Video Helps Blur Athletic Advantages between Players

Oklahoma star Trae Young is a great ath­lete, and it’s his knowl­edge of the game and abil­i­ty to probe defens­es that make him one. Here’s how to get a sim­i­lar edge.

Video Helps Blur Athletic Advantages between Players

Oklahoma star Trae Young is a great ath­lete, and it’s his knowl­edge of the game and abil­i­ty to probe defens­es that make him one. Here’s how to get a sim­i­lar edge.

Trae Young was an absolute rev­e­la­tion dur­ing his one sea­son at Oklahoma. Though he was ranked as the No. 16 recruit in the 2017 class, no one expect­ed the Young to set the col­lege bas­ket­ball world on fire the way he has this sea­son. He led the nation in both scor­ing and assists and set the school mark for sea­son assists in only 16 games.

Off the court, lit­tle about Young is impos­ing. Listed at 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, he rarely has a size advan­tage over oppo­nents. He doesn’t have the go-go gad­get limbs of Giannis Antetokounmpo, the freak­ish ath­leti­cism of LeBron James or the blis­ter­ing speed of John Wall. Young is with­out a doubt a fan­tas­tic ath­lete, but his phys­i­cal gifts aren’t what set him apart from his peers.

Young is thriv­ing thanks to his quick release and savant-lev­el pass­ing, but those are skills he honed with metic­u­lous work between games. One of the tools Young uti­lizes is video. By watch­ing both him­self and oppos­ing defens­es, he’s able to iden­ti­fy moves and plays that worked and iden­ti­fy oppor­tu­ni­ties to attack oppos­ing defenses.

Always, every day, we’re up in the film room watch­ing film and fig­ur­ing out dif­fer­ent ways to get bet­ter, not only as a team, but indi­vid­u­al­ly as well,” Young said recent­ly on the On the Sidelines with Evan Daniels pod­cast. I watch a lot of film and tape on dif­fer­ent ways to play bas­ket­ball. I look at defens­es, how to get open, just the lit­tle things that can get you to the next lev­el. I think a lot of it is watch­ing film, and that’s some­thing coach (Lon) Kruger prides him­self in, just watch­ing film and find­ing ways to get bet­ter offen­sive­ly and defensively.”

Video helps blur the line between those blessed with elite ath­leti­cism and every­one else. A play­er who under­stands the game and sees how things are going to devel­op will always have a leg up on the phys­i­cal specimen.

The first part is sim­ply watch­ing great teams and play­ers to under­stand what upper-ech­e­lon bas­ket­ball looks like. Kobe Bryant read­i­ly admits he stole” many of his moves by watch­ing the video of NBA greats. The more ath­letes expose them­selves to the game at the high­est lev­el, the more they’ll absorb and take in.

Players must also watch video of them­selves, to check their form, how they move with and with­out the ball, and spot moves that worked pre­vi­ous­ly. Create playlists of dri­ves, 3-point­ers, defense, etc. to hone in on cer­tain aspects of your game.

Finally, check out oppo­nent videos. No defense is air­tight and if ath­letes can find holes in the game plan, they can be exploited.

Simply watch­ing video won’t turn any play­er into a scorch­ing shoot­er like Young, but it can nul­li­fy the gap between an aver­age ath­lete and an elite one.