The evolution of basketball, play, and practice

Kobe Bryant’s comments earlier this season about the lack of skill development in American players highlighted the angst felt by many who are involved with basketball in the United States. Whether right or wrong, basketball has changed over the last generation. I find it hard to argue that the U.S. cannot produce skilled players anymore when I watch NBA games with Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant and others, but when I watch recruiting videos of 18 and 19 year-old non-elite players from the U.S. and Europe, I find myself favoring the European players (Of course, part of the argument that is missing is that I am comparing players who play for the junior national teams in their home countries to players who would be ranked well outside the top 250 players in the United States).  […]

Learning tricks or improving game performance

Originally published in Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, July/August 2014.

My 18-year-old back-up point guard approached me after a workout and asked about a Youtube video that he had seen. He said that he watched a basketball trainer do a drill where he combined different ball-handling moves like a crossover dribble or a spin move with picking up and setting down cones. He asked if I could show him how to do the drill, and if I thought the drill would help him. […]

Deliberate practice: The maintainer or the trainer

I was a basketball trainer, one of the legions of former players and coaches who earn an income working privately with basketball players. To some, this is evidence of an epidemic of misplaced priorities, as young players seek additional coaching and training much like a professional athlete; however, to others it offers hope to young athletes motivated to work hard and succeed. It depends on one’s perspective. […]