Making Adjustments Separate Good Basketball Players from Great Ones
Between our two Elite Basketball Training locations in Red Bank and Edison, New Jersey we work with a lot of basketball players of different skill levels. This includes group basketball skill development or personal basketball skill development for players ages anywhere between 7 years old and the professional ranks. Summer is the time when basketball players are made. It is the time of year where basketball players have more time to work on their game and develop their skills. The really good players know this and put in work. It is no surprise then that during the summer, I often work with players of a much higher skill level than throughout the rest of the year. This has never been more evident than this summer where I am currently working with multiple high level middle school, high school, college, and professional basketball players. Working with these players I observed many tendencies that make them all great however no tendency has been more evident than their ability to adjust throughout their workouts.
Listening and Adjust to Coach’s Cues
Making adjustments throughout a workout is crucial to a player’s development. These adjustments are made on the spot and don’t take more than a repetition or two to happen. This is the way to improve, and great players know that. I often use a saying, “never miss the same shot twice in a row.” In other words, if you miss your jump shot to the right, don’t miss it to the right again on the very next shot. If you are training on your own, you should understand how to make a correction to ensure a straighter jump shot. If you are training with a skilled basketball trainer they should be giving you cues during your basketball workout to help you make the correction. It is your job as a player to listen to those cues and fix the issue. For example, last week as I was working out with a talented college Women’s player, she was missing her jump shot short. There were a couple of reasons for this including tense shoulders and her feet being set pretty wide. We stopped the drill that we were doing and did a drill to correct her footwork and within minutes the problem was solved. To this girl’s credit, she realized the problem, did the drill to help correct it, and then continued to make the adjustment to her feet as we moved back to the original drill. Another example of this happened yesterday as I was working with two talented high school boys. One of the boys, a lefty, was missing his jump shot to the left at times. This was a result of him holding the ball a little high in his hand which offers little support of the basketball and often leads to the ball rolling off the outside fingers. These fingers are weaker and therefore cause the ball to go to the left. To fix this, I instructed him to put more of his hand on the ball and focus on releasing off his middle and index finger. The player made this adjustment on the very next repetition and the results were immediate, with the ball going straighter and in the hoop.
The Reasons that Basketball Players Don’t Adjust
Whereas great players have the ability to make adjustments on the spot, less skilled players struggle with this. The reasons are exponential and include not paying attention, an unwillingness to change, and not understanding a coach’s cues. As far as the first two reasons go, those are on the player. If you are at a basketball training workout and not paying attention or unwilling to learn and change, it begs the question, why are you there? The third reason is on both the coach and the player. As mentioned earlier, a basketball coach should be cuing the player throughout the workout. If it is evident that the player is not understanding the cue or cues that you are using then you need to find another way, phrase, example to use so that they do understand. That is how great coaches operate. They are teachers of the game and know that there is no one universal way to coach. They, too, need to make adjustments to their coaching in order to reach each player. On the player’s end, though, they should also be paying attention and if they do not understand their coach, they need to ask questions that will help them make the adjustment. They should not just continue to do the same thing over and over again.
Ultimately, this is what separates the great basketball players from the players who are there just because. Great players will listen throughout the workout and make changes when necessary. They will also continue to practice throughout their time apart from their coach and come back better next time. This is different from the player who does not, for whatever reason, make adjustments during the workout. Not only that, you know that the next time they will practice is their next session with their trainer. This is the difference. It is the ability to adjust.
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.
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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.