What?! Okay, you are probably thinking that I have lost my mind with this title. But think about it, how small are the hinges in comparison to the doors they are attached to. Seriously, isn’t it wild that something so small as a hinge can swing something so big as a door. Thus the title, “Small Hinges Swing Big Doors,” but what does that have to do with basketball? In the game of basketball, it is the little things that count and a lot of little changes can make a big difference.
With my basketball team’s scrimmage schedule almost complete and the first game only four days away my team and coaching staff have been trying to focus on the little things that will make our team more efficient and ultimately more successful. Too often, teams and coaches get caught up in the big picture, the entire offense, the whole defense, winning and as a result end up not doing any one of those aspects of the game well. The little things are a necessity for the big things to work. So leading up to our first game, our goal will be to fine tune the little things.
What are the little things? It depends on you as a coach and what your team is trying to accomplish. However, for us, our “little things” focus this week will be on trying to fix the parts of the game that will make us a tougher team. “Tougher” is a difficult word to define especially in sports. Coaches are always making statements like, “We need to get tougher” or “We just did not play tough today,” but what is tough? Do tough teams have a bunch of MMA guys on the court imposing their will on the other team? Not likely. For me, toughness is defined by the little things that will make for big wins. This includes proper closeouts instead of fly byes, boxouts instead trying to out jump your opponent, ball reversals instead of running the offense to the same side over and over, good shot selection in general and especially at the end of quarters or games instead of shooting a bad shot too quickly and giving your opponent an easy look with less then 10 seconds to play, protecting the basketball as if your life depended on it instead of throwing the ball all over the gym, sliding your feet into good early help defensive position instead of flailing your arms at the offensive player as he drives by you to the basket, taking a charge, diving on a loose ball, helping your teammates up after they do both, the list could go on forever. Most all of these examples require a degree of physical toughness but ultimately require a multitude of mental toughness. They require you to focus on the here and now, the right things, the little things, that matter at that specific time. These aspects of the game may seem trivial, and definitely do not show up in box scores, but rest assured that you will never find a big time team that does not do them. A big time team knows that it is the little things that count, they know that small hinges swing big doors. That is why they are what they are…a success.