Salem Hoops Project Winter Schedule

Free basketball clinics continue this winter! These clinics will be for boys and girls in grades K-5. All clinics are at McKay High School and will run from Noon-1pm. The dates are as follows: November 11 November 24 December 22 January 19 January 26 February 16 March 6

Contact me at for more info.

Salem Hoops Project Summer Camp

It has been a great spring for the Salem Hoops Project. Through weekly clinics for elementary and middle school we were able to provide training opportunities for nearly 100 kids in the NE Salem area. Our summer camp will run from June 16-18. It is for boys and girls in grades K-8. The elementary camp (K-5) will be from 9-10 am and the middle school (6-8) will be from 10:30-11:30 am. Please consider grade level in terms of the recent school year, 2013-14. For more information, email me at . Also make sure to check out the Salem Hoops Project on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!SHPsummerCampLarge.jpg

A New View on Being a Coach

“Knowing the reason you were given a gift and a passion was for someone else’s platform.”

I recently viewed a spoken word piece from rapper Propaganda titled, “Was It All Worth It?” Propaganda is from my favorite group of musicians known as Humble Beast (one of the main sources of inspiration for the Salem Hoops Project). This specific piece by Propaganda caused me to reflect on myself as a coach and the purpose behind why I do it. I looked back on where my mind was a few years ago and the direction I wanted to go in coaching. My ambition was to build myself up as a great coach and trainer so that I could enable myself to earn a high position bringing me more recognition and a larger income. In other words, I coached to make myself look great rather then help my player become great. My desire to see players succeed actually stemmed from my selfish ambition to be seen as one of the greatest.

“What if you knew that greatness would never come, just struggle?”

Somewhere in the last year and a half I finally reached a new level as a coach. This had nothing to do with accolades, but with mindset. I finally understood that my job as a coach was to help others reach their goals while sacrificing my ambition for lofty achievements. I’m sure many coaches can relate to the trap I was in where I viewed my players’ achievements as a reflection of my own ability rather than the product of their growth and maturation.

I define #GrindRepeat as the consistent output of positive decisions and diligent actions. The end result of this is open to interpretation and dependent on your view of success. My new, personal challenge as a coach is to view my work as a means to help my players achieve their goals. In other words, understanding that the reason I was given a passion for the game is to be someone else’s platform.

“Would you sign up for little league knowing you’d never go pro?”

My challenge to players and coaches is to think about why they put everything they have  into the game. Would you do it even if you knew that the result might not benefit you as much as it did others? Propaganda ends his piece by saying, “it’s a good thing we can’t see the future, cause we’d ruin it every chance we get.”

Highlights From the Stronger Team Huddle

I had the opportunity to attend my second Stronger Team Huddle a couple weeks ago. Even though I went to the one in the fall, it’s always valuable to sit in on a group of experienced trainers and take in any nuggets of information I can. The Stronger Team Huddle was led by Alan Stein and Henry Barrera on the Nike World Headquarters campus. Here are three main ideas I took away from the experience.


Redefine what “basketball athleticism” is


They showed a picture of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard side by side and asked the group who was the better athlete. It was unanimous that Howard was by far the dominant athlete in the minds of the attendees. However, the Stronger Team discussed that a case could be made for Nash if we redefine what “basketball athleticism” is measured by. The obvious characteristics are speed, quickness, and vertical leap. But in addition, important tools of being an athlete in the sport of basketball include coordination, balance, and reaction time.


Match the game in training - - energy and movement


Two important aspects of training they identified were matching energy requirements and movement patterns. Basketball is a game of quick bursts followed by short rest. Thus, effective training should match that. Jogging 3 miles does not simulate the way basketball is played because the game does not require you to go half speed for a long period of time. In regards to movement, using the Functional Movement Screen is beneficial for finding your map to athletic mobility. However, strengthening specific movements can help you with your agility on the court. The Stronger Team mentioned that lunging is one of the most important movements in basketball because of the amount of times that pattern is mimicked.


Teach the athlete before you train the athlete

Everybody wants their athletes to get stronger and faster, but it’s important to teach them how to move properly first. Focus on form and execution before you encourage strength gains. The number one priority in any training program is safety. Correct form on exercises sets the basis for a safe program and allows for the program to develop your athletes the right way.

Thoughts on the NCAA Tournament - - Rebounding

This has to be one of the most competitive NCAA tourneys I have seen. So many games have come down to final possessions. In my observation, one of the most important factors for teams that came within minutes from moving on was giving up offensive rebounds. It really got me thinking about the game in general and why this is such a problem for some teams? Here are some of my thoughts. Raw athleticism does not always determine a rebounding advantage

Some evenly matched teams have lopsided rebounding numbers, and some teams lacking size outrebound their opponents. Simply having a more athletic or bigger team does not guarantee keeping teams off the boards.

If the best college players in the nation can’t perfect it, how can we raise the level of high school players?

Sometimes we call it a simple thing. We tell players take care of the things you control, like rebounding. But if the top 8 division 1 teams in the country are giving up boards in crucial times, can we really control it at the high school level?

Can rebounding be taught?

Does it all come down to heart and desire? Do you need the ball to bounce your way? I have tried numerous different ways to teach blocking out and the fundamental of defensive rebounding. Yet, the outcome is really game to game, never concrete evidence that the drills are paying off.

Is blocking out bigger than a ‘little thing’?

As coaches, we like to use the term ‘the little things’. Offensive rebounds can be the fine line between losing and winning in many cases. Is it time we stop referring to blocking out as a little thing?

These are just my thoughts after watching a small amount of college basketball these past few weekends (maybe more than a small amount). I would love some feedback from your point of view. Join the conversation on Twitter using #SHP.