What is skill development?

Recently, I read several articles that suggested that children need more skill development. Of course. It is the same as suggesting that players should play hard or that practice makes you better. These are uncontroversial statements with which almost nobody disagrees. However, nobody defines skill development. It is similar to fundamentals. These are terms that are used frequently and rarely defined because everyone assumes that we know what each other means. What do people mean by skill development? […]

When part practice goes wrong

Over the last few weekends, I refereed the end of the season tournaments for youth soccer; most teams were club teams, whatever that means, and some have professional (i.e. paid) coaches. These teams dutifully performed the FIBA11+ warmup or something similar prior to their first game of the day (rarely do they perform the same warmup prior to their second game, as they typically warmed up with passing or dribbling drills between fields). […]

Indecision with the ball

A friend sent me an email with the following drill:

How to develop an explosive dribble

Only allow one dribble to get to the hoop after grabbing the ball off the chair to develop an explosive, fast first step.

Why use it

Too often players look indecisive with the ball in a game – give them a lot of first–step repetitions in practice so they are better prepared to attack in game situations.

Set up

Place a chair near the 3–point line at the top of the key. Place a ball on the chair facing the player. The player is in a basketball position with knees bent and hands ready to grab the ball.

How to play

Snatch the ball off the chair and attack the basket. The player is allowed one dribble. If the dribble isn’t explosive enough, then the player isn’t close enough to the basket to shoot the layup.

When the dribble is explosive, the player plants off the left foot and surges toward the hoop completing a power layup.

Technique

Players quickly learn they must explode with the only dribble they are allowed or be forced to shoot 10 feet from the basket. Institute a penalty for a missed shot, which makes getting to the basket and creating a higher percentage shot all more worthwhile.

[…]

Children Shall Dunk – Or How to Re-imagine Basketball

We should re-imagine basketball.

The current rules are designed to suit men’s top level. Elite players can go coast-to-coast in a flash, palm the ball, throw end-to-end passes, dunk the ball thunderously, hit threes as if they were lay-ups. You know, do all kinds of cool stuff and play in 3D. […]

Self-discovery in youth sports development

Originally published in Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, November/December 2015.

During my junior year of college, I assisted with a girls’ basketball team in the HoopMasters AAU program. After several months, a mother asked if I would work with her daughter on her shooting. She offered to pay me.  […]

Creativity in coaching basketball

“In action and adventure sports, creativity is always the point,” wrote Steven Kotler in The Rise of Superman. “Football is a matter of creativity and imagination,” said former French footballer David Ginola in Dave Wright’s Performance Soccer Coach. In basketball, one rarely hears creativity mentioned so prominently as in other sports. Soccer coaches constantly mention creativity. Last week, Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger went even further than creativity and invoked beauty: […]

What Gets Charted Gets Done

In Arizona our basketball season starts this week with tryouts.  I have been prepping for the past two weeks on material for our annual lock-in where our student-athletes stay in the gym overnight to become immersed in our culture, parent meeting information and the other admin tasks that go along with coaching.  In addition, my wife implored me to clean up our office as my stuff, mainly basketball related, is in stacks everywhere.  While cleaning up the office I came across an article by Jim Burson – Solution Based Basketball about offense.  The biggest takeaway for me was “things that get charted, get done”. […]

My coaching journey

When I conducted coaching clinics in Canada last month, several coaches asked how I ended up different than most coaches. There is, I suppose, a presumption about most coaches implied in that question, and my answer obviously reflected my bias of a stereotypical coach or the representative of most coaches. Despite these implications, I feel confident that people who know me from coaching or my writing about coaching put me towards a different end of a spectrum than most coaches. So, how did I become different? […]