In January, Charles Barkley was quoted as saying that, ““I have said the exact same thing for 16 years here. I don’t like jump-shooting teams. I don’t think you can win the championship beating good teams shooting jumpers.” Barkley went on to say, “Klay (Thompson) and Steph (Curry) are great players, and they’ve got a great home court, but I’m just saying…in a seven-game series, I don’t think they can make enough jumpers…No disrespect to the Golden State Warriors. I like teams that are built inside-out.” Often times, I find myself agreeing with Charles Barkley. His analysis is candid, honest, and usually quite accurate. However, this time around I had a really hard time buying what he said. As a former coach, I too build my teams from the inside out and our goal was to get to the rim first, but it is not always that easy to get to the basket. The guys in the NBA are built like monsters and take up a ton of space. They are also quicker and more athletic so driving lanes close down much quicker. That being said jump shots are often times the only shot available and you need to make them in order to score. Golden State proved that this year by winning the NBA title as a jump shooting team. In fact, a case can be made that the San Antonio Spurs, although not dubbed a, “Jump Shooting Team” won the title last year because they moved the basketball and shot the ball far better from the perimeter than the Heat. Furthermore, The Dallas Mavericks won their title by also shooting the ball well from three. So as much as it pains me to say this, Charles…you are wrong
The Importance of the Jump Shot
In recent years, the three pointer is becoming more and more important to teams in the NBA and plays a large role in the success of that team. This season, of the nine teams that shot the most three pointers per game, eight made the playoffs and of the 10 teams who shot the lowest amount of threes per game on two made the playoffs. Interestingly enough, Golden State was fourth this season in three point attempts with Cleveland, the team they just defeated for the NBA championship, having the third most attempts. Going further, the ten teams with the highest three point percentages all made the playoffs while the seven lowest three point field goal shooting teams only had one team make it. I even made the case all winter long at my workouts that the two best jump shooting teams in the league, the Hawks and the Warriors had the best records. Finally, the last four teams left in the NBA this season all had the highest four three point shooting percentages in the playoffs. What do these stats prove? That jump shooting is vital to a team’s success and that the best jump shooting teams do actually win.
* All Stats courtesy of Paul Hoover
How You Can Improve Your Jump Shot
Jump shooting is about learning the proper mechanics and then shooting the ball properly a lot. Repetitions are great but only if they are good repetitions. Too many players have poor form and unfortunately for them, the never correct it and continue to reinforce those poor habits with bad repetitions. Finding a professional jump shooting coach could be a life saver for you when it comes to making more jump shots. If you are interested in learning the jump shooting secrets of the pros, check out Elite Basketball Training’s private jump shot training. We utilize the Pro Shot System and produce many great jump shooters each year.
The internet and the new technologically conscious culture we live in today has changed the way we view basketball. These days, people have the capability to watch all 30 NBA teams live on their cell phone. We have come a long way from the days of showing the NBA Finals on tape delay. This means that basketball training has changed as well. There are so many training tips and articles and videos online that kids these days have a world of knowledge at their fingertips. Specifically, the YouTube highlight tape and training tape sensation has taken off and become quite the craze.
Back in the day, if you wanted to see some highlights of a player, or how a player works out, it was almost impossible to access. Now, a simple search on YouTube will give any average internet user a million different videos to be able to watch as many times as they want. If you want to see a compilation of Kyrie Irving highlights from his high school days to his latest NBA game, it will be there.
If you want to see Kevin Durant’s off season workout regiment, you can find it.
This has changed basketball training because young players, young students of the game, can study the moves and the plays of the best players in the world. They can then practice these moves and add facets to their game that was harder to do before the YouTube age. This is an incredible development because players now can expand their games more than in any way before.
The other thing that has become immensely popular are basketball online web shows or “webisodes”. These webisodes have a documentary like format where the filmmaker follows a basketball player through his or her trials and tribulations trying to follow the hoop dream. Some popular ones include those made by Devin Williams, “Ten Thousand Hours” and “A Seasons Worth” which show all the training and workouts that young players in the San Francisco Bay Area go through to try and play college basketball. These videos also give viewers a behind the scenes look at these players lives and the sacrifices that they make. These videos are truly inspiring. They can be used as motivation for young players to strive to become better. They also provide lots of good drills and workouts that can be used.
Before the internet, a player would have to read a book to try and find basketball drills and workouts to hone their skills. And many times the book could not elaborate on details to perfect the drill and obviously could not create the best visuals. Now with training videos being so easily accessible, players can see and hear what they need to do and can see perfect demonstrations to try and improve upon their mistakes. Players should use their basketball trainer’s or basketball coach’s judgement to find videos that they think work for them. They can also work with something more fun or advanced than a coach might recommend. At the end of the day, if you are watching something that sharpens your skills or motivates you to be better then you can’t really go wrong. Young players should take advantage of this modern age we live in to try and be better than the older players who came before them.
Want to take it up another level? Look at the video of a pro, then video yourself mimicking the move, then analyze the difference. Repeat.
Summer is right around the corner. The sun will be shining and that means no more school. What is a baller to do all day? For those players who are serious about taking their game to the next level, the summer is where the real work happens. Ask any NBA player what they did all summer and they will tell you that they sharpened their swords while also adding a new weapon to their repertoire. That means they improved their fundamentals, their bread and butter, but also added something new to their game. The summer time provides a ton of time for young players to work out and get better. However, in order to get the most out of the summer you need to do it right.
Set Basketball Training Goals
Setting work out goals is a great way to measure progress. If you struggled at the free throw line set a goal to shoot 100 free throws every day. If you can only bench press 100 pounds one time but know you need to be throwing up 135 ten times, then let that be your goal. If you are grabbing the rim and want to dunk, then wrap your head around doing what it takes to accomplish that. If you are not the fastest guy on your team attack a basketball speed and agility program. Whatever your basketball goal may be, set a high yet attainable goal in the summer and take the necessary steps to accomplishing that goal. If you aren’t quite sure what you need to work on, ask your coach. Your coach can provide you with information on what they need or want you to work on in order to best help the team the following season. Then share that information with your basketball trainer so you can build a basketball training agenda.
Be Organized In Your Basketball Agenda
Once you have that goal or goals set, be organized in measuring your progress. Write it down your new records in your phone so you always have it with you or you could even go old school and make a chart or tally it all in a notebook. Whatever is easiest for you, or however you can best track your progress, do so. The satisfaction in seeing a hard copy of your progress is a special feeling.
Be Consistent in Training
There is no point in setting a goal if you aren’t going to consistently try and reach it. Nike had a campaign last year that said “Summer is Serious” and they were right. Be serious in trying to get better and accomplishing what you want to accomplish. You will only get out what you put in.
Summers can be very long or very short depending on how you look at them. At the college level (and most high school basketball programs,) the pre-season basketball workouts and basketball specific conditioning start when school starts. If you wasted most of your summer relaxing at the beach and think you can get your game back and get in shape during that last week, then you are mistaken. That would be a short summer. A long summer is the one where a player spent countless hours in the gym doing the basketball drills and killed themselves all the time working to get better. By time the pre-season started they were tired but knew that they were prepared.
Balance Skill Development With Speed And Agility Training
Having great skills is not enough in basketball. You need to be able to perform them at high rates of speed while staying on balance and changing directions. Consider buying our basketball speed and agility program by clicking below and getting to work on adding speed to your game.
Recharge off the Basketball Court
There is plenty of time to work out in the summer but don’t forget to take some time for yourself. Even the pro’s take a day or two on rare occasions to catch some rays or hit up a barbeque with the family. Don’t stress yourself out trying to be the guy who was the most dedicated during the summer. If you spend the time it takes to be great and reach the high yet attainable goals you set for yourself, then you should be all set once the season starts.
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!
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.