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Basketball Training: What to Expect In Your First Session

Basketball Training - What To Expect

As a basketball trainer in New Jersey I have the privilege of working with many basketball players around the state.  Some of these players are long time trainees who have been with me for years.  Many others are new to training with me and new to basketball training in general.  When they walk in the gym for the first time, they have no idea what to expect from me as their trainer, from their basketball training session, or from the whole basketball training process.  This apprehensive feeling can leave a player lost and confused and will ultimately affect the workout itself thereby limiting how much they put into the basketball training session and what they get out of it.  The last thing that I want my basketball players to feel is any sort of anxiety so with that in mind, I will try to set all basketball players at ease when approaching their first Elite Basketball Training session and create a template of what to expect.

Basketball Training With A Plan

Your expectations of your first basketball training session begin prior to your first workout.  Any time a player registers with me for a personal basketball training session, I always conduct a short interview with all of my clients and their parents.  This interview is done either by email or phone in order to find out background information on the player.  This information includes but is not limited to their age, their ability level, and years of experience.   Furthermore, we look into what skills the player and parents feel that they need to work on the most and what their goals and expectations are for the duration of the training itself.  Knowing this information allows us to be more prepared for the first workout.

Personally, I never enter a basketball training session without a written practice plan.  I use the information provided from the interview in order to plan out exactly what skills need to be worked on and what drills I believe will work best to achieve that skill.  This is a habit that I picked up as a former head basketball coach where I used information that was compiled from the previous day’s practice or game.  I would analyze what we did well and where we went wrong and use both to create a practice plan that would help the team improve.  The goal is essentially the same but on a much smaller and individualized scale.  This type of preparation assures that the basketball training session is purposeful and will progress smoothly from one drill to the next with each skill building on the previous one.  Too often drills are just thrown together randomly with little or no attention being paid to the skills and their progressions.  This will create a training session that is choppy but more importantly, one in which the player will never improve from.  At Elite Basketball Training, we are passionate about the improvement of our players and therefore you can expect a well run and organized practice plan at the first basketball training session and everyone there after.

A Basketball Trainer With Passion

Along with expecting your trainer to prepared it is also important that he or she create a wholesome environment fostered by positive, passionate, and purposeful teaching methods.  Consequently, we greet every player and their parent(s) when they walk in the gym.  This welcomes the player and his family into your program and serves to create an early bond between the player and the trainer.  Beyond the initial greeting, we speak to our players throughout their warm up delving into how they are doing both on and off the court.  Where have they been successful?  What have they done well on the court?  What haven’t they done well and what can they improve upon?  This lets the players know that you care but it also helps you become a better trainer in that session and beyond by providing you with even more information than you may have previous attained.  Once the workout begins, the trainer’s passion they have for basketball and your success becomes evident and the player’s energy will directly reflect yours as a trainer.  Renowned skill development coach and NBA assistant, Kevin Eastman, once talked about how if you as a trainer or coach are throwing lazy passes then the player will also become lazy.  Therefore trainers need to strive to not only throw good passes but move around with the player and demonstrate the drills in a way that excites the player to learn that particular skill.

Basketball Training Sessions With a Purpose

When demonstrating and working on a specific skill, we use the whole, part, whole method of teaching.  To do so, we demonstrate the skill itself and explain how that skill relates to the actual game of basketball.  Once again, it is important for the player to understand that these are not just random skills and drills that are thrown together to kill an hour but rather ones that are done with a specific purpose in mind.  Once the skill is demonstrated and explained so that the player understands why then are using it and in which situation to use it based on what the defense presents, we then break the skill down into specific parts.  This usually centers on footwork and catching the ball properly.  For example if we are working on a reverse pivot jab step, we will spend about 5-10 minutes or more working on the footwork alone for this.  This will include the reverse pivot, the jab step, a strong foot step or crossover step for separation and the stride step into the pull up jumper.  Once these parts have been worked on, we then return to a whole part drill in order to work on the skill in a more competitive situation.

These competitive situations will lead to mistakes and that is okay.  Throughout the entirety of the basketball training workout a player should expect to make mistakes, and to be corrected on those mistakes in a positive manner.  We do this often by pointing out what the player is doing well and then explaining to them what mistakes they are making and how they can improve on them.  This is done through cueing.  For example if a right handed player is consistently missing to their right on their jumper and it is most likely because they are following through with their hold hand turning to the right.   We point that mistake out and tell them to go back to releasing the ball off their index finger and reaching their index finger up and through the rim and touching their thumb with it on the follow through.  It should be noted that not all cues work for every player and it is the trainer’s responsibility to find the correct cue that works for that specific player.  Beyond expecting to make mistakes and get corrected, a player will also experience success during the basketball training session.  When a player does something well, we encourage that by not only telling them that they did well but what exactly what was good about it.  For example, if the player makes a nice triple threat move using the footwork that was explained in the previous paragraph we will congratulate them on a great move using perfect footwork, not just say, “Nice Job” and clap.  Letting the player know what they did well informs the player and encourages them to continue to do it well over and over.

Training Enhanced By Constant Basketball Evaluation

Correcting mistakes and encouraging positives are all a part of the evaluation process that takes place throughout the entire session.  As a trainer, I am constantly breaking down a player’s skills in my mind throughout the entire basketball training session, and the reason behind this is two fold.  Primarily, I want to be able to let the player know what they did well in the workout and what they need to work on.  I will then inform them of what I want them to focus on and develop on their own over the course of the next week until I see them again. In some cases, I will demonstrate breakdown drills for them to use in order to develop these specific skills while also encouraging them to use the drills that we used throughout our workout.  Secondly, my constant evaluation allows me to plan the next workout more specifically for that player.  This is crucial to the player’s success because it keeps that player moving in a positive direction rather than staying stagnant and not improving at all.

Experience Positive, Passionate, and Purpose Basketball Training Sessions

Ultimately, a basketball player’s first basketball training session can be an overwhelming experience.  The player can experience nervousness and trepidation that can affect their workout and their overall experience.  In order to avoid this, we at Elite Basketball Training make all of our basketball training workouts positive, passionate, and purposeful.  We come in with a plan, create a wholesome environment where a player is welcomed, encouraged, corrected, praised and evaluated.  This guarantees that are players are welcomed into our family, enjoy the experience, and most importantly improve.


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