This week at one of my Elite Basketball Training skill development clinics, one of the players that was working out came up to me after the workout and asked me the question, “Are we going to learn the Eurostep?” I looked at him quizically because this was the exact same player who said to me no less than five times throughout the workout, “I can’t make a left handed layup.” In short, I responded by telling him that he needed to learn to make a left handed layup first because without that the Eurostep is useless.
This is inherently the problem with basketball at the youth and high school levels these days. These young players are watching a ton of the NBA, and this is great, as long as there is a level of understanding that comes along with it as it pertains to what they, as players, should and should not be learning to do first. Although the NBA is a great resource for basketball skill development (I use it all the time), young players and in many cases, coaches fail to realize that the players in the NBA are successful because they are fundamentally sound. Meaning, that their foundation is rock solid and therefore they can accomplish advanced moves like the Eurostep. For a player who knowingly cannot make a left handed layup to want to learn the Eurostep prior to accomplishing the fundamental off hand finish is slightly ridiculous. On another, more common level, so is chucking up threes over a over only to miss 99.9%. However, players who do so probably saw Steph Curry knock down a ton of them against the Knicks this season and believe that making three pointers is their chance at stardom. In some ways they are correct because the ability to shoot the basketball well from three can open up avenues for you that would not normally be there otherwise. However, the inherent misunderstanding here is that players are just automatically good at shooting three pointers because they shoot a ton of them. Yes, great three point shooters do shoot a ton of three pointers to practice; the difference is that their form is absolutely perfect when doing so, and in order achieve perfect technique, you must first be a really good shooter from two to three feet from the basket, not 30 feet away. Otherwise, continuously chucking up threes with bad form only to make one of 30 is going to ruin your jump shot, not make it better.
So, how do we resolve this issue? Remedying this problem will take some doing and needs to be a grassroots effort across the board. Players need to be taught proper fundamentals first and should be forced to master them before moving on to the next level of progression. For example, at Elite Basketball Training, all first time players at my skill development workouts are forced to perform single foot finishes on their strong and weak side prior to working on inside hand single foot finishes or reverses. They are taught the proper footwork to attack the basket and finish this way correctly and how advanced they are at this point will determine how far they start from the basket. Furthermore, all first timers are also asked to perform the exact same five fundamental form shooting drills for their jump shot prior to moving into their actual shooting drills for the day. This methodology goes back to one of my most recent posts on “Virtuosity” or doing the common, uncommonly well. Utimately, players cannot and should not be looking to advance themselves too quickly without any regard to form, technique, or the fundamentals. Fundamentals are the common that needs to be done uncommonly well. They are the lefty layup, not the Eurostep. So let’s take a look at how we train whether as a coach or a player and make the change to build the players up one step at a time.
How do you develop players or train yourself? Let the Elite Basketball Training family know in the comments section below. And don’t forget, arguably the most fundamentally sound, yet advanced trainer that I know, Jeremy Russotti is doing his only area clinic of 2013 on August 31 at East Coast Conditioning in Edison. Contact me immediately for details as this will sell out quickly.