It Happened Again

About two weeks ago I wrote an email highlighting how one of my younger basketball players that I work with for basketball skill development showed up at the gym and started chucking up jumpers from long range.  To teach him a lesson, I walked over to the court and began doing some form shooting drills.  All the while, I stayed close to the rim and focused on the fundamentals of shooting while he just continued to bomb away.  After a few minutes, I asked him to tell me the difference between what I was doing and what he was doing, to which he replied, “You’re working on your shot while I’m just chucking up shots.”  I had to laugh because he knew exactly what my point was and I hope that he has learned from it. 

Fast forward to yesterday at the gym.  Prior to my Elite Basketball Skills workout I was working on my own game when one of my younger players grabbed a basketball walked on the floor and proceeded to shoot three pointer after three pointer.   He would spin the ball to himself, set up, check the wind, and let it fly.  As one shot after another hit nothing but air, I couldn’t help but wonder why he was continuing to shoot these shots. Isn’t the point of the game of basketball to actually have the ball go through the hoop?  So finally I asked, “Why are you shooting three pointers?”  His response, “I can make them.”  He said it with such confidence that I thought that I may have missed something.  I was working out after all, so it is possible. 

The rest of the conversation went something like this:

I replied, “Really, how many have you made since you walked on the floor?”

“One,” he said. 

“One? Really?  Are you sure?”


“How many have you taken?”


“Are you sure?”


We could have gone on like this forever, but I really wanted to finish my own workout. 

Even after this conversation, he continued to let ’em fly until finally I heard him exclaim, ” I made one!”  That’s just it, he made ONE and had taken so many.  I just could not see the point. So I stopped my workout again and explained to him that taking hundreds of shots from long range with poor form and having them NOT go in the basket does not make you a good basketball player.  In fact, it is quite the opposite as this will have a detrimental affect on your game. I encouraged him to work on the basketball skills and drills that we have been working on each week.  To his credit, he did and he also had his absolute best shooting workout to date.

With this scenario becoming more and more typical, it is necessary that we fix the problem of young players just bombing away from long range without any care for form or whether the ball actually goes in the net, but how?  First, it takes selling them on the idea that starting close and moving back only when you are able to is the right way.  It also takes practice, discipline, repetition, and a great little drill that I like to use called, “The Find Your Range Drill.”  This drill starts close to the basket, about four feet away, and requires the player to make a shot from that spot. Once they have, they can step back a foot and repeat the process.  The drill ends when the player has missed three in a row from the same spot.  This spot whether it is four feet or 10 feet is the range at which that player cannot go past for that skill development session.  Consequently, all shooting drills will be set up for that specific player to take shots from that spot and in until they can advance past that spot.  This is an excellent drill to start each workout with because it will ensure that the player will be shooting from the correct range and not becoming full time members of the bomb squad each time they workout.

Do you coach players that are members of the bomb squad?  If so, let me know about your stories in the comments section below.

For information on how you can improve your jump shooting with Elite Basketball Training please view our training page on the site.  We currently have a variety of basketball training and skill development programs going on right now.  This includes: semi-private, private, small group, and team training.

Don’t forget that the Elite Basketball Training Speed and Agility Drills and Skills sale is going on right now at a price you won’t want to miss.  So head over to and get your copy now.

See you on the court.

Rich Stoner

Elite Basketball Training, LLC

A House’s Foundation, Feet, and Your Jumpshot

In the recent months, my wife and I have been meeting with architects and contractors with the hope of putting an addition on to our house in order to compensate for the soon to come new addition to our family.  Our most recent child is expected to come within the next couple of months and our house just needs more space.  We are under the gun in terms of time, not only because of her due date but also because of the onset of winter.  If the weather gets too cold too soon, we may not be able to get the foundation for the house in.  And, if you can’t build a house without a foundation.

Similarly, you cannot build a good jump shot without a solid base.  With that in mind, good footwork is the key to becoming a good jumpshooter.  Recently, I have taken on a back to basics approach with many of my workouts (even with some of my older players).  My reasoning? Their footwork is not consistently getting them into the same shoulder with, butt back/hips down, knees bent, low position that they need to be in to correctly shoot the basketball.  I have been working on many form shooting type drills that require the player to get into that position before they shoot the basketball.  One of my favorites is a drill called Deep Squat Shooting. This is a drill that Dirk Nowitski uses as part of his warmup and it requires the player to squat down lower than they usually would and then from their go through the shooting motion while trying to hit nothing but the bottom of the net.  In order to properly execute the deep knee bend, the player must have their feet in the proper position or they will fall over.  Keep in mind, that the player should be bending at the hips and not at the waste to get low.  This is a drill that players should perform 25-50 repetitions/makes of before they even start their shooting workout.  It is a drill that will help you build a solid foundation for you jump shot.

Just like you can’t build a house without a foundation, you cannot build a good jumper without your feet. Proper footwork will put you in the correct low shooting position and give your jumper a chance at going in the basket.

If you are looking for help with your jump shooting, Elite Basketball Training has multiple programs going on now.  Find out more information on our training page or contact me directly.

And don’t forget, Speed Kills.  Elite Basketball Training’s Basketball Speed and Agility promotional price of $14.99 is going on now at

See you on the court.

Rich Stoner

Elite Basketball Training, LLC

I need to work on my plays…

About a week ago, I was speaking with a coach over the phone and he made a comment that the more I thought about it, the more interesting it became to me.  He was saying how he only had a short period of time to practice, and that he, “really needs to work on his plays.”  I did not think much of it during the course of our conversation but then I thought more about it afterward I was a little concerned.  The reason? You can work on your plays until you are blue in the face, if your basketball players, cannot pass, dribble, and shoot, then your plays ain’t worth squat.  That is to say, that if the players cannot execute each time they touch the basketball then ultimately, it will be very difficult to score and the bottom line…you have to score points to win the game.

Before I continue forward, I would like o let it be known that I am not being critical of this coach in any way.  I completely understand that the crunch for gym time makes it difficult for coaches to design practice plans, and that with limited time, the natural tendency is to go right towards running your plays.  As a matter of fact, I worked on my offense and defense too when I had gym time constraints.  However, there was one main difference, I worked on our offense in a way that employed skill development.  My players worked on attacking the basket off the dribble out of the offense, they worked on attacking the basket from the triple threat out of the offense, and they got game shots, at game spots, at game speeds.  Constantly working on your plays is great if you want your players to simply run the play.  Personally, I would rather teach my basketball players how to play and to do that requires a constant focus on basketball skill development.  Players must establish the fundamental skills of the game (passing, dribbling, and shooting) and then be able to employ them based on how the read the defense.  It is for this reason that basketball skill development was a year round focus for my basketball teams and it is why I offer that as one of my primary services. 

Fast forward a week later to last night when I was speaking with another coach of a high level AAU team that competes on the national level and will have seven players play college basketball and at least five play at the division 1 level.  He was very complimentary of an on court sports performance program that I had just completed.  When he stopped me to tell me this, I reciprocated those sentiments to him.  Why?  His team’s practice had a focus on skill development and one drill flowed into the next, all the while building up to his final drill of running his offense.  When I asked him his thoughts on the topic of skill development in basketball practices versus running plays, he responded, “If your players can’t execute when they have the ball, your plays won’t work.”

Let me know what you think in the comments section below, and if you would like to find out more about how you can incorporate basketball skill development into your basketball practices or contact me at any time.  Thanks.

See you on the court.

Rich Stoner

Elite Basketball Training, LLC

An Old Dog Really Can Learn New Tricks

In the beginning of August, I received one of the most interesting emails that I have ever received.  It read as follows: 

Dear Coach Rich, I would like to know if you are available to set up some 1:1 basketball tutoring sessions at NJSA. I believe you know my daughter, Ali, who is one of Jason’s level 10 gymnasts. Both she and Jason have spoken highly of you, however you should know that I might not be one of your usual projects. I have played basketball consistently since I was a kid and would like to try out for the Master’s (45 and over) Maccabi basketball team representing the United States this coming December in Brazil. The issue is that I am not 45, I am 58 and had a left hip replacement 1-1/2 years ago. I have been training very hard, but recently have gotten discouraged because, since my surgery, I have not been able to recapture hardly any of the speed or mobiltiy I had previously. On offense it has hurt me terribly because I can’t drive to the hoop anymore, however I have found other ways of remaining an offensive threat. My defense, however, has become a disaster, as the lack of speed and mobility have made it almost impossible for me to guard anyone effectively. Can you help?? I am a former college varsity athlete (tennis at Lafayette College) and have remained actively involved in both tennis and basketball. I know that I will be a lot older than other candidates at Maccabi tryouts (end of September), but I feel that with some good supervision and training that I would stand a decent chance of making the squad. I look forward to hearing from you.

It is not often that I get emails from people looking for basketball skill development that are in their 50’s let alone  from someone who also just had hip replacement surgery.  So, needless to say I had to read this over a few times just to make sure I was getting it right.  So I called him back that day, but not before figuring out what the Maccabi games are.  Through my extensive research and phone calls to a few friends I found out that they are the equivalent of the Jewish Olympics.  They are held once a year all over the world and every fourth year in Israel.  Ultimately, I thought this would be a unique and cool opportunity for me to work with someone who could ultimately make such a prestigious team. 

Fast forward two months to today and we are still working together on his game.  He has tried out for the team and as of right now made it as an alternate.  He informed me that he was the oldest one at the tryout and described the tryouts themselves as quite demanding.  He did, however, feel that he was well prepared as a result of our workouts.  I was quite proud of this accomplishment and as I watched him go through our workout last week, I could not help but notice how much he has truly improved. 

 First off, his conditioning is so much better than when we started as a result of our constant movement throughout the workouts.  I can remember back to the first itme we worked out and his breaks were every few minutes and quite long.  Now, they are few and far between and he is right back on the court for more.  This improved conditioning has allowed us to accomplish more and more each time out.   He is also significantly more agile now because of the extensive amount of time we have spent working on the changing of directions.  As a matter of fact, he mentioned to me after the tryout that, he could not remember too many guys beign able to score on him over the course of the weekend.  Not bad for a guy who listed defense and mobility as his main weakness.  Finally, having already been a strong jump shooter, he is now an even better jumpshooter and a much more versatile scorer.  This is a direct result of better footwork which has been a major focus of all of our drills.  Having his feet in a consistently better position has enabled him to get his shot off quicker and attack the basket more explosively.  Ultimately adding more variety to his game at the age of 58.

So, what can we take from this great story? 

  1. It’s never to late to realize a dream.
  2. Hard work and persistence can help you accomplish your goals.
  3. Fundamentals like footwork are the basis for many aspects of the game of basketball including jumpshooting, attacking off the dribble, and changing directions.
  4. You should never underestimate the importance of being in good condition.

If you are as impressed with this guy’s accomplishments as I have been let us know in the comments section below.

Don’t forget, the special promotion sale of my Basketball Speed and Agility project is still going on now over at  Don’t miss this opportunity to get your hands on some of the drills that I used to help this old dog learn new tricks.

See you on the court.

Rich Stoner

Elite Basketball Training, LLC

How Much do You Know About College Planning?

I recently drove out to western New Jersey to meet with a potential college baseball player and his mother while they were at a baseball showcase.  I was there to discuss the college planning process.  As I sat down across the table from them, the first question I asked was, “What do you know about the college planning process and college recruiting?”  Their answer, “Nothing.”  I was not surprised by this at all as the college planning process has gotten so complicated, it is hard to know a lot about it unless you deal with it every day like I do.  But when I asked my next series of question, that is when I was became really surprised. 

  1.  What year are you in school?  Senior
  2. How many schools do you have interested in you right now? None
  3. What level do you think you can play at?  Division 1

Needless to say these answers were a little shocking and, more importantly, concerning to me.  Being a senior, this student athlete was already behind in the process, but being a senior, who knew very little, had no schools interested in him, and wanted to play at the Division 1 level multiplied that inumerably. 

As I sit down with more and more student athletes who want to play college sports this type of scenario has become the norm.  They and their families know very little about the college planning process. Consequently, a lack of knowledge and the rising cost of college education has prompted, more and more families to turn to professionals to help them save as much money as possible. 

What is THR?

THR is the nation’s premier one-on-one college planning service. We enable families to take advantage of all possible means of funding for their child’s college education. THR specializes in leveraging numerous financial opportunities in the market to support one of the most important decisions in their life.

Why does THR exist?

Families need direction in many aspects of college planning. Academic Development, Financial Aid Assistance and Athletic Placement are keys to successful planning. This planning process also includes: completing applications correctly, appropriately marketing your child to the desired schools they wish to attend, seeking the academic and athletic scholarships available at each institution, gathering the necessary information to promote your child and maximize their position within the admissions departments at the various colleges and universities. Below are several factors that remind us why it is so important to utilize a professional service when considering the next phase of your child’s education.

1) Over 90% of college applications have some errors or inconsistencies which will negatively affect their chances of admission.

2) THR has completed thousands of applications and families have been rewarded an average of $23,000.

 3) The least amount a family has received using THR is $11,000.

 4) The average college education in 2012 will cost over $39,000.

5) The average amount a family spends on tutoring, courses and materials during the college planning process is over $6,000.


When you add the time and money spent on preparing just one child to go to college, the cost is alarming.  It is for this reason that more and more families are looking for help with the college recruiting process.

If you would like to register for THR‘s programs or obtain more information You may contact THR through our website, or call me at 732-239-0338.

Remember Elite Basketball Training provides you with the tools to take your game to the next level and THR‘s college planning services are a great way to take your game to the next level. 

Let me know what you think about THR and the college planning process in the comments section below. 

And don’t forget that that promotional price for Elite Basketball Training’s Speed and Agility Drills and Skills is goin on now at so don’t wait to get your hand on a product that can increase your court speed exponentially.

See you on the court.

Rich Stoner

Elite Basketball Training, LLC