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? […]

Game Awareness and Ball Handling

As I watched a group do a simple ball-handling game, I realized an unintended consequence. Because of space constraints, I played one big game rather than several small games, and used multiple balls to increase the activity. When I added the third ball, things really got interesting. The third ball (with 15 players) really forced all the players to be aware of their surroundings. Players turned their backs, lost sight of one of the ball handlers and suddenly were tagged without ever seeing the player who tagged him. With younger players, and more players, the drill worked even better. […]

3v3 Leagues Offer the Best Developmental Environment

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When looking at the best players in middle school, high school and college, what skills separate the players? If we eliminate physical attributes like height which we cannot control, and adjust for athletic skills beyond the purview of most coaches like strength, agility and quickness, what technical and tactical skills separate the best players from the average players? If I could condense the ideas into one phrase, I would say that finishing plays separate the best from the average: the best players make better decisions and more shots inside the scoring zone than average players who miss open teammates or take more contested shots.

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Teaching the Overlooked Skills

An ESPN ScortsCenter’s top play last night was this goal by FC Bayern’s Thomas Mueller’s goal: Watch the goal again. Everyone notices the skill of the shot. It is an amazing strike with an incredible degree of difficulty. However, the goal is only possible because of what Mueller does before beginning his strike while the Read more about Teaching the Overlooked Skills[…]

Zone Defense and Player Development

Many coaches feel that youth teams should not be allowed to play zone defense. They believe that man-to-man defense increases player development. The perception is that zones are lazy. It is true that zones can take advantage of young players’ lack of strength to shoot three-pointers and throw skip passes. However, for players this young, Read more about Zone Defense and Player Development[…]