Rep and perfect the fundamentals:
“The great players never get bored with the fundamentals.” Although it might be a little cliché, it is 100% accurate. It seems like players in todays game would rather focus on mastering crazy dribble moves than perfecting their shooting form and their footwork. Being able to perform crazy moves might look cool, but not being able to complete the play and hit a pull-up jumper because your footwork is slow and incorrect isn’t so cool.
You don’t need all day - just 4% of it:
Players don’t need to be in the gym for 4 hours a day to become an elite player. In fact, I could argue if they are in the gym for 4 straight hours they are just wasting your time. There is no way they are going game speed for 240 straight minutes. Players need to have a plan every time they step into the gym. Without a strict plan, most players end up “shooting around” half the time they are in the gym. Once the plan was followed through, leave. Get in. Get better. Get out. “A scoreboard is in the gym 24/7 but never getting better.”
With that being said, if a player can’t find an hour each day to work on their game, basketball is not a passion for them - it’s a hobby. There is nothing I hate more than a player that tells me they didn’t have time to workout that day. My usual response is, “did you get on social media today?” “Did you watch T.V. today?” “How many hours of sleep did you get?” I understand players are busy, but there comes a point in time when they have to make a choice if they are serious about this game or not. In high school, the football coach opened the gym so the football players could lift at 5 A.M., guess who was there using the gym at that time? No one said it would be easy, but an hour a day (4 % of your 24 hours) will be worth it.
This isn’t a circus - don’t train like it:
Keep it game-like if you want it to translate to real games. It is really that simple. My good friend Greg White had a great tweet the other day. He basically said, “why can so many players dribble 2 balls so well, but yet there is a shortage on great PG out there?” I think he nailed it right on the head. There’s a big difference between being able to look good in a workout and being able to dominate in a game. Keep it simple and work on game like actions, drills, and concepts.
How to keep workouts game-like:
- Shots from spots you will shoot from in games
- Go game speed (doesn’t always mean full speed)
- Work on moves you can duplicate in games and get separation with
- Keep moves simple and effective
-Have a counter if the defense doesn’t react
-Don’t “dance” go by your defender
- Work on different reads
- Passes from certain angles
-Passes out of the post
- Film studies
-Why “X” player was successful
-Why “Y” player wasn’t on the same move
Attention to detail is huge
Challenge players mentally:
If players are going game speed in a workout, they will get their conditioning in, but players must also be challenged mentally during workouts as well. An example of challenging players mentally is this: Teach a player multiple ball screen reads. Once they have them down, start to yell out either “1” or “2” as they come off the screen simulating a certain coverage. This makes the player have to think about what read or move they need to make rather than just repping it without thinking about what coverage the defense is in.
Bad reps can ruin good reps:
“Push past fatigue!” or something close to that nature, is a phrase that is commonly yelled during workouts and practices. Although I agree that pushing past fatigue and finding your second wind during workouts is necessary, you must also know when to stop, get a drink, and regroup. The problem with “pushing past fatigue” during workouts is players start to compromise on their focus and create bad reps. Bad reps can create bad habits. Players usually began to feel fatigue towards the end of workouts. This means players have a pretty high chance of ending workouts creating incorrect muscle memory and bad habits, just so they can prove they can push past being tired. Work hard, but work smart.
This is the first official Hoop Dreams newsletter. I would love to hear your questions, comment, or concerns. You can email me email@example.com or send me a tweet @Hoopdreamscamps.