Clarence Gaines tweeted about a blog entry which featured this video about A.C. Milan’s Ronaldinho. Playmaking in soccer and basketball is similar. As I watch high school games this year, the two elements from this video missing on the court are patience and creativity.
Players appear to lack creativity because they are unskilled. At the high school level, I watch nationally-rated players who are very good in some aspects, but rather unskilled in other ways. Without a high technical skill level, players lack the confidence to be creative with their ball handling, passing and finishing (like Ronaldinho’s back heel pass at 1:45).
These players also seem to be mentally uncreative. I see a lack of anticipation. Players do not visualize the next play or see cues that allow them to show patience. For instance, in the video, Ronaldinho holds the ball against two defenders and waits for a teammate to make a run and then delivers the pass to the player in stride (1:05). On the court, I see players making the pass to the player before he starts his cut or he pass is behind the cutter because the passer does not adequately account for the cutter’s speed.
Expert players exhibit this patience and creativity because they have the technical skill and the perceptual skills to read situations and anticipate the defense’s movement and their teammates, and these skills combine to create elite playmakers.