• Ian Stacker

Effort Requires No Skill

It was at the end of a rather lethargic practise session with the Melbourne Tigers NBL team when Warrick Giddey, the other assistant coach, expressed those words – “Effort requires no skill”! Despite the age of the professional players, you could see by the look on their faces that some of them had to think the statement though.

Now that I coach predominantly high school players I see again and again that the statement rings true to players of all ages, not just players as you could apply the words to pretty much any job or role in life. You can either decide to give something your best shot and best effort or you can go through the motions.

My experience of coaching full time with high school kids now is entering its fourth year so I have had some of the players at Templestowe College now for three years and it’s been interesting to note the development of some of the players and the lack of development in others.

Michele Timms, official FIBA basketball legend, also joined our coaching staff this year and it has also been interesting to note her impressions of the TC basketball squad. The last team Michele coached was the Chinese National Women’s team, so there’s been a slight drop in talent in her world.

We were doing a shooting session the other day and we were both agonising over the lack of intensity some players were showing to the drill. My thoughts turned to who had improved the most over my time at the school. It was no surprise that the players who put the most effort into each drill were also the ones who had improved the most over their time at the school. They were also the fittest players of the group. So, what came first, their fitness or their commitment to giving effort to the drills? In my mind, there is no doubt their fitness is a result of the effort they put in, which then results in an improvement in skills, as they are always working at game speed. Effort increases both fitness and skills which then also increases confidence and so on.

I’m old enough to remember when Michele was just “Timmsie”, no Legend, no Hall of Fame this or that, no Olympics, no WNBA and so on. I would give her individuals from time to time as we both worked at Basketball Victoria and the amount of effort she put into each session was incredible. She would “empty the tank” each session giving as much effort to the first five minutes as she did to the last five minutes. It’s been no surprise to me to see her whole career turn out as it has.

I think what Wazza Giddey was implying with his words was that some players think the more talented players have an obligation to try harder than the less talented players. In fact, all players have an obligation to always give 100%, it only takes effort. Some are going to be better at scoring than others, some better at rebounding or defending. Warrick himself as a player also epitomised the reward for always giving 100%. He was part of a successful era with the Tigers and his main role was to pass the ball to Andrew Gaze for probably half of Andrew’s career points. Warrick took this role over from Nigel Purchase who also had the unheralded role of playing the Feeder Spot in the Tigers shuffle offense which is predominantly a passing role not a scoring role. Both would also give 100% effort to guarding some of the toughest opponents on the other team. I’m sure at training, when those guys had the chance to match up on some of the Tigers stars, they would make it as difficult as possible for them thus ensuring not only their own development and preparation but also the teams development and preparation.

These days Wazza works in game development for Melbourne United and I’m sure he still gives 100% effort to whatever it is he does each day.

So, young coaches and players, “Effort Requires No Skill” set the bar high for intensity and effort in your drills and work outs. Elite fitness will follow and elite skill development will also be a by-product. It’s the foundation of creating an environment where all will improve, in fact, effort will ensure improvement in skills.

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