code of conduct (regardless if they are even aware of these rules), it is time for the officials to step in and make the controversial call known as the technical foul.
But the truth is the “T” is no different from any other call in the game, such as traveling or 3 seconds in the lane. Many view it as punishment, as if the person committing the violation was in trouble. Of course there is a limit to which these infractions can occur before one is disqualified, but that is no different than the common personal foul. So many times the “Tech” is associated with wrongdoing, often because tempers flare, and emotions are at an extreme, but that is basketball. It is part of the game.
As a matter of fact, many coaches and even players will cross that line on purpose. There are a number of reasons many great minds in the game agree with this line of thinking, such as getting their team fired up and refocused after a run of sub-par effort, or possibly they feel the officials need to do better, which could be laziness by a certain referee by perhaps not getting in correct position to make a call, or demanding the officiating crew pay more attention to the details that ultimately determine the game’s outcome. Perhaps even if it is a very experienced player or coach that carries a high status in the league with a psychological edge on referees, knowing they have a valid point to be made, they will test the officials, knowing should they get popped with the “T”, the officials will not want to issue a possible second technical foul later in the contest (which would result in an automatic disqualification). Of course, when an experienced player or coach chooses this action, they usually know how to keep themselves in the proper respectful mindset the rest of the game. It is not recommended anyone who is not at least at a big-time level of college basketball think they have achieved this status. Should someone that has not earned the respect of their peers at a high level of the game try to manipulate an official, they will only be exposing the fact they are not in the elite class of basketball’s legends. They will not just receive 1 technical, but be very prone to being ejected from the game, because they will not be on the officials’ good side. It is usually this type of person that tries to control an official that can often not even control themselves.
Whether it be a 2 man crew or 3 man crew, every official (even in the same game) is different. He or she has their own reasons for drawing the line that the participants in the game are not allowed to cross. This is a judgement call. It is no different than views on why a particular play was a block or a charge. Some referees have a quick trigger. Others are slow to penalize someone who crosses the line.
Many of you by now have made the careful observation, basketball’s officials are much the same as an everyday police officer. There are experienced rule enforcers, and there are some that have not reached where they need to be. Regardless of their imperfections, it is not citizens job to tell law enforcement officers how to do their job, despite how you evaluate their performance. The men and women that hold us accountable in society are not perfect, nor will they ever be. The officials that are put in charge of our basketball games are no different! It is no surprise there has never been a perfectly called game on any level, anywhere in the world, at any time in the history of the game. But basketball officials are respectful enough not to come to players’, coaches’ and spectators’ jobs and harshly critique them, and degrade them if they disagree with how they perform.
On the opposite side, many other great coaches (and a few players) think differently in terms of psychology when it comes to communication with the officials. A select group of coaches will tell an official they are doing a great job. Coaches have even gone as far as telling the officials they made a good call when they do not agree with the ruling at all, as the call goes against them! Just imagine, the game is getting intense, and there is a big block/charge call, the crowd is going crazy, and as the official reports the foul to the scores table, the discouraged coach stays calm and lets the referees know he still has respect for them, as he makes sure the official hears him say, “Good call”. This positive attitude keeps the coach and his players on the officials’ good side. Many believe this will even influence the game in their favor, not necessarily directly on the next call (or throughout the game), but psychologically it suggests the officials will be more inclined to give the respectful coach the benefit of the doubt on a very tough 50/50 call (even without thinking about it).
Many officials (when a judgment call is needed) will err on the side of caution to keep the game under control by giving a technical foul early in the game. This sets the tone (for both teams) the entire game suggesting the officials will not put up with foul play or disrespect. If they can maintain their professionalism, this usually sets a good tone for the game, while still allowing physical play where it is considered good sportsmanship, and positive communication from coaches to officials and back, as well as, players to officials and back. At the same time, when officials start handing out “T’s” left and right because players and coaches become dissatisfied, the game tends to have no flow to it, because some officials feel the need to control the game. This quickly results in things going from bad to worse with fans getting out of control, and even participants potentially getting ejected.

The best thing a player or coach can do if he or she is popped with a “T” is to make the necessary adjustments so it does not happen again. The best players and coaches know how to adjust to the way common fouls are being called. This allows them to maintain smooth flow in the game without a whistle being blown every 5 seconds, or worse, no fouls being called at all, and the game turning into a rugby style blood sport that ends poorly for both teams. Likewise if players and coaches are mentally tough enough, they can remain calm, stay focused, and have a positive impact on the game.
Officials will make mistakes. That is inevitable. They even sometimes (for whatever reason) hit someone with a technical that did not deserve one, when even that official will later admit was unwarranted. Regardless you must maintain your composure. Calmly express your concerns with the referee, politely ask the necessary questions, make the proper adjustments, and move on.

You must ALWAYS remember, the technical foul is nothing personal! However, if a player, coach, or even a fan, makes things personal with an official, they will be penalized.
Players are not perfect.

Coaches are not perfect.

Officials are not perfect.

Basketball is a Lifestyle.

We can all improve from our mistakes.

Continue to learn, continue to improve, and continue to grow.