First of all, you’ve probably noticed, but there’s a pretty dope video of John Wall at the top of this page talking about his new kicks and breaking out as a player. To add to that, ESPN released the No. 40-ranked player on their ESPN Rank Project this morning, and it turned out to be Mr. Dougie. After that, bloggers and analysts took over Twitter to talk about whether Wall should already be ranked that high after just one season. Wall is literally everywhere today, and there’s a chance he is playing ball without a ball right now.
Thomas Shepherd happens to be one of the main characters from one of the best basketball movies ever, Above The Rim. He also made the Elite 8 of our Ultimate Movie Baller Tournament this summer. But it wasn’t his talent that made us love him. It was because he routinely practiced without a ball.
Wall must’ve watched Above The Rim a lot as a kid because he does that too, and it seems to work for him. Our fam over at ESPN.com, Jason Jordan, found this out recently when he asked Wall about his unorthodox training methods.
The Rundown: “I know it sounds a little crazy, but I’ll just be walking down the street and, out of nowhere, I’ll hit someone with an in-and-out move without having a ball. I scare them because they don’t know what in the world I’m doing, but I think this game through so much that it just comes out anywhere.
I only work on the moves that I would do in a game though. I had one man tell me that I better not do that again because he got scared when I did a quick crossover in front of him when I was walking down the street. It ends up being pretty funny.”
The Benefit: “Basketball is so mental and with me being a point guard it’s all about reaction. How are you going to react to any given situation? So I might be walking and see someone in front of me and do a crossover motion or I might spin.
Again, I know it sounds crazy, but it really helps you because it just becomes second nature. I play off my instincts so when you’re constantly working on your handles and your moves it becomes even easier in the game.”
You’re probably muttering to yourself right now about how weird this is. But is it? I couldn’t have been the only kid who used to pretend – mid-conversation – I was throwing Steve Young darts all over the field. It was a habit.
[Related: The Top 10 Best Basketball Movies Ever]
I’ve always wondered if this stuff actually does help. Visualization is a powerful tool – I’m not even kidding about this – but could it really help your game? On some levels, who cares? It’s always fun to pretend you’re breaking people off as you walk down the street.
How often do you find yourself doing this?
Follow Sean on Twitter at @SEANesweeney.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.