Larry Bird – The Ultimate “Will”

What made Larry Bird great? It was certainly not his speed of foot or great jumping ability. Larry said he would not have done very well in the modern day “combine” in assessing professional basketball talent, so a key to the rookies is to understand and develop the Focus and Will level of their game.


The most unusual part of Larry’s game was his Technique. In shooting 3’s his elbow was higher than 90 degrees thus a high release point and a sling shot action in his stroke. While his stroke was unusual this high release point made his shot hard to block. When he used this technique with his fade away jump shot it was especially hard to block, which was important because of his lack of foot speed and jumping ability. Therefore Larry developed an anytime-anywhere type of shot. This shot, though unusual, was very efficient with efficient straight lines through the arch and into his wrist and fingers. This made the shot accurate an easy to shoot at various distances.


Larry had a “two-beat” position  type of rhythm on his shots. Larry used a catch and shoot position, lifted the ball into position for his shot then into his shooting style, thus position first and then shooting style as a definite “two-beat” rhythm to his stroke. Although this “two-beat” rhythm was naturally slow and deliberate, it was not critical because of his release point and his elevated Focus and Will parts of his game. Therefore, there was no need to rush around the court unnecessarily.


The rebounding was as much horizontal positioning as it was vertical jumping. The Squeeze of his legs was not as important in his shooting stroke because the energy flowed smoothly from his legs through his hips then his arms and into his wrist and fingers. It made his shot easy to shoot even at distances, and his shot was difficult to block, either on his 2’s or 3’s of jump shots.


Peripheral vision – that of knowing where everyone is on the court – requires knowing the players’ and teams’ historical style and quality and their strong and weak points, both defensively and offensively. Larry enacted his own strategy that was surprising to the opposition and oftentimes to his own team as well. This is what terms Focus on peripheral vision.


In an effort to perfect his game and exist where there was no opposition to his strategy, Larry Bird developed his Will – that of playing the game of basketball without there being any opposition to his strategy. At times Larry would tell the opposition what he was going to do, knowing his counter move was already going to work! Larry’s game was “playing in the Void,” left handed, eyes closed, bank shots, “I am here to perform, not to compete,” “I am a true Boston Celtic.”

The upper two levels of skill development, Focus and Will, were Larry Bird’s trademark, his legacy.



The article was obtained by TV special, promotions or commentary while the information has been given freely to the general public. has organized and embellished on this tip, specifically that which pertains to the rooky level professional players.

The context of this article relates to the article at entitled Skill Development Pyramid. It should be looked at as an application example.

Each article obtained through TV specials, promotions or commentary from the athlete is subject to revisions, elaborations or eliminations so as to be as accurate as possible.

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