As Kyle Korver competes in his 14th season, his Atlanta Hawks are having a breakthrough season and Korver has cemented his reputation as one of the top shooters in NBA history. Last year we focused on Korver’s improved defense, but as I take a closer look at one of the quality men of faith playing hoops, it’s time to focus some attention on Korver’s prolific shooting. I discovered some wonderful articles and videos to share, but one small aspect of Korver’s shot provides a tremendous message for developing shooters and provides a familiar and simple Biblical concept we all can appreciate.
BASKETBALL – Find the rim!
Taking a look at Kyle Korver‘s profile and career on NBA.com, Korver has used a laser beam focus to develop what he told CBS Sports are his “God-given gifts, as far as muscle memory, hand-eye coordination and things like that.” Most of that has happened in relative obscurity, even as the preacher’s kid from Omaha posted the longest streak of games with a made 3-point shot at 127. His true depth of character has also gone unnoticed, but read through interviews that he did with FCA’s Sharing the Victory Magazine and Conscious Magazine, as well as his own words in an article Korver wrote about reaching 90 games in that streak on his website Seer Outfitters and you find that Kyle is a spiritually deep man who has had tremendous impact through the platform he has been given (see The Kyle Korver Foundation).
But, let’s get back back to the shooting. Beyond footwork and shot mechanics, one of the most overlooked aspects of shooting a basketball is vision. I tend to look at footwork as a shooter prepares to shoot and then to how well the shooter has squared up to the basket to checking the shooting motion of the release, but one of the things Korver does as well as anyone is to get his eyes focused on the rim. That has to happen quickly, especially when you’re dealing with defenders and rotating defenses. Korver finds the rim and locks on quickly and one way he works on that skill is with the Nutmeg Drill:
LIFE – Focus time!
What are you focused on in your life? Does the busyness of life distract you from your true purpose? You can do all you want to prepare and find the correct methods for whatever it is you are trying to achieve, but if you don’t set your eyes on the target, you’ll never get there. That’s why I love the image of a great shooter like Korver using the Nutmeg Drill to focus his sights on the rim. It reminds me that I need to do that each and every day. It may be a brief five minutes or a scheduled break on a specific day where I set aside an appointment for “focus time,” but those moments of finding my target, just like Korver’s drill, get me pointed in the right direction. As I deal with being busy and being over-scheduled, I’m more concerned about being productive. Too many of us confuse busyness with productivity, but focusing on specific targets can help each of us find more purpose in our lives.
FAITH – Focus on God
The parallels to life may seem simple and obvious, but I urge you to consider the importance of focus. Just as a shooter needs to find and focus quickly on the basket, Jesus teaches us to monitor our focus:
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
And if that simple suggestion doesn’t get through, maybe like me, you need to be reminded of Jesus’s story of the sower and soil. If you’re distracted and can’t get your focus on God, you can’t hear him. We’re like the soil that grows weeds:
“The seed that fell among the thorny weeds is like those who hear God’s teaching, but they let the worries, riches, and pleasures of this life keep them from growing and producing good fruit.” (Luke 8:14)
We can’t hear God and His plan for our lives when our minds are crowded with plans, activities, and worries. We can’t hear him when we’re focused on the Internet, our phones, and the television. We can’t bear fruit when the weeds choke our focus. That’s why we need spiritual drills like Korver’s Nutmeg drill. Practice finding God first. When you’re setting your schedule, find God. When you’re making plans and setting goals, find God. When you’re struggling in relationships with friends or family, find God. The quicker you do it, the more productive you’ll be!