I’m watching Team USA in a nail-biter of a game against Turkey in the FIBA World Cup this morning. USA just can’t seem to pull away, and with those mostly-young-player roster, I know the main reason why.
A lot of the physical stuff that we call “foul” in America, is a “nothing” everywhere else in the world.
I remember playing in Mexico early in my career, and how frustrated I was by the lack of foul calls I was getting.
Defenders nudged me when I went up for jumpshots.
My arms would get pushed on when I was going for layups.
When dribbling, the defense was always extra physical — just a little more body-bumpiing and reaching-in than I was used to being allowed.
The referees had no sympathy, either: it seemed the idea was that the American player, expected to be better than everyone else anyway, should be able to adjust and play through the rough stuff.
And don’t make the rookie mistake of mouthing off to officials: for one, they often didn’t understand English; and two, talking shit to them usually resulted in getting even fewer calls in your favor. Those refs were far from objective, and they took everything personally.
How did I learn to handle this?
Well, one thing was I had American friends who’d been in the pro game for longer than me. They explained to me how the game was called and what I should expect.
The key rules:
– Don’t say ANYTHING to the refs. Play as if they don’t exist.
– Forget about what you thought was a foul: it’s not anymore. Throw your weight around and play more bully-ball style — seek contact at every opportunity.
– Never expect to get a call or sympathy or anything of the sort. They expect you, the American, to be Superman. Don’t want to be Superman? Cool — they’ll send you back home and bring in someone who does. For real.
For the physical side of the game, I created Position of Power, a 10-week strength training program, that you can get here: http://HoopHandbook.com/Power.
For the Mental Game side, I created the Bulletproof Bundle, my 4 best books on mindset. You can get that here: http://WorkOnMyGame.com/BB.
Remember: You’re Just One Bold Move Away…