Salem Hoops Project Seeking Donations

I am thrilled by the momentum the Salem Hoops Project is gaining. The goal with this project was to provide opportunities to boys and girls of all socio-economic status. What I have seen is a great response of participants and parents. We have served over 250 kids since the summer of 2013, and each clinic produces first time attenders. It's time to take it a step further. One of my visions when I started this was to not only teach the game in an environment that encourages personal growth as well as athletic growth. Now that I have seen the movement happen, I would love to start building what can become something even more special.

We are seeking donations to help provide athletic equipment for children who attend the Salem Hoops Project clinics. This ranges from basketballs to healthy snacks and also will stretch to raffle prizes given at the end of camp. To donate, visit .


Roman holding his Nike basketball that he won in a recent clinic.

Improve Your Nutrition

I had the honor of speaking at my dad’s release party for his most recent book. Because his book is about young athlete’s and their stories of success, he wanted me to share some tips on nutrition for athletes and parents supporting their children. Starting from when I was 9 years old, I steadily became more and more overweight. As someone who loved basketball and desperately wanted to succeed, this was quite a hindrance to any success on the court. It was in my junior year while I was playing on the JV team when the varsity coach told me I could play a significant role the following year if I was able to improve my athleticism. This started with a change in my nutritional habits.

Most athletes and parents of athletes are willing to put in mass amounts of time and resources into performance training of all kinds. And while hard work in the gym is crucial to improvement, proper nutrition can restrict progress. However, it can also accelerate progress.

Here are 5 tips that you can start today.

1. Drink water

My guess for any young athlete is that they are not drinking nearly enough water. Water allows the body to function. It is best to drink water consistently throughout the day as opposed to waiting until you are thirsty. Proper hydration aids in digestion, immune strength, and energy levels.

2. Eat vegetables

The popular phrase for gaining more energy is “carb loading.” Most people reach for pasta or other grain-based products. Yet, most people neglect vegetables as the ideal source of carbohydrates. Many veggies have higher carb levels than breads and pastas. Also, grain based carbs spike insulin in a hurry, which lead to a crash shortly after (i.e. the Thanksgiving nap. Despite popular belief, it’s not the turkey’s fault).

3. Pack a lunch

School meals were developed for low cost and quick disbursement. Nutritional guidelines are shaky, for example including pizza as a vegetable serving because it contains tomato sauce (isn't a tomato a fruit, anyway?). Pack your own lunch containing whole foods. A school lunch eaten on a daily basis will compound into decreased health and performance throughout the school year.

4. Take fish oil

Fish oil was made popular for its benefit on heart health. In addition, the omega-3 content it provides is crucial for cognitive development and joint health. This is a safe supplement for all ages.

5. Sleep BETTER

This doesn’t necessarily mean sleep more. Sleeping better means raising the quality of your sleep in addition to getting 8-9 hours per night. Better sleep involves a consistent routine of sleep/wake times along with your activity before you hit the bed. Try to avoid any electronic stimulation at least 30 minutes prior to bed. Yes, this limits falling asleep while tweeting or snapchatting.

What is Winning Without Teaching?

Should winning be more important to this guy than learning how to pivot?During a conversation with a friend last week, it was brought up that a friend of his was coaching his son’s 5th grade team. Naturally, I asked how the season was going. He went on to tell me how the program director for the school his team fed into was coming down on him for not getting enough wins nor placing an emphasis on winning. My concern with youth basketball is that adults are placing too much emphasis on winning without thinking of the big picture. If a 5th grade team goes undefeated, does that guarantee future success? Is it a good indicator of improvement at the fundamental skills? Does it necessarily mean that the coach did a great job of teaching the kids?

I’m not an old timer in the sense that I can remember a time when all players were solid in the fundamentals by the time they reached a certain level of play. I can always remember teammates and opponents who had serious deficiencies. (Let’s not even bring up my lack of skills)

However, I know that there is a consistent problem with incoming freshman being able to do the basic individual fundamentals, let alone have a decent understand of a team concept. These are even kids who played on the so-called best team in the city as 8th graders.

While there is no quick fix to this, as coaches who work with young athletes, we can continue to do our jobs of teaching the basics, regardless of how boring or unappealing they may be. Competition has it’s place and is a great thing, but without teaching fundamental skills, we are doing a disservice to our kids.

How Do You Prepare for Practice?

Foam rolling is a great way to physically prepare for practice. I enjoy getting to practice early. My habit of sweeping the floor is one that I seem to enjoy. It allows for me to prepare mentally for the day and think about the key points that need to be made for each drill. Being at practice early also gives me a picture of what players do to prepare for practice. If practice is used to prepare you for a game, then preparing for practice efficiently is vital.

Here are a few examples of what I have witnessed through the years from players getting ready for practice.

The Launchers

Nothing gets you more ready for practice then shooting half-court shots, right?

The Sleepers

Why step on the floor any sooner than you have to, right? I mean, you’re already going to be there for 2 hours. Use your bag as a pillow and wait for the whistle.

The Timekeepers

Practice doesn’t start until 3, so don’t worry about being in the gym , or for that matter on the court, any sooner.

Just as games take preparation, practice does as well. Here are a few ways you can change your practice preparation.

Prepare physically

Although most teams should start practice with a structured dynamic warmup, it is still a great idea to physically prepare before practice. This might involve form shooting, footwork improvement, or ballhandling work. There is never enough time in practice to cover everything you need to improve as a player.

Connect emotionally

The best memories I have of basketball are through the relationships I have built. Take time before practice to ask a teammate how their day was or simply have a conversation that will strengthen your relationship.

Engage mentally

Reflect of past games and practices and visualize different things you need to make improvements on. Identify a couple of keys for the day that will help you improve individually and therefore help your team continue to get closer to its maximum potential.

2013 Book List

I set out this year with the goal of reading 36 books (3 per month). Although I didn’t quite reach that number, I am still happy with the books I was able to read and learn from. I always enjoy looking at other people’s reading list, so I thought I would share mine. If you have any recommendations for my 2014 reading, feel free to let me know. 1. Connected Christianity, Art Azurdia 2. Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations, John Wooden 3. Love Does, Bob Goff 4. Not A Fan, Kyle Idleman 5. Renovation of the Heart, Dallas Willard 6. Earthen Vessels, Matthew Lee Anderson 7. God’s At War, Kyle Idleman 8. The Little Book of Talent, Daniel Coyle 9. God is Closer Than You Think, John Ortberg 10. Death By Love, Mark Driscoll 11. Crazy Love, Francis Chan 12. The Grace of Great Things, Robert Gruden 13. The Jesus I Never Knew, Phillip Yancey 14. Wild At Heart, John Eldridge 15. Follow Me, David Platt 16. Radical, David Platt 17. Fasting, Jentezen Franklin 18. Servant Leadership, J. Oswald Sanders 19. The Bookends of the Christian Life, Jerry Bridges 20. Follow Me to Freedom, Shane Clairborne and John Perkins 21. The Crowd, The Critic, The Muse, Michael Gungor 22. Just Do Something, Kevin DeYoung 23. The Hole in Our Holiness, Kevin DeYoung 24. Forgotten God, Francis Chan 25. David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell 26. Biblical Ethics, Oswald Chambers 27. The Moral Foundations of Life, Oswald Chambers 28. Reflections on The Leadership Challenge, James Kouzes and Barry Posner

December Salem Hoops Project Youth Clinic

DecemberClinic The December Salem Hoops Project youth clinic has been scheduled for December 23rd. This clinic is free to all boys and girls in grades K-5. To register, send an email to and provide your child's name, grade, and school. We are looking forward to a great clinic! There will be a raffle for Nike Elite socks after the clinic.

We had 16 kids at last month's clinic. It would be great to get to 30 this month!

Highlights from The Stronger Team Huddle

I had the fortunate opportunity to attend the Stronger Team Huddle this past weekend at the Nike World Headquarters. This was a clinic that taught the latest in basketball specific athleticism. The Stronger Team is headlined by Alan Stein, but also featured Blair O’Donovan, Matt Johnson, and Henry Barrera (who I have the privilege of working side by side with on a consistent basis). There was plenty of useful information during the 3-day event. Here are three key takeaways I wanted to share: Tests should not be used as a predictor of success

In basketball, we value things like vertical leap. If a player is in high school and can dunk, it is a common assumption among some people that he must be good at basketball. However, using tests such as the vertical leap, max bench press, or measured speed are not a great way to compare players and determine who will be successful. These tests are great to compare players with themselves and measure athleticism growth. Comparing players with each other should rely on categories such as attendance and effort.

What should be done everyday, is not done everyday

And by consequence, what shouldn’t be done every day, is done everyday. Players always want to play, lift and get in the gym to work on their skills. However, doing these things everyday can lead to physical and mental fatigue. Everyday activities should include mobility and flexibility work. This is easy to do and not time consuming, yet even easier to overlook. Be disciplined and take the time to perform corrective exercises and flexibility routines.

Focus on quality work and build up slow

Everybody is in a hurry. Players are constantly pushed into training programs they are not physically ready for. Stein uses the term “brick by brick approach.” A perfectly built brick building is not put together instantaneously. Somebody has taken the time to meticulously lay each brick with precision and detail. Focus on doing little things well, and they will add up to tremendous growth.

Salem Hoops Project

It has been a while since my last post. My summer has been filled with coaching for McKay HS, helping to run the Willamette Pro Hoop Camp, and training kids at Shoot 360. Most importantly, the start of my new organization took form. The Salem Hoops Project was initiated in July, and has provided nearly 50 kids in the Salem area with free basketball training. Basketball training should not be such a luxury that only a limited number of kids have the chance to participate. Camps can cost anywhere between $300-400 for one week. For some families, that is a month of rent. The Salem Hoops Project was formed with those kids in mind. Basketball is a game, and more importantly, can be an avenue for growth and development for youth. It does not always have to be a business.

I am excited for the future of this. My vision is constantly being updated. I will still be open for one-on-one training session at my normal rate of $30 per 30-minute workout. But I will first point people to the free group workouts. High school workouts will resume in September. The elementary and middle school programs will begin in November. Stay updated on Facebook and Twitter.

Check out this clip from one of our summer workout sessions!