Staying Low in Basketball

The game of basketball when played properly is played from low to high.  While playing, basketball players should be in a low, balanced position.  This shoud be the norm througout the game whether they are on defense or offense.  Good players with the basketball, handle the ball low to the ground and then finish high at the rim or on their jump shot.  Good defenders will be in a low athletic stance in order to move affectively with the man that they are guarding.  Basketball players who are constantly standing up only make themselves less efficient, slower players.  By standing straight up during the course of play, the player is now forced to drop back down in order to elevate for a jumper, layup, or rebound.  This extra movement, makes them a slower player.   Despite this, many young players today refuse to get low while playing the game.  The reasons could vary from laziness, to a lack of strength, to not ever practicing staying low.  Whatever the reason is, it needs to be fixed!  Staying low is one of the most fundamental aspects of basketball that needs to be worked on, and it needs to be worked on in all facets of the game.  Getting low defensively, getting low while handling the ball, and getting low while beating your defender which is the subject of the video below.

In this basketball training video, the player is executing a drill which emphasizes the low position that is necessary as a player goes by their defender.  In this case, the player will make a move at the cone (the defender) in a low enough position that she can knock down the cone, then she must hold that position for a two count, and then push off the back leg for one dribble and finish high into her jump shot.  Holding the position will help her body understand the low, explosive position that she needs to get to in order to explode past the defender low and stay low until she elevates up into her jump shot.

Off to a Great Start


Yesterday’s Elite Basketball Skills and Drills Clinics  at The Salvation Army Gym in Red Bank, was my first clinic back into the area that I grew up playing basketball in, and boy was it exciting!  Thanks to local shooting instructor, Scott Byrne, the turnout for the clinic was great and the energy that the young players brought was even better.  For two hours, the players and coaches worked hard on skill development as well as speed, agility, footwork, and balance.  The atmosphere was fun and exciting and promises to be even better for each of the next three Sundays in October (Elite Basketball Skills and Drills Clinics). 

My wife was able to capture some great images of the players hard at work during some of their drills and they can be viewed on my Flickr account.

Thanks to all those who attended for making my return to the Monmouth County Area an exciting one and I look forward to working with all of you in the future.

See you on the court!

Rich Stoner

Elite Basketball Training, LLC

Two Basketball Pound Series

Someone once told me that if you eliminate your weak hand, then you cut off 50% of your options.  This could not be more true, yet many players do not or will not practice with their weak hand in order to make it better.  In the game of basketball, you should go by the rule that whatever you can do with your right hand, you can do the same with your left hand (or vice versa).  If that is not the case for you, then you need to start adding weak hand development drills into your basketball workouts, especially to your ball handling workouts. 

A good way to start to develop your weak hand in ball handling is by working out with two basketballs at once.  To start, keep it simple with some two ball pounds and then as you progress add some of the other dribbles that can be seen in the video below.  Try to be creative with this and challenge yourself with new dribbles and moves, and if you come up with any others that are not seen in the video feel free to let me know in the comments section.  Thanks and enjoy.

What it Takes to be Number One

This video came to me through an online basketball coaching group (I believe from Brian Williams  of the Coaches Toolbox) that I am a member of and I just had to share it with all of you.  It is a montage of some of Vince Lombardi’s greatest sayings and some actual video recordings of parts of his speaches.  I know this is a basketball specific website, but there is so much that can be learned from one of the greatest coaches of all time in any sport.  I hope that you enjoy and learn from What it Takes to be Number One.

Basketball Skills Workout

When it comes to basketball training, there are two phases that a basketball player really needs to work on.  One is strength and conditioning and the other is skill development.  About two weeks ago, I posted a prototypical strength workout that my basketball players go through.  The workout  is on a four day split and was meant to be done over the course of about a month before it was changed.  Since that time, I have been flooded with emails asking about a skills workout that basketball players can add to their training regimen.  Last week I spoke about the six keys to skill development and how they need to be included in your workout.  When designing a basketball skill workout, I always take these six keys into consideration and you will see those elements in the following workout. 

Dynamic Warmup

Basketball Specific Warmup: I usually start each workout with ball handling so my players usually go through a series of pound drills with either one ball or two.  Each specific dribble (crossovers, between the legs, inside outs) takes about 25 seconds.

Full court ball handling (w/ one ball or two balls): This usually consists of various full court ball handling drills that incorporate the different change of direction moves (crossover, between the legs, behind the back, spin dribble, etc.)  as well as changes of speed.  This is also meant to work on the player’s game specific conditioning, so rest between reps is often limited to 30 seconds or less.  Beginners usually perform one up and back per move at 75% of their max speed and two up and backs per move at full speed and I encourage you to add to that as the player advances and their conditioning increases. 

The next series of drills usually consists of weak hand development drills.  These drills incorporate passing the ball with your weak hand either on the catch, off a pound, out of a change of direction, or in a half court situation off the dribble.  For these drills, the player usually performs two drills that are stationary and two that are done while moving with the dribble.  During each drill, the player completes 8-10 reps per set with about 30 seconds rest in between sets.

My players will then get into their jump shooting or finishing drills or both depending upon the length of the workout.  If the player is focusing on finishing around the rim, they will start off with one or two warmup finishing drills like circle layups (which consists of continuous finishes off the catch).  Upon completion of the warmup, we will get into a series of finishing drills that incorporate creating space off the catch (like a side angle step across or rip through series) or finishing off the dribble (like a six cone attack drill).  Throughout both drills, it is important to incorporate various ways to create space and/or change direction.

If the player is working more on their jump shot that day, they will start off with a series of form shooting drills. We will then get into different shooting drills that allow that player to get shots off the catch and off the dribble.  All the while these drills must be done at game speed, from game spots.

With the finishing and shooting drills, the reps are usually determined by a number of makes.  In other words, the player must make 10 shots during a set or 50 shots during the workout.  It should be noted that if the focus of that workout is on jump shooting then the player will take considerably more jump shots in the hour or hour and half session. 

At the end of each set of drills the players are challenged to make a one and one free throw situation.  If they miss the front end, it is 10 pushups.  If they make the first and miss the second, it is five pushups.  If they make both, they do none.   

Often times, the players will finish with some sort of competition shooting game that puts pressure on the player to make shots consecutively.  For example, the Bird Drill is a five spot shooting drill that gives the player two minutes to see how far they can get around and back.  The key is that they cannot move from one spot until they have hit two jumpers in a row.  This is a challenging but fun drill that the players really enjoy.

This workout, is a template for some of the workouts that my players go through.  It can and should be modified to fit the player’s needs.  There is no one generic workout, that can be given to players because all players have their strengths and weaknesses that they need to work on.  However, there are certain apsects of the game that should be worked on in each training session, and I have tried to lay them out for you here and in my previous posts , The Six Keys to Basketball Skill Development and 10 Keys to a Shooting Workout.

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