Motor learning theory, basketball skill trainers, and skill development

Originally published in Hard2Guard Player Development Newsletters, Volume 5, available as a paperback or Kindle. To subscribe to the newsletter, go here

Whenever I write about trainers, trainers respond. Trainers tend to be defensive because the industry is not established fully. Many do not understand the reason or need for basketball trainers. As a basketball trainer, I see both sides of the issue. […]

Self-Determination Theory, Intrinsic Motivation, and Youth Sports Participation

The self-determination theory states that autonomy, competence, and relatedness maintain or enhance intrinsic motivation (Ryan & Deci, 2000). Interestingly, the theory is based on the idea that in many cases, we start with intrinsic motivation, and we need to find ways to maintain or not retard that motivation. Rather than trying to motivate someone, we need to avoid de-motivating him or her. This is especially true with youth sports, which are inherently enjoyable activities.  […]

The Myth of the Skilled Basketball Player

While we grossly misunderstand the talented basketball players, we also misunderstand the idea of skills. Being skilled does not mean dribbling in straight lines or knocking down jump shots in an empty gym. A skill within the context of an invasion game like basketball combines the ability to know what to do with the ability to execute efficiently and effectively. […]

The Myth of the Talented Basketball Player

There is a gross misunderstanding of talent in basketball. I read articles that suggest that the coaches of the uber-talented must “let them play” or that the uber-talented cannot fit into a style other than a stereotypical AAU game. Is a player talented if he excels only in 3v2 fast-breaks, isolations, or catch and dunk lobs? […]

Decision Making vs. Playmaking in Basketball

During my games this season, the player sitting next to me was treated to me saying “now, now, now” and “see him” many times. I said these statements far more than “no, no, no” or “that was a bad shot (pass)”. Our errors in decision-making were more often a non-action than the wrong action or improperly executed action. We missed players who were open more often than we forced passes into well-defended players or passed up open shots or lanes more often than we forced a bad, contested shot. […]

The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy and Coaching Behaviors

After watching a team for several games, one can see the effect of the coach’s behaviors on the team and the individual players. One frequent issue is a coach who lacks confidence in his or her post players. I have watched several coaches like this in the last couple years; regardless of what happened, the coach blames the post player.  […]