For Tab Baldwin, it’s all about the fundamentals

Last Saturday, as I mentioned in my earlier post, I got to try on the recently launched Nike Kyrie 3 — the latest shoe from Kyrie Irving’s signature line.

We know how explosive and creative Kyrie can be on the court. He’s breaking ankles here and there, trying to escape defenders with his unpredictable crossovers and insane handles. It’s all fun to watch and entertaining, but before you even think about emulating Kyrie’s moves you might want to lock down the basics first.

During our Kyrie 3 training session, Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin stressed the importance of knowing the basics and mastering the fundamentals.

“You can’t really play the game well unless you can play it fundamentally ,and that’s proven at every level,” Baldwin told me. “Good basketball players will always try to exploit players with weak fundamentals in some areas.”

The former Gilas coach said he has been preaching and convincing basketball athletes all his career that the first thing players shouldn’t do when they walk into a gym is pick up a ball and start shooting.

“There’s so many other things you have to master because actually when you’re playing the game you spend very little time with the ball in your hands. You spend a lot of your time playing defense, and moving and cutting and spacing,” he explained.


Once you master the fundamentals you have the potential to become a complete basketball player, which for Baldwin is “a guy that’s comfortable anywhere on the court, offensively and defensively.”

“If he catches the ball in traffic and around the basket, he has the ability to manuever through that whether it’s to power up for a shot or getting something clever up to the ring, or whether it’s just to get out of the traffic and be safe with the ball and make a pass out,” he explained.

“Same thing if you’ve got a guy 90 feet from the basket being pressed and he’s a big man, does he have to give the ball to a guard or can he bring the ball up the floor? By the same token, can you shoot it from the perimeter or are you a guy that a coach says, ‘We don’t want you shooting there, get close to the basket.’

“For me a guy that’s a complete player has a skill set that allows him to play anywhere on the floor under any circumstances but also can think the game.”

So kids, before you even try to copy all the moves you’ve seen Kyrie’s done on YouTube highlights, make sure you put in the time to practice the fundamentals and become an expert on the basics.


The Nike Kyrie 3 is available at Nike and Titan outlets for P6,295.

Read my review on the Kyrie 3 here:

One response to “For Tab Baldwin, it’s all about the fundamentals”

  1. […] a few basic drills and exercises that boosted our footwork. He stressed how important it is to master the fundamentals to become a well-rounded […]

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