Making sense of generational arguments about skill development

May 23rd, 2017

I don’t understand the following argument:

“Players from previous generations had more skill.”


“Players from previous generations were three-sport athletes.”


“Players from previous generations played more pickup games.”


“Players need to specialize earlier and train privately with individual coaches to improve their skills.” Read the rest of this entry »

Should we fix unusual technique?

January 26th, 2017

Originally published in Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, January/February 2017.

When we watch children play sports, we see errors. Their skill performance differs from our mental models, which tend to be based on our own experiences or our images of expert performers. When we see a young basketball player with an awkward-looking shot or a baseball player with a funky delivery on the pitching mound, we see mistakes and a need to correct. Read the rest of this entry »

The Press and Youth Development

April 18th, 2016

Here’s a poll I just posted on twitter and I’m interested in hearing people’s opinions. This is in regards to coaching kids in the 3rd-5th grade.

If you have twitter, feel free to vote and then explain your reasoning with a reply. I have my own thoughts but I’m going to keep them to myself until the poll is closed.

Monotony, pickup games, and free play

December 8th, 2015

My newest book, 21st Century Guide to Individual Skill Development, features a chapter on pickup games and a section on free play. I argue that these environments are ideal for skill development, and I use examples from my development, as well as research, to make my point. Of course, most basketball people (such as Stan Van Gundy and Kobe Bryant) argue against games for skill development, and many people view the number of games during the developmental years as the problem with skill development in the United States.  Read the rest of this entry »

21st Century Guide to Individual Skill Development

December 7th, 2015

21st Century Guide Front Cover

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What is skill development?

November 30th, 2015

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? Read the rest of this entry »

Elite Camps: Talent Identification and Player Development

August 7th, 2015

I worked an elite camp at the local university this week. For players who are searching for someone to recruit them, attending an elite camp is a worthwhile expense because elite camps tend to limit the number of participants, provide a decent level of competition, and grant access to the coaching staff beyond any other experience. As an example, there were two players who I had dismissed when watching during the high school season who I liked after watching them play with and against better players and meeting them individually. Of course, there was also a player who I was very high on during the season who really disappointed, so there’s that too.

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Podcast: Talking Fake Fundamentals

June 17th, 2015

The podcast is a longer conversation that I did with Coach Nick of Bball Breakdown about Fake Fundamentals.

Pro-Style Drills: How to Train like a Pro

June 3rd, 2015

I mentioned pro-style drills or training like a pro in Fake Fundamentals: Volume 2. In the off-season, it seems every private trainer uses one of these catch phrases in their marketing, as parents are drawn to anything associated with an NBA player.

Well, see above. Uncontested, block practice shooting drills. Pre-determined 1v1 moves. Finishing against a pad. NBA drills.

Does anyone really believe that these types of drills are the reasons that NBA players are NBA players?

By Brian McCormick, PhD
Director of Coaching, Playmakers Basketball Development League
Author, The 21st Century Basketball Practice and Fake Fundamentals

Playful practice with Jahlil Okafor

May 23rd, 2015

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