Why was Larry Bird the quickest slow guy in the game?

larry bird basketball


Some coaches are blessed with athletic players. Some not so much. Either way, all players possess the ability to improve their quickness immediately…by seeing.

You can have the most athletic player on the court, but if he/she doesn’t see the ball or floor = slow to react. Yet, you can also have the least athletic player on the court, but if he/she sees the ball or floor = quick to anticipate, read and react to any situation. Simply by seeing.

Depth of Field

“How you see” is critical to the decision-making process. The quickest players are focused on the background, the slowest on the foreground.

Offensively, you want your players to look past the primary defender to allow them to anticipate play development. If they’re focused on what’s directly in front of them, they are slower to make a decision and miss passing and attack opportunities. Players focused on the foreground are likely thinking shot only. While we teach kids to always catch “shot ready”, it doesn’t always mean shoot. It means being ready for that option. But catching shot ready also means catching in a “quadruple threat”…the threat to shoot, pass, dribble or fake.


YES (Background) NO (Foreground)

Defensively, you want your players to always see ball and man simultaneously. This means proper court movement on the flight of each pass or dribble attack. A player who loses sight of one or the other will be slower to anticipate the passing lanes, slower to show help, slower to locate for rebounds, etc.

“Vision Equates to Quickness”

Quote from legendary UW-Stevens Point coach, Jack Bennett.