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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 […]

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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LeBron’s Core Workout

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 […]

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Simple and Effective Jump Rope Workout

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 […]

The post Simple and Effective Jump Rope Workout appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.

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Maya Moore Form Shooting Drill

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 […]

The post Maya Moore Form Shooting Drill appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.

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Concord Storm Pivot Instruction

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 […]

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Latest Articles

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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9 Ways to Impress Your Coach & Make the Team

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.

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