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“In the Lab” with Nia Jackson

Posted in New Posts, News on September 17th, 2011 by Troy Miles

Nia Jackson

Nia Jackson is a former All-Pac 12 guard at the University of Oregon. Before her injury she was one of the most explosive players in the country.  I was able to spend three days (12 hours) with her in the “Lab” recently .  Nia has been working hard to rehab a knee injury suffered against the University of Washington last season.  Physically she is about 60 percent and is limited to what she is permitted to do on the court. The good news  is she was still able to add to her PTAG –Physical, Technical, Application (Intellectual)  and Grit (Emotional) development, because “Virtual” growth isn’t necessarily a physical process.


Let’s go….I’ll let you peek inside our journey.

Day 1

Film (2 hours).  Two+ hours of  game film breakdowns helped me to identify her defaults (skill sets  and nuances) and put together action steps to not only optimize and add to her skill sets, but also to help her be more efficient in her applications.

Q&A period (1 hour)

Day 2

Lab (3 hours)

Q&A period (1 hour)

Day 3

Lab (3 hours)

Q&A period (1 hour)

Key Point Analysis: 9/7

Here are some of the key points discussed during film breakdowns.

Defaults: established modes and nuances for play. You can create defaults for play as ifs they were Apps for your phone. Put these on the list for your “market”.

Flex on contact: gives you physical supremacy and greater stability on any impacts. It transfers the energy back into the opposition and provides leverage for you in the moment of exchange. It’s a key element of bodywork.

Absolute Speed (wide stance): Being on“Both sides of the line” simultaneously or in “virtual” terms: occupying lane 1 -3 at once. This creates tremendous speed just by virtue of your stance. Requires less physical effort—particularly with “push” and“control” foot awareness. Speed becomes a matter of exchanging the ball from lane to lane crisply.

Push (transition) awareness: Your technical push mechanics are sound. Be certain to look up the court and employ “Scope of vision” (Floor- to- rim) the absolute moment you touch the ball. Early awareness slows everything down and speeds up your processing dramatically. Floor -to-rim vision broadens your view of the surroundings, which includes early awareness of defensive intentions. Be sure to push the ball out in front initially to force a burst to catch up. Bursting to catch up creates immediate separation from the defender. The early space advantage then allows you to slow down which in turn makes processing play and decision making easier. Many times the most efficient route up the court includes bodywork,–which safeguards getting up the floor expediently w/o going breakneck speed.

Ballhandling = Footwork + Bodywork + Dribbling, in that order!

Intellectually, use mid-court as the first “Decision line” (after the big push). Be aggressive in exploring the greatest advantage for the team EVERY trip -which might include your shot or drive. Capitalizing on your opportunities not only helps define you as a player but also helps you include your teammates in a more effective manner.

Hover: The typical push is three dribbles up the floor. Once engaged the “hover “ dribble with range-of-motion (ROM) and proper “Scope”(floor to rim) will give you more time to process the action and ultimately make you more manipulative in your decision making. At the same time, ROM will keep the defender at bay and force her to respond to your movement of the ball going out into the lane — which becomes a threat. This will make navigating easier, remedy picking the ball up and cut down on Deferrals.

Deferrals are passes that don’t lead to an immediate production opportunity or create advantage for the receiver. Deferrals thrusts the receiver into the “point guard” or decision making role. You want the receiver to be able to knock down shots or be able to manipulate the defender more easily because of your effort. This mentality makes you more effective running set plays as well. It creates a ripple of advantage.

Anatomy of a Move/(ABC’s): Your leadership position- (A)allows you to initiate or be first . As the defender reacts or becomes (B) it allows you to see (C) what to do -as a response.

Key Point Analysis: 9/8 Pre-Video

Push (transition) awareness, “Scope of vision” 

False-Leg: False-leg is essentially extreme push-foot control, following an extreme threat to drive by (engage your shoulder). Hypothetically, a false-leg could be an inch or drawn out to the end of your extension to go by. As the defender retreats to catch up, stopping your push foot (on one side or the other, it depending on timing) will create separation-especially if you use proper extension or ROM (range-of-motion) in the intended direction. It’s also powerful to accelerate into stops. You’re anticipating a stop, but the defender has no clue, but they’ll have to match the energy of the burst forward, regardless of how short a distance. It’s amazing how far you can make people move with that.

Stopping on the inside foot (as the push foot) will create an outside false-leg (control foot on the outside), and vice-versa. Awareness of your push foot , leads to push foot control or having a sticky push foot. This will create a slight pause in your movement forward, which will give you more time to process so you can gauge whether you’re actually going to continue forward. An activated (established) push foot also gives you the ability (balance) to stop your control foot at whatever fraction of a step-if necessary, according to the defense. Hovers and false-legs are a potent tandem to keep your opponent off balance just like fastballs and chang-ups in baseball. Read more about this in chapter 6. (Handles in a Hurry)

Key Points Analysis: 9/9/11

Shooting: Finger pads vs. palm

Finger pads (tip of the finger to the first knuckle) or in virtual terms “the platform” provide the most control of the basketball. It removes the space (variance) the ball must travel from the palm up to the release. Therefore shooting from the palm creates a higher degree of difficulty in delivery than starting with the ball on the platform.

Backboard Mastery: Spot A,B,C … reverse (spin) Spot A,B,C –both sides

Ballhandling: Cage (Diamond) Dribbles Dribbling 360 degrees around your body via: front-cross (over) to diagonal-cross (front-to-back) to back-cross, to diagonal cross (back-to-front), back to front-cross. Outside of a behind the back wrap around dribble, cage dribble are the only dribbles necessary for changes lane changes while face-up on the opponent. It’s important to increase your exchange rate (of the ball)from lane to lane. Following through with your fingers raises your “snap index” (velocity) on the ball and makes changes crispier.

Remember: Foot (control foot), hand, ball drill All 3 arriving at the same time when moving the ball side to side on changes. Crossover key point…let the ball breathe out to full arm extension or (ROM). The sooner you touch the ball the less range you’ll have with your ROM –before carrying it or having to transfer it back. The less range you have, the less time you have to process, get a reaction from the defender or exploit advantages –without picking the ball up. Picking the ball up usually leads to a deferral and sketchier opportunity for the team that trip down the floor.


Head and shoulders out in front . A “punch” with your shoulders mentality generates earlier responses from defenders by speeding up your threats to go by, which allows you to manipulate more quickly. Engaging with the shoulder creates leverage against the defender on drive-bys. The more leverage you can create, the easier it is to fasle-leg or use line-drive maneuvers– ball tuck, lane-change on final approach to the basket. (chapter 10)

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