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Coach Bill Belichick on Mental Toughness

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6 C’s of Mentally Tough Players

 1. Mentally tough players look at competition as a challenge to rise up to rather than a threat to back down from. 2. Mentally tough players are confidant. They have a “can do” attitude and a belief they can handle whatever comes their way. 3. Mentally tough players are in control of their thoughts and behaviors. […]

The post 6 C’s of Mentally Tough Players appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.

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Quitting is NOT Acceptable!

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Herb Brown’s Keys to Victory

Longtime NBA coach Herb Brown was recently named as an assistant coach at the University of Portland. Years ago Coach Brown wrote a book called “Preparing for Special Situations” that is sure to give coaches at all levels lots to think about. Near the beginning of the book he gives the reader several keys to […]

The post Herb Brown’s Keys to Victory appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.

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4 Reasons to Run the Pick and Roll

The pick and roll is one of the oldest and most popular plays in the history of basketball and teams that master the skills involved in the pick and roll can become virtually unstoppable. (For an example, go back and watch some video of last season’s San Antonio Spurs.) However, there is obviously a huge difference […]

The post 4 Reasons to Run the Pick and Roll appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.

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Why So Many Athletes Fail

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What Offense Are You Going to Run This Season?

Coaches: Is the offense you are going to use with your team this upcoming season for your players or is it really for you? Are the shots produced by the offense good shots for your current players or are they good shots for you? For example, are you running a perimeter oriented offense because you’re […]

The post What Offense Are You Going to Run This Season? appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.

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Nick Saban on the Importance of Being on Time

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6 Qualities of Great Shooting Guards

 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 […]

The post 6 Qualities of Great Shooting Guards appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.

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Here’s a Great Goal for This Upcoming Season!

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Latest Articles

Passing into the Post

I have been fortunate enough to coach several great post players over the course of my career and each one has been a little bit different in terms of size, strength, body type, mobility, etc. However, they have all had one thing in common - they have all been frustrated beyond belief when they are wide open in the post and the guard or wing can't get them the ball! Then, because some guards can't pass the ball inside consistently without getting it deflected or stolen, they won't even bother to look inside, which effectively takes away one whole facet of our offense.

We can't go inside - outside, can't get the opposing post player in foul trouble, and our own post players wonder out loud why I even bother making them spend so much time working on scoring moves around the basket. Now before you decide this article isn't for you, please consider this - passing, especially passing into the post, is one of the most under taught and under learned skills in the game. Mastering this skill could give you a huge advantage over the other players who are competing to play your position. Lots of players can shoot, and even more can handle the ball, but how many can really pass?

Here are 5 concepts that we try to teach all of our players, but especially those on the perimeter:

1. Know your post player

Not all post players are created and a thorough knowledge of how yours operates can help make you a better passer. Does he have good hands? Can the pass be outside of his body or does it need to hit him squarely on the numbers? Does he normally get into scoring position quickly or does it take him a couple seconds longer before he's ready. (It drives me crazy to see a wing reverse the ball to the top a split second before the post player gets open.)

2. Be strong with the ball

Be a passer not a "protector." If you allow a defender to force you back on your heels then it will be nearly impossible to pass the ball into the post. Catch the ball, square up in triple threat position, and rip the ball through from one side to the other, preferably at knee level or below. Rip it through so hard that the defender runs the risk of breaking his hand if he reaches in and tries to steal the ball.

3. Follow your internal clock

Legally you have almost 10 full seconds to make the pass if you happen to need that much time. Hold the ball for four seconds, take one dribble, and then take up to nearly five more seconds if necessary. That's a lot of time so there is no need to panic and make a rushed pass that you're not completely sure is open.

4. Fake down and then pass the ball right by the defender's ear

Once you have ripped the ball through, slowly, fake a bounce pass and patiently wait for the defender to react. If the defender puts his hand down to stop the faked pass then bring the ball up quickly and throw the ball right by his ear. In all my years of coaching I have never seen a defender move his head over to block the pass with his face! (The key here is to make the fake slowly in order to get the defender's hand down.) If the defender doesn't go for the fake and keeps his hands up then throw the bounce pass.

5. Be an offensive threat

It's much more difficult to pass into the post if your defender is dropped off of you instead of playing up tight. If you are a legitimate threat to shoot the ball (the deeper the range the better) your defender will have no choice but to get up into you. It's not a coincidence that some of the game's best shooters are also extremely effective passers.

Please add to the conversation:

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The Secret to Consistent Shooting

The secret to shooting consistently is simply consistent shooting! (You didn't really think there was a "secret" did you?) Actually, that's not entirely true. I should say the secret to consistently shooting WELL is consistent shooting. If you want to shoot consistently BAD then there isn't really anything you need to do! I hear players complain all the time about how they just can't put the ball in the basket, that their release doesn't feel right, how they have absolutely no control of the ball and how their shot is completely broke. So what do many of them do? They go to the gym and shoot 1000 shots - and then don't work on their shot for another week for two.

That's like someone complaining that they are overweight so they cut out all fast food and sugar out of their diet for a day. Then a couple weeks later they look in the mirror and realize they are still overweight so they "diet" for another day. Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? To shoot the ball consistently well you have to develop the proper mechanics and muscle memory and the best way to do that is to shoot every day! Not just once a week; not just once a month, and certainly not just the night before your school tryouts are held.

If you are serious about being a good shooter then you should shoot every day you eat! Being too busy is not really a valid excuse because if you don't have time to get in a full workout then you can still squeeze in the following form shooting workout.

  • From a few feet away use only one hand and shoot at least 10 shots off the side of the backboard. Concentrate on using correct shot mechanics and perfect form. Since the width of the backboard is not very wide you will have to focus on hitting a smaller target which will get you concentrating right away. If the ball hits dead center it will come straight back to you but if your aim is slightly off the ball will bounce off to one side or the other.
  • When you are done with this continue to use only one hand and make 10 shots from three different spots - just off of the big block on both sides and from the middle of the paint. Again, concentrate on making every shot perfect.
  • Once you have made those 30 shots go back around the three spots and repeat the drill but this time every made shot needs to be a swish. If it hits the rim at all it doesn't count!
  • Before leaving pick one of the three spots (or two or three if you have the time) and make 10 shots with your eyes closed. By the time you start this part of the drill you should have made 70 shots with correct mechanics and perfect form so you should have at least a little muscle memory stored up.

Completing this simple series of shots will take only a few minutes so there is really no reason why you can't do it nearly every day. On those days when you find that you have more time use this form shooting drill as your warm up and it will make your regular shooting workout even that more effective.

If you want to be a great shooter you just have to remember two words - Every Day!

Please add to the conversation!

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How to Handle Cutting Players During Tryouts

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.

Please let us know what you think!

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