We do NOT share your
Email Address with ANYONE!
View our sample newsletter
Enter your email to get our free basketball training Ebook on how to shoot lights out!
Great shooting guards aren’t ball stoppers and score within their teams’ system. They let the game come to them but also know when it’s time to take over. Great shooting guards remember the makes and forget the misses. They ‘play present” and always have confidence in their game and in their scoring ability. Great shooting […]
A few days ago we posted a simple yet effective jump rope routine that can help you start getting in better shape. Here’s a workout that skill development trainer Ganon Baker uses to help LeBron strengthen his core. It was originally printed in a Nike Skills Academy handout. Each set is done for 30 seconds […]
Few basketball related exercises are as simple or as effective as jumping rope. When used correctly, jumping rope can jump start your cardiovascular conditioning, strengthen your feet and ankles, and improve your foot speed, agility, and coordination. Here is a simple but very effective jump rope workout. Start with 30 seconds for each set and […]
Last Sunday Maya Moore was named tournament MVP for her role in leading the United States to the Gold Medal in the 2014 FIBA World Championship in Istanbul, Turkey. Her 16 points in the first half, including four three pointers, helped give the USA a 19 point lead at halftime and they never looked back while […]
High school tryouts and practices will be here before you know it. How are you getting ready? Are you working on your behind the back, between the leg, roll down your arm, figure eights or are you working on basic fundamental skills that will actually impress your coach and improve your game? Here’s some info […]
Recently on ESPN’s NFL Insiders, analyst Chris Mortensen told how Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells called Mike Zimmer on the morning Zimmer was appointed head coach of the Minnesota Vikings. The purpose of the call was to offer Coach Zimmer some very important words of wisdom. Parcells told his friend that something is going […]
1. Great bigs score the ball when they get paint touches and can find and hit open teammates when they are double teamed. 2. Great bigs run with purpose and get easy transition scores. They open up lanes and take away help defenders because they beat the ball down the floor. 3. Great bigs don’t […]
One of the best things about being a basketball player today is that there are so many other great players all around us. And I’m not just talking about the NBA either. There are great high school players, great junior college players, great four year college players, and great international players. This means that if […]
1. Never get sped up and are always under control physically and mentally. They play with emotion and don’t let emotion play with them. 2. Set the tone on defense. They pressure without fouling, harass the ball handler without getting beat, and disrupt their opponent’s rhythm. 3. Make good players great and average players good. They […]
Of all the unpleasant tasks that basketball coach's face, telling a player that he has been cut from the squad is perhaps the toughest. Many coaches have become pretty creative over the years while looking for a way to break the news as gently as possible while others still post a list on the locker room bulletin board and call it good.
I don't know which is the best way to break the news to a young man who has his heart set on making the team, but I do have four suggestions to make the whole process a little less painful.
1. Prepare players and parents beforehand
Before you start your tryout process have a "team" meeting where you can gather all the interested players and their parents and explain exactly what you are looking for in a potential team member. Make it clear to everyone that you are not necessarily collecting talent but are attempting to assemble as strong a team as possible.
National Champion Jerry Tarkanian wanted his Long Beach State, UNLV, and Fresno State rosters to include the 8 best players he could get and then 4 other guys who were just more than happy to work hard in practice and then cheer like crazy during games. As a result, he usually cut better players than he kept for the end of his bench.
If possible put whatever criteria you are using in a letter and have it signed by every player's parent. In this day and age of extremely involved parents you may find that when it comes to cutting players most of your resistance may come from parents and not the kids themselves.
2. Be available to discuss in person
Depending on the number of players you have to cut you may not be able to spend large amounts of time with each one. However, you should make yourself available for those who want to meet with you; especially for those borderline kids who really thought they were going to make the team. The players who were just "hoping" to make the team will take the news much better and may not need or want to meet with you in person.
When you meet with a player in person, not only can you deliver the news but you can also offer him some suggestions and advice as to which direction he should consider heading. However, when you meet with a player and/or his parents you should always have another coach or athletic director present as sometimes things are misunderstood or even ignored in the heat of the moment.
3. Be honest
The honest truth is that most players are cut from your team simply because they are not good enough. Very few players are cut because they are lacking only one specific skill. Their overall skills or playing abilities may be underdeveloped or you may be in the fortunate situation where you just have several better players at his position.
However, many coaches try to soften the blow by telling players something like, "You're not making the team because you don't shoot (pass, dribble, screen out, defend, etc.) well enough. If your shot was better we would have a spot for you." If that is absolutely true then great. But if not what happens when the below average player comes back after improving that one particular skill?
4. Put them to work
Just because a player isn't good enough to play doesn't mean he's not good enough to help the team in a different way. (Let's be honest, most of us wouldn't be coaching if we were good enough to play in the NBA!) Big time programs have and utilize as many as a dozen managers - why can't you do the same?
How much more productive could your team become if you could videotape every practice or keep individual stats on every player every day? Could you use extra passers and rebounders in your individual workouts? Who better to help with these things than a kid who loves the game but lacks the overall ability to actually get on the floor?
Telling someone he is not good enough to make the team is not fun or easy for anybody. However, by being mindful of the above suggestions you may be able to make the experience less painful and more productive for everyone involved.
I'm assuming you already have at least a little bit of talent and that you work hard. However, whether you are a role player looking to get more minutes, an established "star" looking to get to the next level, or just looking to impress the coach during tryouts, here are 9 things you can do to help accomplish your goal.
1. Play with Passion
Most basketball coaches love the game (that's why they coach!) and they want to be around players who love it too. Enthusiasm, attitude, and competitiveness are all contagious. Encourage everyone on the court - even those who are going after your spot. Do everything with the highest level of energy possible. Clap, whistle, and lead the team in high fives! Project your inner Magic Johnson and be the teammate that everyone wants to have around.
2. Play Smart
It's much easier to teach a player how to improve their ball handling and defense than it is to improve their basketball IQ. Focus on how all the drills and offenses are supposed to be executed and develop the reputation of being a "quick learner." Since practice time is limited, all coaches want players who pick things up quickly because it saves time and makes things easier for everybody.
3. Pay Attention
When the coach is talking look him or her right in the eye and listen like your career depends on it! Ask appropriate questions so he will know you are listening and truly want to understand what he is talking about and explaining. Don't be afraid to speak up if he asks a question and you know the answer.
4. Be the Beast of the Gym
When it comes to playing be tough, hardnosed, scrappy, and physical. Box out hard, set hard screens, fight over screens hard, defend hard, run hard and go after every loose ball and rebound like it's a sack of hundred dollar bills. So few players approach the game like this anymore so if you play like a beast you will surely stand out and be noticed.
5. Be the First in Line
When drills are being demonstrated and run most kids are going to try and slip to the back of the line hoping they won't be noticed. Not you because you want to be noticed! You race to the front of the line! That way coaches will notice you both as a player and as a leader and you'll get in more repetitions which means more chances to look good.
6. Be in Better Shape than Everyone Else
It's plain and simple - the better shape you're in the better you're going to look - especially at the end of practice or on the second or third day of tryouts when everyone else is exhausted. By coming to tryouts in shape, the coaches will know you are serious about making the team and didn't just decide to try out at the last minute.
7. Talk on Defense
Coaches go to bed every night dreaming of having players talk on defense. Why? Because so few actually do talk! "I got #14," "Help this side," "Bring him my way," "I've got the lob," and "make him go left," are just a few examples of things you can say that will help you get noticed. Not only that but it will also improve your defense and give you an opportunity to show off your basketball IQ - all great things when you are trying to make the team.
8. Be Early & Stay Late
Not on time - early. In fact try to be the very first one there. Then when practice is over don't be the first one to rush out of the gym. Grab a ball and head to a basket and get some more shots up while everyone else heads out the door. Chances are the coach will come over and spend a few extra minutes working with you. Even if he just yells "Ok time to go!" at least he will know you are trying to get in as much work as possible and that you love being in the gym.
9. Talk to the Coach
Be a person not just a number. Ask him how you did and what should you have done better. After the tryout is over make sure you thank him for the opportunity and that you're looking forward to working with him. Coaches like drawing up plays and running practices but coaching is still relationship driven. All coaches want players they can talk to and relate to yet many young people don't take advantage of that. Let's face it, if a coach knows you and likes you then chances are you are going to get a closer look than a complete stranger will get.
Picture this for a minute – your son (or daughter’s) college team is down by two points in the NCAA Championship game with time quickly winding down. The play the coach drew up during the last time out has broken down and things are looking desperate. As if on cue the ball ends up in your son's hands and after making one of the greatest moves in the history of the NCAA Tournament he drains a 3 pointer a mere nanosecond before the buzzer sounds.
Minutes later you and the rest of the basketball world are watching the replay as "One Shining Moment" plays in the background. Kind of cool to think about, isn't it? Now let's be honest - have you ever thought about that (or something similar) before?
Chances are that if you're like a lot of parents you've had that dream several times before - possibly even more times than your son or daughter has! Of course there is nothing wrong with that as long as it doesn't have a negative effect on how you raise your future MVP. Here are 6 suggestions that might help keep you on the right track:
1. It has to be his (her) dream
Being a great player can be his dream and not your dream. It can be his dream and your dream. It just can't be your dream only! If it is you might see some temporary "success" but in the long run you're setting up your child for disappointment and failure which could result in a lifetime of resentment.
2. Wag more, bark less
It's not uncommon for kids today to have a school coach, a club coach, a shooting coach, a skill development coach and a strength coach. The last thing they need is another coach at home telling them what to do and critiquing every mistake, flaw, and shortcoming. What your kid needs is a parent who is going to love him and encourage him and support him no matter what happens. It's also important to note that you can and should do these things without criticizing and/or undermining his real coaches.
3. Don't add to the pressure
Encourage and support is good. Added pressure is bad. When I watch club ball I see a lot of kids who are early developers and not necessarily future college prospects. Faster, quicker, stronger, and taller at 10 doesn't always mean faster, quicker, stronger, and taller at 18. Help him be all that he's capable of becoming but don't build him up to be something that he's not. Once you're up on a pedestal there's only one direction you can go and that is down!
4. Don't embarrass him
It seems like every team has that one parent who is loud, obnoxious, and overly critical of everything and everyone. Don't be that parent!
If you are that parent one of two things is going to happen. Either your child is going to become loud, obnoxious, and overly critical or he is going to get tired of his teammates and their parents making fun of you (and him) and quit playing. Neither option helps him in any way, shape, or form. He's only going to be a player for a few years but is going to be your son forever.
5. Reinforce life lessons
The best thing about being a basketball player is not what you get but what you become. Don't constantly praise your child for the skills he possesses; praise him for the work ethic, perseverance, sacrifice, and determination that it takes to be a player. Sometimes you can do all the right things and still not be considered super successful so teach him the importance of keeping his poise when things go wrong and how to bounce back from both individual and team defeats.
6. Make it fun
It's been estimated that approximately 3.3% of high school players make a college roster after they graduate. The number of high school players that eventually make it to the NBA is about .03%. That means the vast majority of those players (and their parents) who only play so they can get a college scholarship or make it to the NBA are going to be disappointed in the outcome. The journey has to be worthwhile; it has to be fun. Enjoy the experience and help your child do the same!
Thank you sooooooo much! I have given your site to my son and he has started implementing your tips in his daily practices and it has helped him so much. Thank you again and keep up the good work. - Karla R
HoopSkills has made me a better coach, teacher and trainer! My team has flipped its record from last year 4 - 8 to 9 - 3 and my point guard has doubled his output! I forward your site to any Middle School and AAU coaches in the metro Atlanta area that I meet. Thanks for all you do! - Coach Randy F
Hoopskills offers useful and quality information for me and my coaching staff. I use the website to assist me in organizing practice plans as well improving individual player development. The website covers every aspect of basketball at every level. Your weekly email is the only one that I don't delete. I save all the emails that I get from HoopSkills.com! - Coach Ryan
Basically, I want to say Thank You. I worship the emails I get from HoopSkills! You provide great detail and simple yet effective drills that I can do by myself. I really don't know why anyone that wants to be good at basketball wouldn't take a look at your website. Once again, THANK YOU! - Jacob M
I just recently started using hoop skills and I love it. It has helped me with my practices, and given me plenty of ideas and guidance to help improve my team and my coaching skills. Thanks. - Coach Keith
I am currently coaching 2 youth girls teams and assist for 3 other teams. Your site is a valuable asset I use to increase my knowledge and awareness. I have gained many insights in how to not only approach practice, but also address my players and keep their interest and excitement up. Thanks. - Mike F
I have just recently discovered HoopSkills and am thrilled with what I've found. The articles and dvd's are fantastic resources. HoopSkills will become a part of my quest to learn more about basketball in order to teach others. I only wish that I had discovered the site sooner. - Heather O