I'm excited to be running a camp again! This camp will be for boys who are entering the 6th-8th grade next school year. It will be from June 17-20, 9 AM-Noon each day. We will only be accepting 60 participants total. The cost is $50 for the week, but scholarships are available. Click here for the brochure and registration form!
If you watch Steph Curry play, you quickly realize that he gets a good amount of shots up throughout the game. You also realize that Coach Mark Jackson encourages that. And there is a definite reason for that. The guy is a great shooter. He has the green light. Want to know the secret to becoming a great shooter? Click here.
The NCAA Tournament is in full swing, meaning there is no shortage of games on TV. For basketball fans, this is the best time of the year. From the cinderella stories to the friendly competition of bracket pools, we can easily become consumed during this tournament. It is easy for even those who usually don’t follow basketball to become fans for a few weeks. But what if you are striving to become a great player? Part of maturing as an athlete is becoming a student of your sport. The older and more serious you get about basketball, the more important it becomes to be a student of the game. This involves placing value on more important things than dunks, blocks, and crossovers. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the highlights, but it is beneficial to your growth as a player to look for the details of the game.
Here are some things you can do when you watch to become a student of the game.
Get your eyes off the ball
Watch how players move without the ball. How do they set screens? How do they read screens? What do they do after they screen? It is great to watch the really good teams to see what efficient movement is. But it can also be helpful to watch bad teams to see what things shouldn’t look like. Think back to your game film during the season and compare to the good teams and the bad teams.
Follow your position
Find a good player who plays the same position as you and watch how they play the position. Not just when they have the ball, but also when they are away from the ball. How do they transition from defense to offense? Or offense to defense? How are they being successful at their position?
Especially a good defensive team. Where are they positioned away from the ball? What is their footwork like on and off the ball? Where are their hands? Great defensive teams are easy to point out: they win.
Maybe the most important aspect of becoming a student of the game to actually watch basketball games. Don’t settle for 2k or Sportscenter. Watch whole games. There’s nothing wrong with watching NBA games, but make sure you watch some college games as well. The high-achieving mid-major teams are often the most fundamental. The reason for this is because NBA players are a different type of athlete. The things that NBA players are doing are not realistic for high school players to emulate. Make sure you mix in some high level college basketball and study what being great at the fundamentals entails.
Spring break is only a week away. And next season is only 8 months away. It’s time to start formulating a plan to improve as player and help your team improve. Getting in the gym is a good start, there is much more to it then being in the gym for crazy amounts of time. The spring is also a great time to rest your body after 4 grueling months. As you move into your spring training program, here are some things that can help you prepare for next season right now.
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Most likely you have lost muscle and strength during the season. Even if you maintained an in-season training program, the amount of stress your body was under probably deteriorated some of your strength. The spring is a great time to put on muscle. The goal shouldn’t be to gain a specific amount of muscle weight, but rather to increase strength. As a basketball player, it isn’t extremely important to be bulky. It’s more important to be strong. Building strength now will set the foundation for speed, quickness, and explosion.
In order to develop strength, your body has to rest. Part of rest is sufficient recovery. Doing mobility exercises, corrective exercises, and foam rolling are great things to do instead of steady-state aerobic activities like jogging or biking. Another aspect of rest is mental rest. Find time to do leisure activities that you don’t have time for during the season. And, of course, sleep! Develop a regular sleep schedule. For example, in bed every night by 10 pm and awake every morning by 6:30 am. This helps your body and mind much more than staying up til 2 am and sleeping until noon.
Grow your skill set
Every player has weaknesses. LeBron is arguably the best player in the world and is still hounded about certain aspects of his game. You can, and need to, get better. Talk with your coach and figure out what you can improve on to help your team succeed. Regardless of what your personal limitations are as a player, everybody should be looking, at the least, to improve their ability to shoot and handle the ball. Rather than just getting mass amount of shots up, try to improve your shooting mechanics first.
If you play a spring sport, you are still doing something productive. Developing as an overall athlete is something that is overlooked nowadays (and something I overlooked as a young athlete). But if you plan on spending your spring time playing 2k and tweeting with plans of killing it on the court next season, you need to figure it out!
I noticed recently a college player had tweeted 20K times. Assuming 30 secs per tweet, that could have been 167 hrs in the gym. Just saying!
— Ron Bradley (@DrRonBradley) February 20, 2013
The regular season is coming to an end, with many teams fighting for playoff seeding. While some players will elevate their level of play, others will find that they are fatigued. I talked earlier about training to prepare for a season, but many players neglect to develop a productive in-season training program. Throughout the season, players’ are experiencing strong wear and tear on their bodies. Even those who have been able to remain healthy find themselves feeling sore and stiff. When this feeling sets on, it can be easy to neglect any extra training and opt for the couch.
In-season training is vital to maintain your level of performance. While it is possible to improve your performance in-season, the main objective is to maintain. Here are some tips on in-season training:
If you are getting tired in the games, running 3 miles after practice is not the answer. This will only do more harm to your athletic performance. Steady-state cardiovascular exercise actually decreases muscle more than it builds. It also adds extra stress on your joints. Strength training is the best way to keep your muscle mass and maintain your performance.
Quality over quantity
Quick, intense workouts are preferred over long workouts. Remember, you are practicing for 2 hours at a high-level. The last thing you need is an added 90 minute workout. Try and be productive in a 30-45 minute time period.
Recover, recover, recover
The most important one of them all. It is hard to be overtrained, but it is easy to be under recovered. It is vital that you don’t neglect the importance of recovery activities such as foam rolling, mobility work, and stretching. Not only will these help you maintain your performance, but they will also decrease your chance of non-contact injuries.
Alex Roth (Sr., West Salem HS) is currently having his best season to date. A large part of his success is the attention he has started to give his off-court training. Last fall, he started training with Kevin Turner in Keizer, OR. I am very thankful to Alex for allowing me to feature one of his workouts on my blog. Good luck with the rest of the season!
(Check out Kevin Turner’s blog and training info at kevinturnerfitness.com)
The high school and college seasons are over halfway finished. As the season wears, it is common for players to become content with where they are at. This has the possibility to lead to a decrease in shooting consistency. As the post-season draws near, getting reps is crucial to maintaining consistency. In the off-season, most players (the ones who want to get better) know the importance of making a certain number of shots per workout. Shooting the ball correctly on a consistent basis leads to a consistent shot when the season comes.
During the season, most teams don’t spend a large part of practice time on shooting. Teams are working on game plans, improving team defense, and keeping the team offense sharp. If you are not getting enough repetitions shooting the ball in practice, it becomes your responsibility to get into the gym and get your reps in.
Here are some suggestions for your in-season shooting workouts:
Think about where your shots are coming from in game situations.
Just as only a small percentage of players average double-figures in scoring, only a small number of players shoot shots in a game from all over the floor. Chances are, you consistently shoot in a game from 2-3 spots. Think about your games (or better yet, watch game film) and see exactly where your shots are coming from.
Focus on quality over quantity.
Get in, and get out. Playing 2 games and practicing 3-4 days per week takes its toll on your body. Focus on getting quality shots up as opposed to getting a ton of poorly executed shots up. In-season workouts should probably be 30 minutes or less.
Keep your technique consistent.
Good OR bad. At this point, a major overhaul to your form might be more detrimental than helpful. However, minor tweaks can do wonders if you are in a slump. Whatever you do, keep it the same on every shot. Inconsistent form leads to inconsistent shooting.
Energy is thought of something that we have to produce ourselves, or that we need to obtain from an outside source (caffeine for most people). We wake up reluctantly and tell ourselves that we need our coffee or (even worse) energy drink to wake. Halfway through the day, we feel out of it, so we search more caffeine. These examples are reactive ways of producing energy. We react to the feeling of being tired and believe that the only way to gain energy is through an outside source at THAT exact moment. The problem of reacting to produce energy is that we live in constant state of depletion, continuously seeking ways to help us feel energized. Our energy deficit is too great to overcome.
Being proactive about your energy will help you maintain your levels of mental, emotional, and physical being. Living in a way that promotes energy gain (rather than energy recovery) will help you enjoy your daily life, physically feel better, and be more productive with your time and activities.
Here are some keys to proactive energy:
It is key that you get an optimal amount of sleep. Optimal quantity AND quality. Not too little, and not too much. For most people, it will be between 7-9 hours. Perhaps the most overlooked factor in the QUALITY of your sleep is the consistency of your sleep and rise times. Sleep patterns that are inconsistent will lead to higher stress levels and less mental focus. Be consistent with your sleep!
In particular, strength training. You NEED muscle. You don’t need to be on the level of an elite athlete, but you do need to be continuously adding muscle. If you are not building muscle, you are losing muscle. Gaining strength makes your daily activities much easier. If you strength train, you are also losing fat, which improves your body composition, metabolism, and overall ability to move better.
If your diet consists of drive-thru’s and packaged food, you are limiting your energy levels. Our bodies need to be fed with food we were meant to eat. The better your nutrition, the longer your energy will last. Eating a diet filled with vegetables, meat, and fruit is like filling up with gas before a long road trip. Filling your diet with candy, chips, and things of that liking is the same as starting the road trip by only putting in $3 of gas in at a time. You are going to need to stop real soon and put $3 more dollars again and again to be able to keep going.
While sleep and nutrition are both crucial parts of recovery, there is a lot more to this concept. Recovery is not only physical, but mental and emotional. It is specific to individuals, depending on their daily lives. If your job is a high-stress environment, it’s important to take mental breaks throughout the day. Maybe this involves taking a walk, reading a book, or taking a few minutes to focus on your breathing. Whatever it is, make it consistent. One of the most important aspects of recovery is maintaining a balance of physical activity and inactivity. If you are highly active during the day, make sure you are taking time to be inactive. For most people, it works the other way. Days are spent at a desk, which means to you need to be physically active in your time away from the job.
Question for thought... Which of these four areas are you neglecting the most in your life? Start with your biggest weakness, and watch your energy levels begin to increase.
"True progress in any field is a relay race and not a single event."-John Cavett
My favorite event in track and field is the 4 x 100 relay. Some people might argue that it is the most exciting event in all of sport. The speed and precision it takes to win the event causes spectators to hold their breath at every baton exchange. Each runner must do their part in order to successfully finish the race. Each runner must complete their portion of the race for their team. It is a true collaboration of talent.
Too many times in basketball, players COMPETE with their teammates. They get caught up in trying to get more playing time, trying to take more shots, and trying to impress the coaching staff more than the other players. This, however, limits the individual’s effectiveness and, most importantly, limits the team’s potential.
Just like in a relay race, individuals working together beat individuals working alone. Here is a list of the finishers of the men’s 4 x 100 relay during the 2012 Olympic Games:
1. Jamaica (36.84) 2. USA (37.04) 3. Trinidad & Tobago (38.12) 4. France (38.16) 5. Japan (38.35) 6. Netherlands (38.39) 7. Austrailia (38.43)
And here is the world record in the men’s 400 meter race:
Michael Johnson (43.18)
Notice how even the last place finisher in the relay was nearly 5 seconds faster than the all-time fastest individual runner in the same distance.
Just like in a relay, basketball players should be collaborating together, trying to COMPLETE each other. Each player on a team can provide something that other players are missing in their game. For a team to reach its’ full potential, all players must have the mindset to COMPLETE their teammates rather than to COMPETE with their teammates.
Questions for thought...
Do you ask... How can I get mine? or How can I help the team?
Do you look... At the box-score after the game? or At the game film to learn from the game?
Do you think... ‘Coach doesn’t want me to shoot because he doesn’t like me?’ or ‘Coach doesn’t want me to shoot because I can provide something else our team lacks?’
Do you try... To COMPETE with your teammates? or To COMPLETE the holes within your team?