Basketball & Social Media – Neither Are Going Anywhere
It is almost impossible to envision present day life without social media. Not only does everybody have a Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram account but it seems that every business, school and believe it or not churches have them as well. It helps us connect with the world and the people around us like we have never experienced before as a society. While there are many benefits and joys to having these outlets they can also a wealth of problems if they are not managed correctly.
Showcasing Your Basketball Skills On Social Media
It seems like everybody trying to play college basketball has a highlight tape or game footage on YouTube. If you are an elite player in this country, you probably have numerous videos of you online from different AAU basketball tournaments and high school games. Some companies will even go to watch these players play pick up and post highlights from those sessions online. The majority of young athletes do not have this luxury however and have to either record the footage themselves or pay for the service of having their game recorded. Once you have your footage recorded you need to make sure the quality is up to par. While every player is different and will showcase different abilities, you want to make sure that present your best work possible. Furthermore, you want to make the correct music selection. The best and safest selection is to just select an instrumental of a song. This way you do not have to worry about lyrical content and all of the focus is on your skills in the video. If for some reason you are not able to get an instrumental song or are just adamant about having a regular song, make sure it has no explicit language! This does not display good character on your part if you have a song that is cursing every other word. With all this being said, YouTube is a great tool to showcase your skills. Before, most players were just subjected to the region they were in to get recruited, now any coach anywhere in the country can see you play with just the click of a button.
Social Media & Your Life Off the Basketball Court
While YouTube is a form of social media, it is not usually one of the platforms that first jumps to the front of conversations when people are discussing social media. Facebook and Instagram are two different platforms many players get into trouble with the same issue, being tagged in photos. While everybody has a life outside of basketball, not every moment is meant to be shared. Furthermore, if you are trying to secure a roster spot on a college team or already are on a college team you have to be more aware of your surroundings then your peers. Being at parties where underage drinking is occurring is a bad idea and being in a picture where alcohol is visible is even worst. Even if you were honestly and genuinely doing nothing, being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time makes you appear guilty, and as in most cases in life, we can only make decisions off what we can perceive.
Twitter and Basketball
However, the ultimate form of social media that is getting everybody in significant trouble on a weekly basis is twitter. With only 140 characters it is very easily to be misinterpreted and put your foot in your mouth. Players on all levels ,(high school, college and pro) continually to misuse this social media platform the most. Whether its high school recruit saying he is being recruited by schools he isn’t, a college athlete disrespecting the institution he plays for, or a professional using a vulgar phrase filled message, nobody seems to be learning a lesson. Even if a player has a valid stance on a topic, with such a small range of words to use, you can run into an unfavorable situation fast. As far as getting exposure if you are a player, it is a great way to provide access to other links you might have on other social media sites, but you aren’t going to be able to provide any material of your own with any substance.
With the landscape of social media and the way we interact changing at a faster rate then ever before, we are seeing some companies adjust to the shift. NIVO, a small startup app company, based in Manhattan, NY, is trying to be apart of that shift. NIVO showcases athletic abilities for all sports and athletes. However, it is exclusively for athletic achievements, you will not find videos of dancing, singing or blooper reels. On this platform, you can also vote on a scale of how impressed you were by the video. This is a great tool, because it takes away a lot of the possibility to generate any negative feedback, which is where a lot of the off-putting comments come from that get players into trouble. They understand that if there is a need to basketball players to showcase their skills on social media, why not give them an opportunity to do that separate from the social media juggernauts. NIVO, is not the only company doing this, there are many other small start ups around the country and world with similar ideas.
Social media plays such a huge factor in today’s society that it is hard to ignore. In addition, each year it seems like younger people are creating profiles and getting involved. Similar to players receiving media training to be able to talk to reporters, people are starting to realize social media training is something that is required as well. It has the power to positively affect your brand and image beyond measure, but in that same instance can take it all away. A decent portion of the news and advertisement is now done thru social media. Unfortunately, as with most things, people learn thru trial and error, but hopefully up and coming players can see how a badly timed picture and being outspoken at the wrong moments can negatively affect your career for years on end. Basketball players must learn to manage their social media presence. Manage it or let it manage you!
NCAA Basketball Tournament: 3 Lessons Learned
The Madness has ended this past weekend with Duke as your champions and it’s time to start thinking about the off season and how you can improve as a player for next season. If you are anything like me, over the last month or two you have probably watched countless hours of college basketball. Due to the parity in college basketball nowadays, the conference and NCAA Tournaments have served up so really entertaining games. Beyond the sheer entertainment value that March Madness provides, these games can be viewed and used as a learning experience for coaches and players alike. As a long time trainer and coach, I am always looking to learn and build my basketball IQ so that I can then take that knowledge and relay it to my Elite Basketball Training family.
This year’s NCAA tournament provided countless lessons for me as a trainer but most importantly I would like to explore how cutting and passing are skills that need to be trained, players need to learn a move and it’s counter moves, and jump shooting needs to become a priority for young players.
Lesson #1: Cutting and Passing Matter and Need To be Trained
When I coached at the high school level, skill development was a huge focus for our teams. During our practices, we would work on all of our skills within the context of what we were trying to do offensively. So for us, we did a ton of work our passing, dribbling, and shooting in the full court since our primary option was to break as often as possible. We also focused on these skills in a half court setting out of our dribble drive and spread pick and roll so that we knew how to read the defense and pass, cut, attack, and finish based on what the defense was showing. Ultimately, this helped my players learn skills and understand the game on a higher level.
This type of skill development is still a priority for us at Elite Basketball Training and watching the NCAA tournament it was very gratifying to see players scoring out of the same cuts, screens, and reads that we are consistently working on in our training sessions. For example, in the Notre Dame, Kentucky game Zach Auguste scored on countless back door cuts that we had spent that Saturday morning working on the timing of the cut, the cut itself, and the correct pass to throw in order to catch the player in stride. We have also been working on reads and possible shots coming from narrow and wide pin downs. These reads include but are not limited to a tight curl when the defense is trailing you or faking the curl and popping out when the defense goes under the screen, both of which are straight out of the offense that UVA runs. Obviously, there are many more examples just like this but the real takeaway is that training in this format is extremely important because it allows players to develop their skills in the confines of the action that is run in their offense based on how they read the defense.
Lesson #2: Have Moves and Countermoves
When reading the defense, it is also important to have a move and a counter move based on how the defense closes out. I see a lot of basketball training videos online where players are making three or four moves in one spot on the court and then taking a shot. Honestly I cannot figure out how this is relevant to the game. Having watched pretty much every hour of basketball throughout the NCAA tournament, I cannot remember ever seeing a player come down the court make four stationary dribble moves and the pull up for a jumper. I do, however remember watching players like Sam Dekkar from Wisconsin come off a screen and hit a jumper when the defender was off him and then a few plays later come off the same screen and hit a step back jumper when the defender was playing him tighter. Another great example of a player having a move and a counter move is National Player of the Year, Frank Kaminski. Kaminski would often times make his patented spin move for a finish on one play and then use the spin move as a set up for the up and under counter move. Having moves and counter moves for different defensive reads is a fundamental skill but one that is crucial to your success at a player no matter what level you are playing at.
Lesson #3: Jump Shooting is Critical
Another vital skill that many players seem to be deficient in these days is jump shooting. I cannot tell you how many social media posts I have seen throughout the tournament about how poor the jump shooting has become in the men’s game. Even 10 time national champion, Geno Auriemma, chimed in on how bad the offense has become calling the men’s game, “a joke.” Personally, I cannot disagree with the posts on social media or Coach Auriemma as the jump shooting was really an abomination throughout the tournament. Let’s be serious, for as good as Kentucky was, they still only shot about 30% from behind the three point line and Michigan St. was around the same or worse. I don’t want to hear how defense wins championships. If that was the case, then Kentucky or UVA would have won the championship this year. It’s the team with the most points at the end of the game that wins and that requires offensive efficiency and the ability to shoot the basketball. This is why Notre Dame, who was not nearly as a tall or athletic as Kentucky was able to stay in the game with them. It is also why Wisconsin was able to beat Kentucky. Both Notre Dame and Wisconsin had multiple players that could shoot the ball. Furthermore, it was the jump shooting and free throw shooting down the stretch from Duke’s Tyus Jones that sealed the deal for the Blue Devils and helped them win a national championship despite the fact that Coach K benched the potential number one player in the NBA draft, Jahlil Okafor, the last three minutes of the game. Why? He’s not a good free throw shooter. Ultimately, if you want to have great success on the basketball court, you must posses a jump shot. The throw it up and go get it offense only works to a degree, but in the end, it’s the teams that can shoot who win.
The college basketball season has come to an end but your off-season training has only just begun. The tournament provided us with some great games to watch and also some valuable lessons to learn and incorporate into our training. Basketball is a game of timing, cutting and reading the defense. Incorporate this into your training regimen and then work to develop a move and a counter move based on your defensive reads. It is also important to develop your jump shot. Players who can really shoot the ball are few and far between but as you can see by the NCAA tournament the players and the teams that can shoot seem to have the most success. Now is the time to put in work and become the player you have always dreamed you could be. Use these lessons from the NCAA tournament to your advantage and elevate your game.
New Jersey Basketball Camps
How To Evaluate Them
Our friends at Austin Basketball Camps and I discussed the questions we receive that parents ask us for our expert guidance. The question of basketball camps often comes up and we created this resource for you. Here are some of the criteria and talking points you should consider as you evaluate basketball camps. Please view our free E-Book on how to evaluate basketball camps below at the end of the article.
Basketball Camp Purpose
As a parent of an ambitious basketball player you have many New Jersey basketball camp choices. What is the mission or purpose of the basketball camp as shared on their website.
Basketball Camp Security
We hate to even bring up this discussion… but you need to make sure your choices to spend time caring for your children have undergone stringent background checks including fingerprinting so aliases cannot be used.
Basketball Camp Director Background
Understand the background of the basketball camp director and their philosophy. Once you have established expertise, figure out if they still have the passion necessary to inspire our young basketball campers. Are they basketball trainers or just coaches who can’t really demonstrate skills at the highest level. Demonstration matters.
Different camps have different goals. Some New Jersey basketball camps are for exposure, others are introductory in curriculum, while still others are focused on player development to really increase your skills.
Basketball Camp Value
Are basketball camps worth the money? Metuchen, Westfield, Red Bank and Edison Basketball camps can be expensive as an undertaking. If learning new skills and increasing your basketball IQ are your focus, you may want to consider using your budget toward personalized basketball training and also on basketball strength and conditioning programs. Read our article and take on whether kids are actually learning anything at basketball camps.
New Jersey Basketball Camp Alternatives
Online Training, aforementioned personalized training, basketball strength and conditioning focus would all help your game. Our Basketball Speed and Agility Training course would certainly help many basketball players ready to grow their impact next season and is a fraction of the cost of a camp.
How To Evaluate Basketball Camps: Free E-Book Download
Please share this resource with other basketball families you know.
Weight Training for Basketball
Are You Making It A Priority?
We had a chance to catch up with UMaine Fort Kent college basketball player Fletcher Brown. Fletcher grew up and played his high school and JUCO basketball in the San Francisco Bay area before heading to Maine. Here is what he shared with us about weight training for college basketball and it’s importance to your game.
Playing high level competitive basketball requires players to try and be faster, stronger and more explosive than their opponent. The only way to do that is to spend time in the weight room. Pumping iron will not only help your body be better prepared for the punishment it takes on the court but you will eventually look and feel better which will do a lot for your confidence.
On the Court Benefits from Weight Training
Hitting the weights consistently will take a players game to the next level. However, players need to remember that becoming stronger from basketball weight training is not like a microwave, it won’t happen instantly. Patience is required. But that being said, consistent weight training will help a players game grow exponentially. You might not have giant biceps or six pack abs but if you start feeling stronger, you will notice a difference out there on the court. You will most likely become addicted to the feeling. That feeling is being able to box people out better, get that second quick jump to grab a rebound, or finish lay ups through contact. A lot of the things that the weight room can help you do better on the court are not the glamorous parts of the game. It’s not about crossovers or 3-pointers but all the little things are what wins games.
Mental Aspect of Basketball Weight Training
Lifting weights has a few benefits for a players mind; which is just as important as a players body. As previously mentioned the feeling you get when you feel strong while playing the game is an addicting one. It gives a player confidence. And confidence in the game of basketball is super important. Feeling strong and knowing that you have spent the time working out can do wonders for a players confidence. Also, if you are ever having a rough day, feeling stressed out or need a break, lifting weights is a great activity to do. Letting out some frustration on the weights is a productive stress reliever. Lastly, remaining consistent in the weights will eventually make you notice a change in your body. It takes a while but you will start to see your muscles get bigger and some cuts in your arms and legs. Many people desire the look of big muscles and to fill out a shirt and have that “beach body.” Lifting weights will get you there slowly but surely. But remember, in order to gain the most from your workout, eating right with lots of protein is necessary. Protein shakes and other basketball supplements should be looked into and taken with caution.
Weight training takes time and it is often times difficult to get started but it is without a doubt worth all the hard times. Some final tips for weight training:
- Be patient
- Be consistent
- Remain hydrated throughout workout
- Be safe, workout with a partner and use spots
- For basketball players specifically this is very important. Try and shoot afterwards as to retain a nice touch.
- Eat a high protein diet after working out
Here is the key takeaway:
Most college basketball players hit the weights earlier than their competition. Most worked with a trainer or coach who showed them proper technique which reduces injury while increasing performance. If you want to play college basketball… or just become the best athlete you can be…ask a qualified trainer how to either get started or how to optimize your program.
My name is Joe McCloskey and I play college basketball at the University of Maine at Fort Kent which plays in the USCAA Athletic Association. I was honored with All American status this year and have learned some basketball life lessons along the way. By no means do I think I have life “all figured out,” but these are some lessons worthy of sharing.
Basketball is my favorite sport for so many reasons, but I’d have to say the main reason is that it requires you to combine physical skill with mental prowess in order to fully succeed as a player. When you do this, it directly translates to you as a person, it goes so much deeper than you just dribbling a ball on the court, it shapes who you are in such a positive way. Here are my top 4 life lessons basketball can teach.
The importance of mental and physical preparation
Its impossible to master the sport without having a strong body and a strong mind. Basketball is such a long season, in order to make it you must have a body fully ready to take a beating. The best thing you can do for yourself is be in constant contact with your athletic trainer and complete the recommended training regiments. Doing this will ensure you are able to make it through such a long season. Healthy body equals healthy mind. Such a long season certainly has plenty of ups and downs that can be tough on the mind, but recognizing these issues are only temporary and being able to stay focused and true to the grind is such an important skill to have. Players must adopt an optimistic and winning mindset to achieve greatness. These two traits must go together you cannot have one without the other. The life lesson this offer is that you have to have a healthy mind and body to live the life you want to live, so even off the court, these two traits go hand in hand.
Avoid Selfish Behavior / Be a Team Player
Basketball is a team sport, meaning that no one member can win the game by themselves. It’s a collaborative effort; if you are not willing to put your own personal goals and wants behind the overall success of the team, then you are not meant to be a basketball player. You must be willing to accept your role, whatever the coach asks of you, and whatever the team needs you to do, you don’t ask questions you just do it and do it well. In the end, winning is the only thing that matters, everyone must adopts a mindset that the team victory is more important that individual stats any day of the week. While my individual stats were solid enough to earn All American status, that award is the result of a team effort. My coach who drew up the offense, my teammates that put their stats on the back burner to get me the ball in the post with a great post entry pass, etc., all are partly responsible for me winning this award. The lesson that this teaches off the court is that its important to remain humble and give back to the people who helped you get to where you are at.
The Ability to React to Adversity
Let downs are inevitable, but when something isn’t going your way, evaluate it, understand it, and then find out how you can make it work for you. Game plans don’t always play out the way we envision them, that’s where we find it in ourselves to make the proper adjustments and continue to strive for victory, never lay down and die when life gets hard, push through and persevere. The way this translates to life is that life presents many challenges and its imperative that we push through and adjust our game plan to make it work for us.
Understanding the Fundamentals
A firm understanding of the fundamentals of basketball is a prerequisite of being a basketball player. Without understanding the rules, the do’s and dont’s and in’s and out’s of basketball you cannot possibly be successful. How to pass, dribble, and shoot, the right way is a great start in becoming a skilled player.
The way this translates off the court is that you must have a good grip on what it means to be a good person, what it takes to succeed, and the steps you want to take to achieve your own personal goals. Life is not always about shotcuts, hacks, or “work smarter, not harder.” Understanding the fundamentals of life can guarantee success if coupled with hard work and determination. Let’s get to work this off season!
Joe McCloskey is a guest contributor offering us insight into the highly competitive world of small college basketball. Joe was a USCAA All American this year at the University of Maine at Fort Kent averaging 19.7 points and 8.6 rebounds while also having a great comeback year in the classroom.