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Kevin Durant’s Scoring Ability

Kevin Durant adds a new dimension to Golden State

Kevin Durant has thrust himself to the top of the basketball conversation world with his somewhat controversial move to the Golden State Warriors this summer. Personally, I don’t begrudge him at all for making this choice. Let’s be honest, it you’re an NBA superstar and are going to sign with a different team, other than your own, doesn’t it make sense to go to the one that gives you the best chance at winning a title. As much as I wanted Durant to go to Boston and provide some much needed balance in the Eastern Conference, the smart choice (based on this logic) was Golden State. On the other side of the equation, I understand the venom being spewed Durant’s way for this Lebronesque decision but at least he didn’t host a special on ESPN and call it “The Decision.” Either way, there is no doubt the Durant is an all time great and quite possibly the most dynamically skilled player in the league. There is not other player that possesses his ability to shoot, dribble, attack, and finish all at a height nearing 7 feet. His height and skill will most certainly add a unique dimension to an already stacked scoring machine that is the Golden State Warriors and you can make the case that teams, like Cleveland, will not be able to be as physical with them not that they added this new dimension of skills and size.

Kevin Durant’s Jump Shot Technique

Kevin Durant’s skills make him such a unique scoring option for a player of his size and is predicated by his fantastic jump shot. His ability to shoot, although not at the level of Steph Curry (but then again, who is) is one of the tops in the league. Take notice of it this summer at the Rio Olympics and how he shoots using similar tendencies to the Elite Shooting System that we teach at Elite Basketball Training. His body is turned to align his shooting hip and shooting shoulder with the rim. This also helps to relax the shoulders, producing a tension free shot that is further enhanced by his use of the hop to add quickness to his release. Beyond all of this, Durant smoothly dips the ball prior to releasing it for added rhythm and power all creating the most biomechanically efficient shot you can have.

Kevin Durant’s Driving and Finishing Skills

Durant’s driving and finishing ability are enhanced by his jump shooting skills. Having a great jump shot, forces the defense to play up on Durant which makes him quicker and tougher to guard when he puts the ball on the floor. This ultimately, stretches the defense and forces them to help more frequently than they would normally. Further more, Durant’s athleticism is such that he can go from 6’11” to 6’4″ in a split second. Imagine trying to guard someone like that. It’s darn near impossible! And, oh by the way, he can finish with a variety of finishes that includes dunking right on you, either way you’re in trouble.

Elite Basketball Training Based on the Durant’s versatility

Kevin Durant is a rare combination of basketball skills and size. He is also someone who I pattern my basketball training after at Elite Basketball Training. Our basketball skill development here in New Jersey is about training players to be versatile. I maintain that all basketball players should posses the ability to pass, dribble, shoot, and finish in multiple ways, just like Durant. This will ultimately give you more options when your are on the court, making you a multi-threat player and highly difficult to guard.

What Makes European Basketball Players Different

The Growing Interest in European Basketball Players

If you watched the NBA draft this year, you know that the story outside of Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram being drafted one and two was that a record 15 European players were taken in the first round. That’s an impressive number and continues a trend of the NBA’s growing interest in overseas players. Why the sudden interest? Last week while training one of my players who plays professionally in Europe, I asked him during one of breaks, “What is different about the way the European players train and play versus the way American players do?” He initially responded by talking about how fundamentally sound they were and then expanded that thought to include how hard they worked and their ability to correctly read defenses in a split second. Imagine that…fundamentals and basketball IQ make European players different. That being said, those two components need to be the basis of your basketball skill development.

Why Fundamentals are Important to Your Training

Fundamental basketball is crucial to your basketball training. Just like you cannot build a house without a foundation, your cannot build your basketball game without solid fundamentals. Primarily, you need to be able to pass, dribble and shoot the basketball well and none of it has to be stylish. The aforementioned player at one point said, not many players in Europe have a crazy handle, but they can all handle the ball. He elaborated by explaining that European players aren’t about having a swaggy handle to break you down off the dribble and get to the rim. It is more about the team game, getting into the teeth of the defense, making the correct read and passing to the open man for the jump shot. This brings me to his next point is that the European players can all shoot the ball really well. So when they run the spread pick and roll that you often see and passes are made to the perimeter for the open jumper, you know it is going in the basket.

Basketball IQ Will Get You Paid

Beyond their fundamental skills, European players have a tremendous understanding of the game of basketball. Their basketball IQ is off the charts so much so, that often times, players with a higher basketball IQ often get paid more money overseas. These are the basketball players that can read the defense in a split second and determine whether or not it is a catch and shoot situation or a drive and finish situation. And, when I say drive, I don’t mean with an excessive amount of dribble moves. I am referring to the ability of the offensive  basketball player to see how the defender is closing out and go by him out of the triple threat using his footwork.

Adjust your Basketball Training to Include Fundamentals and Reading Defenses

Basketball IQ is vital to your success as a basketball player along with having solid fundamentals. In fact, you can really make the case that understanding the game and reading defenses is a fundamental skill in and or itself. Either way, players need to take note of this and adjust their basketball training accordingly to including developing fundamental basketball skills (passing, dribbling and shooting) in a way that teaches them to read the defense and develop an understanding of the game of basketball.

If you are interested in taking your basketball game to the next level come train with us this fall. Elite Basketball Training’s fall basketball training programs are available now on our training page and conveniently located in two locations, Edison and Red Bank, New Jersey.

Create, Plan, and Monitor Your Progress This Summer

Basketball Training With a Purpose

At Elite Basketball Training in New Jersey we believe that basketball players are made in the off season. Sure, players can improve during the regular season but it is actually quite difficult. In fact, it takes 100 jumpers per day, six days a week just to maintain your jump shot and 300 jumpers, six days a week to see some improvement. As yourself, are you getting that many jump shots up a day during your high school or AAU season. Probably not, because with your practices, games, and tournaments, you just don’t have the time. Summer is different though, summer provides players with more time…time to improve their game. With all this newfound time coming your way in a couple of weeks, we wanted to make sure that you are training with a purpose this summer. Follow this three step process and you are guaranteed to show improvement in your basketball skills and athleticism this summer.

Three Steps To Successful Summer Basketball Training

  1. Evaluate your overall game and create a list of what you need to improve upon this summer. Self-evaluate and come up with what you think you need to improve, then enlist the help of your parents and coaches. Getting their opinions as well will give you a well-rounded perspective on your game and help you create a more thorough list.
  2. Once your list is created, you need to develop a plan of attack. Improvement doesn’t happen by accident, it takes work and that work will be much more organized and efficient if you plan for it. Your plan should include drills that you will use to improve skills, a strength training program, game play, etc. Write down when you will do each and how much of each. Don’t leave out details. Writing down your plan will hold you accountable. Leaving out details WILL give you a reason to slack.
  3. Now that you have a training plan, get to it. Start training now, and while doing so, be sure to monitor your progress. I have spoken many times on this blog about keeping records of your reps, makes, weights, etc. This can be done the old fashioned way with a pencil and notebook, through apps designed for monitoring progress, or even using the Wilson X Basketball. Having a daily records will push you to compete every day, to advance beyond the record from the previous workout. This type of accountability is a must in order to improve your basketball game.

Summer is the time to elevate your game and become elite. Get to it. Make your list now and begin to develop your plan. You’ll have more time to train when school lets out in a week or two. As long as you have everything in place by then, you can hit the ground running and take the necessary steps to improving as a basketball this summer.

Live in New Jersey and want help with your basketball training this summer? Elite Basketball Training has a variety of basketball skill development programs available to you at two locations, Red Bank and Edison. Find out more at Elite Basketball Training or contact me personally today.

Make Your NJ Summer Basketball Training Purposeful and Fun

The Evolution of Basketball

I was having a conversation yesterday with a high level collegiate basketball player after one of our basketball skill development workouts at our Red Bank location in New Jersey. We were talking about the evolution of the game of basketball, in particular the jump shot, and how players and coaches need to evolve with the game. Unfortunately, some get lost in the time and do not, but that is another story for another time. The player’s father brought up how lifting weights for basketball used to be sacrilege and now look at how many of today’s Elite Basketball players are involved in basketball related sports performance programs. This got me thinking about my summer training regimen when I was a player back in high school. I used to love summer training. In fact, I still do. To this day (although I don’t play competitive hoops anymore) I still wake up early and get all of my training in before most people even start their day. I attribute this drive to the summer training regimen that I put into place back when I was a young basketball player.

My New Jersey Summer Basketball Training

When I was a high school basketball player growing up in New Jersey, my summers were devoted to becoming the best basketball player that I could be. I was cut from my middle school team twice and there was just no way that that was going to happen again to me in high school. I knew that I had to put in work and that the summer afforded me the time to do so. That being said, I would wake up early, get in a nutritious breakfast and head off the the gym to develop my body. Performance training was an integral part of my basketball training program and would include some sort of aerobic activity (sprints, running, agility work, etc) and basketball related strength training. This combination insured that I was covering all facets of my body that was necessary for the game of basketball. Once I finished at the gym, I headed back home for a quick protein shake and then outside to work on skill development. These skill development sessions were intense and included a variety of ball handling, dribbling, and shooting drills. Each one of these drills were game related and varied to make sure that I was getting a variety of reps from all angles and spots on the court. One of the keys to my success in summer training was that I charted every rep and make. This gave me a record of what I accomplished that day and a goal to focus on for the following day. Back then, I used a pencil and a notebook but with today’s technology, like the Wilson X Ball, this has become so much easier. Once the morning’s training activities were done, I was free to do what I wanted until the next phase of my training came…the evening’s pickup basketball games.

The Benefits of Pick up Basketball

Pickup basketball in the summer was the best part of my summer training plans. There is nothing like getting a bunch of your basketball buddies and heading to different parks in the Monmouth county area to test your skills against some of the best playground basketball players there were. I was fortunate enough that one of the parks with the best local games was about two blocks from my house. The best players would start filtering in around 6 pm and we’d play for hours under the lights. Often times the opposing players were men and were bigger and more physical than I was as a high school player. This was great though! Playing against these guys toughened me up and turned me into a physical basketball player, able to take a hit and still finish. The other added benefit of playing at the park was that it taught you how to make free throws and most importantly…win. On any given night, there would be 50 guys waiting to play on two courts. However, everybody wanted to be on the main court since that one got the best run. How did you get on that court? You shoot free throws, and the first five to make theirs were on. Once you were on, you needed to win to stay on. If you lost, you went back into the pool of players that was usually about a five game wait. Waiting could take and hour or more so losing was not an option. You needed to win, so you learned how to make shots under pressure. Nowadays in the world of AAU basketball, there is no premium place on winning. Teams are guaranteed three games or more at each tournament. Sure they’d like to win but it doesn’t really matter if they do or not since they’ll automatically be playing a few more games. One other component of playground hoops that I loved was when there were not players at the park to play a full court or even a half court game yet, we would play 21. I’m not sure if players play this anymore, but once again, the benefits are similar. You need to make free throws, and you need to learn how to score against one, two, or sometimes three or more players at once. This adds to your level of creativity as a player but also to your decision making against a defense that is geared at stopping you.

Summer Basketball League, NJ Basketball Camps, and NJ Basketball Trainers

The final components of my summer training included summer league with my high school team and camps or training programs with a trainer. Summer league was also a ton of fun. It afforded you the opportunity to play in a competitive environment with your teammates, under the supervision of your coach. It was a little looser than the regular season and it gave you the opportunity to show your coach that you would be the best option for the upcoming season. Even in the summer, you are always competing for minutes for the regular season. Playing with passion even when the games don’t matter as much shows your coach that you have a vested interest in the program. Basketball camps and/or basketball training was also quite valuable. Obviously, you get the input of professional coaches and trainers while at the camp or in a workout, but you also get constant feedback throughout the workout and at the end (or at least that is what happens in our New Jersey based workouts at Elite Basketball Training ;). This feedback as well as the drills that the coach uses are useful while there, but even more so when you are on your own working on the skills prior to meeting again with your basketball trainer.

Making Basketball Training Purposeful and Fun

Yes, summer basketball was some of the most fun and memorable aspects of my playing days. It was hard work but also rewarding to see success on the playgrounds, summer league games and eventually during the regular season. It is the work that you put in when the lights are off that will lead to your success when the lights are on. What will your summer basketball training look like this summer? Whether it is with us at one of our many Elite Basketball Training programs in New Jersey or on your own, make it challenging, purposeful, and, most importantly, fun.

Why Steph Curry is Ruining Your Jump Shot

Steph Curry is Ruining Your Jump Shot

This past week, Steph Curry was named the first unanimous MVP in NBA history. That’s a pretty impressive feat when you consider all the previous league MVP’s (Lebron James, Michael Jordan) never won unanimously. I am merely speculating, but I have to think that Steph winning unanimously has something to do with the 402 three pointers that he made this past season. This mark is by itself incredible but the fact that he nearly doubled his previous record setting total makes it even more impressive. Steph Curry is by far the most skilled basketball player that I have ever watched and is in the conversation for the greatest shooter of all time. He has redefined the game of basketball and made jump shooting cool in a way that Larry Bird never even did. In fact, all any of today’s players want to do anymore is shoot threes. There is one major issue though…today’s youth players cannot in any way shoot like Steph Curry, and, in their attempts to do so, are actually ruining their jump shots. So in actuality, Steph Curry, with all his greatness, is ruining youth basketball, and unless we take the time to reign in the chucking up of threes and teach our younger players how to shoot properly we are in for a rude awakening when it comes to the future jump shooters of America.

The Effect of the Three on Your Jumper

Becoming a successful jump shooter is about learning to shoot the basketball correctly and then shooting the ball a lot. The proper shooting form should be taught to players at an early age so that they learn young and begin putting in the necessary and correct reps early on. The problem with our young players wanting to be like Steph Curry is that they see him shooting threes and then every time they walk on the basketball court, the first place they walk to is the three point line and beyond. Nevermind that these players can’t make three pointers consistently or in many cases even at all. Nonetheless, they continue to chuck the ball at the basket in the hopes that one actually goes in, and, if one shot actually does go in…well then there is no stopping them. It’s like the one miraculous shot you hit in a totally crappy round of golf. That shot is guaranteed to get you back on the course again and again. As a result of their continued poor shooting from long range, our youth basketball players develop really bad habits in an effort just to get the ball to the rim. These habits ultimately stick with them for a long period of time and it also causes misses in close as well. Furthermore, the bad habits become really difficult to break. Change takes time and repetitions, and may cause even more missed jump shots. Honestly, there are not many players who are willing to miss shots to make changes, despite the fact that they are missing shots with their bad form anyway. It’s kind of a funny irony if you think about it. Players aren’t making threes, but won’t make changes to their jumper because at first it will cause them to miss more. Crazy!

The Keys to a Successful Jump Shot

At Elite Basketball Training, we utilize a method of teaching jump shooting that is based on countless hours researching the tendencies of great jump shooters. Our Elite Shooting System is based on breaking down the jump shot into six components. These components include:

  1. The release
  2. The guide hand
  3. The turn
  4. The Dip
  5. Body Position
  6. The Sweep and Sway

Each one of these components plays its own role in the jump shot and when utilized together creates a smooth and effortless jumper. Beyond our six key components, we spend countless hours on footwork. Someone once said a long time ago that, “jumpers are made with your feet.” Although there is more a good jumper than that simplistic phrase, it is hard to argue that having the proper footwork is a crucial part of jump shooting. That being said, there are so many different types of footwork when it comes to the game of basketball that it is necessary to practice it regularly.

Tips to avoid ruining your jump shot:

  1. Learn to shoot correctly
  2. Make adjustments when necessary
  3. Embrace change and your misses, they will result in makes in the long run
  4. Practice your footwork regularly

If you are interested in learning how to shoot the basketball correctly, using our Elite Shooting System then this summer’s Nothin’ But Net program is for you. Don’t hesitate, register today at www.richstoner.com/training-camps-clinics.