When many players think about basketball programs, it can be hard to realise that the greatest players all needed help at some point in their careers. Every player had to start somewhere, and it can be hard to truly understand the game without professional training. There is a world of difference between a friendly pickup game with friends and playing professionally. This is where personal training becomes essential to give you the skills and techniques you need to improve your game. Let’s take a closer look at some of the things that you could expect to learn with structured basketball training.
Evaluating Your Skill Level
Every good basketball trainer will first start by evaluating your skill level and how well you understand the game. Fitness levels are also, and even a slight adjustment in your training schedule could boost your performance significantly. Players that have learned the game informally could have easily picked up bad habits that need to be identified and corrected. Finally, it will be essential to identify where you would best fit into a team and what your ideal position would be.
One on One Training
This one on one training is very important when getting professional basketball training. Your game can improve very quickly when you receive personalised training and advice. The coach will work with you to reinforce your current skills and add some new ones to your repertoire.
This kind of instruction simply is not possible in a group dynamic where the focus would be placed on tactics and improving the team dynamic. A plan will be developed for the player covering a workout regimen, skills to practice and even dietary requirements. The plan will be updated to keep an accurate picture of how the player is progressing in their mastery of the game.
Over time a relationship based on trust will develop between the player and their coach, which will lead to a deeper understanding of how to improve the players game even further. The ultimate goal here is to match the player’s commitment levels and make them into the best player that they can be. This is the same regardless of the level that the player would like to play at.
“Be true to the game, because the game will be true to you. If you try to shortcut the game, then the game will shortcut you. If you put forth the effort, good things will be bestowed upon you.” – Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan believed that he would get out of the game exactly what he put into it.
If you don’t completely trust the game – if you think it’s “unfair” or “rigged” – then deep-down you’re not going to feel motivated to give it everything you have. With that attitude, you’ve lost before you even begin.
Whether in life, business, or basketball, you get out what you put in. Trust in this:
“If you do the work, you get rewarded. There are no shortcuts in life.”
2. MASTER THE FUNDAMENTALS
“You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way. Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.” – Michael Jordan
Basketball’s like anything else: it mostly comes down to doing all of the basic stuff right. Once you’ve got the fundamentals down, you’ve got a solid foundation to build on.
Jordan warns that when you “get away from fundamentals… the bottom can fall out of your game, your schoolwork, your job… whatever you’re doing.”
3. LEARN FROM YOUR PARENTS
You might expect that Michael’s boyhood heroes were NBA superstars like Jerry West and Kareem Abdul-Jabar, but you’d be wrong.
“My heroes are and were my parents. I can’t see having anyone else as my heroes.” – Michael Jordan
Jordan’s respect and admiration for his parents is one of the keys to his success.
4. PRACTICE EVERY DAY
“I’m not out there sweating for three hours every day just to find out what it feels like to sweat.” – Michael Jordan
When Jordan first tried out for his high school basketball team, he didn’t make varsity. In an interview with ESPN, Jordan described how he felt:
“It was embarrassing not making that team. They posted the roster and it was there for a long, long time without my name on it. I remember being really mad too, because there was a guy that made it that really wasn’t as good as me.”
Jordan channeled his embarrassment and anger into motivation during practice:
“Whenever I was working out and got tired and figured I ought to stop, I’d close my eyes and see that list in the locker room without my name on it… that usually got me going again.”
Jordan became better at playing than everyone else by first becoming better at practicing than everyone else. Until the end of his career, Michael was known to be the first person to get to the gym and the last one to leave.
5. SCHOOL IS IMPORTANT
Jordan decided to leave the University of North Carolina to enter the NBA draft one year early. In 1984, he started his professional career without a college degree.
Despite immediate success in the NBA, Jordan decided to go back to school. In 1986, he returned to North Carolina to earn his degree.
6. DON’T LET PEOPLE GET IN YOUR HEAD
“It’s heavy duty to try to do everything and please everybody… I can’t live with what everyone’s impression of what I should or what I shouldn’t do.” – Michael Jordan
Jordan was getting a lot of attention his rookie year. Sports Illustrated put him on the cover of their magazine with the words “A Star is Born” just one month into his NBA career.
All that quick attention aggravated a few NBA veterans. They decided to execute a “freeze out” of Jordan during the All-Star game where they simply wouldn’t pass him the ball.
But Jordan was unfazed. When the regular season resumed, he continued his stellar play and went on to win Rookie of the Year. Jordan is proof that you don’t have to let other people get into your head.
7. KNOW HOW TO RESPOND TO FAILURE
“Failure makes me work even harder.” – Michael Jordan
Jordan wasn’t always a winner.
The first time he got to the NBA playoffs, his Bulls were knocked out in the first round. The next two years, they were swept by the Boston Celtics. After that, the Bulls were beat by the Detroit Pistons three years in a row.
All Jordan knew was failure. But it only made him want to be better. He’s said, “Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot… and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
8. FEAR IS AN ILLUSION
“I know fear is an obstacle for some people, but it’s an illusion to me.” – Michael Jordan
Fears can be self-fulfilling. Sometimes the only thing holding you back from being successful is the fear that you may fail.
When we let go of our fears, we’re free to be more aggressive and take full advantage of our opportunities.
9. JUST DO IT
“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” – Michael Jordan
There are three types of people. Jordan’s the type of person who makes it happen.
Which type are you?
10. YOU CAN’T DO IT ALONE
“If you think and achieve as a team, the individual accolades will take care of themselves. Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” – Michael Jordan
Throughout the 80’s, Jordan racked up a ton of personal achievements (scoring titles, league MVP awards, and “Defensive Player of the Year”). But no championships.
Those didn’t come until he had the help of Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, and Phil Jackson.
11. EXCELLENCE SPEAKS FOR ITSELF
At their prime, the Bulls would sell out every stadium they played in – home or away.
But the thing bringing in big crowds wasn’t the marketing department. It was the superior performance that Jordan and his teammates were putting on display.
“Let your game be your promotional or marketing tool.” – Michael Jordan
When you consistently deliver an excellent product, people will find out. No marketing firm necessary.
12 EXPECT YOUR SHOTS TO GO IN
“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” – Michael Jordan
Jordan wouldn’t be legendary if he didn’t have such a knack for making the “big shot.”
Time and time again, Jordan would have the ball in his hands in the final second of a pivotal game and… swoosh. In all of those big moments, he never once entertained the possibility that the ball wouldn’t go in:
“I never looked at the consequences of missing a big shot… when you think about the consequences you always think of a negative result.”
In big moments, you should feel totally confident that you will succeed.
How to be More Like Mike:
Take a moment now and think about what you want to achieve more than anything else. Do you fully expect yourself to make it happen?
If the answer sounds anything like ‘no’, it’s time for a change in your attitude. Remember that every time Jordan pulled up for a jumper, he was expecting the ball to go in.
12. WHEN IT’S TIME TO CHANGE, CHANGE
Jordan made one of the most shocking decisions in sports history when he retired from professional basketball on October 6, 1993. It’s hard to fathom quitting after winning three championships in a row, but Michael’s reasons were actually very simple:
“I just needed to change. I was getting tired of the same old activity and routine and I didn’t feel all the same appreciation that I had felt before and it was tiresome.
“A lot of things correlated with that — my father dying, the opportunity to play baseball, my desire to make a change. I look back on it and it was perfect timing to break away from it and see what I was missing, to see what it meant to me, to see the enjoyment that I got from the game.”
Even though Jordan didn’t make it into the major leagues as a baseball player, it was important that he listened to the voice in his head that was telling him to make a change. He returned to the NBA refreshed in 1995 and promptly won three more championships.
13. THE BEST MARKETING IS SIMPLE
On March 18, 1995, Michael Jordan announced that he was coming out retirement with a press release that simply read, “I’M BACK.”
Two words were all it took to cue a media circus. Jordan’s first game back with the Bulls had the highest Nielsen rating of any regular season NBA game in twenty years.
Often, the most effective way to get the word out is to get straight to the point.
14. DEMAND THE BEST FROM YOUR TEAM
Michael Jordan would often get frustrated with the effort of his teammates – especially at the end of his career when he played for the below-average Washington Wizards.
Fred Lynch, one of Jordan’s high school coaches, recalls that Jordan was demanding even as a teenager: “He’d get on his teammates all the time. He hasn’t changed that. What he always expected was everybody plays the game as hard as he played it.”
Expecting the best in others helps bring it out in them. Of course, it’s most effective when you lead by example (as Jordan did).
15. LEARN TO HARNESS YOUR EMOTIONS
“Heart is what separates the good from the great.” – Michael Jordan
After winning his first NBA championship in 1991, Michael Jordan cried like a baby. He cried again following the 1996 championship. In those two moments, you can really see the depth Jordan’s emotional investment in the game.
Showing emotion is commonly considered a sign of weakness, but for Michael it was a source of great strength. Jordan had the rare ability to maximize his emotional energy while still being in complete control.
16. LOVE WHAT YOU DO
“Love is playing every game as if it’s your last!” – Michael Jordan
Jordan loves basketball so much, he once said it was his wife (“It demands loyalty and responsibility, and it gives me back fulfillment and peace”).
When you do your work with love, as Jordan did, it will shine through in your performance.
17. PLAY BUSINESS LIKE A GAME
“Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.” – Michael Jordan
You may have assumed that the “game” Michael’s talking about above is basketball, but he’s actually giving advice on the game of business.
If you think that business is boring, then you’re doing it wrong. The more fun you make your work, the more energy and enthusiasm you’ll bring to it – and the more success you’ll find.
18. FORGET THE PAST
“Once I made a decision, I never thought about it again.” – Michael Jordan
Jordan’s made some tough decisions, but he doesn’t dwell on them.
There’s no reason to worry about the past because it’s not coming back.
19. IGNORE THE FUTURE
“Never think about what’s at stake… If you start to think about who is going to win the championship, you’ve lost your focus.” – Michael Jordan
It happens all the time in basketball: one team gets out to a big lead only to get overconfident and lose the game in the final seconds. Their mistake is thinking about the victory celebration instead of focusing on the game at hand.
There’s no point in distracting yourself with possible future scenarios. You’re not a psychic. Nothing’s going to play out like imagine. Your focus would be better spent on making the most of the present.
20. EMBRACE THE PRESENT
“Live the moment for the moment.” – Michael Jordan
Every moment you’ve experienced has been right now.
If you want a deeper sense of contentment and satisfaction in your life, begin making the most of the present. Starting now!
With a reported net worth of $500 million, one could argue Magic Johnson doesn’t have any regrets when it comes business deals.
However, during a recent appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Magic admitted to a huge mistake he made back in ’79 when he came out of college. Something that still haunts him to this day.
“When I first came out of college, all the shoe companies came after me,” he said. “And there was this guy, Phil Knight, who just started had Nike.”
“All the other companies offered me money, but they (Nike) couldn’t offer me money because they just started,” Magic said. “So he said something [about] stocks—’I’m gonna give you a lot of stocks.’ I didn’t know nothing about stocks. I’m from the inner city, we don’t know about stocks, you know, at the time.”
“Boy, did I make a mistake,” Johnson admits. “I’m still kicking myself. Every time I’m in a Nike store, I get mad. I could’ve been making money off of everybody buying Nikes right now.”
It’s safe to say the decision in 1979 cost him a few billion $. Man, if you could only be a time traveler.
As coaches, we often “blame” our players for the need to simplify everything but in reality is often us that make things more complicated than necessary. I think there are five reasons for this even though we don’t always do these things intentionally.
1. We worry about things that will never happen.
I’m all for being prepared; in fact I’m a big fan of being over prepared. However, my team does not practice three different jump ball plays and four different offenses to run against a triangle and two defense just in case we ever go into double overtime and see a junk defense.
Instead, we concentrate on using the 80/20 rule – 80% of our practices are focused on the 20% of things that take place every game.
(Sometimes it’s more like 90/10 because we want to be very good at the things that happen most often.) Conversely 20% of our practices are focused on the other 80% of things that don’t happen as frequently.
2. We have a strong desire to impress others.
Most of us will say that we don’t, but many coaches, especially younger ones, want to impress their peers, their players, their players’ parents and their fans with their coaching ability. They mistakenly think that will happen if they run several complicated and intricate offenses.
If that happens to be you keep in mind that Vince Lombardi’s Packers ran only five plays and John Wooden’s famous UCLA teams had only three offenses and he never used all three in the same season. If you want to be as impressive as Lombardi or Wooden don’t overcomplicate things and instead create better leaders, help players improve and execute, and win more games!
3. We don’t consider basketball IQ.
Even though we talk about it all the time some coaches forget that their own basketball IQ and their ability to grasp and process detailed concepts is much greater than that of their players. Remember, it’s not what a coach knows that is most important but rather what the players know and can execute.
Look at it this way – the majority of students are average. A few will get mostly A’s and B’s and a few will get mostly’ D’s and F’s but the vast majority are average in academic knowledge and/or execution. What makes you think your team would be any different? A few of your players will understand everything; a few will understand nothing, and the rest will be average.
4. We mentally get bored.
Earlier I said that many younger coaches want to impress everyone but older coaches have their stumbling blocks too. Many eventually become mentally bored and so start looking for other challenges and other ways to stimulate their thinking.
These coaches often begin studying other coaches and their systems and take detailed notes on every book, video, drill, and diagram they can get their hands on during the off season.When practice starts in the fall they are still excited about what they’ve learned and try to put in everything whether they completely understand how to teach it or not. Before long the players’ heads are spinning and the same coaches are pulling their hair out.
5. We never throw anything away.
Have you ever laughed at your parents or grandparents for never throwing anything away? Of course you have! Well coaches are the exact same way. A coach will put in a quick hitter for a particular game that involves using four post players and will win a game with it.
Then every year after that he will put in the same quick hitter and will practice it regularly even if he doesn’t have a single post player on his roster. Don’t laugh because it happens all the time.Throw old drills, offenses, and defenses away or at least put them in storage. Your team doesn’t need to have 10 offenses, 20 out of bounds plays, and 40 quick hitters – especially since your team is not going to learn/remember/use most of them.
Before you blame your team for overcomplicating your program take a good look at yourself and see if any of these five things apply to you. It might not completely solve the problem but will certainly be a good start.
Last night I came across an awesome story about ex-NBA player Dennis Rodman.
For those who weren’t glued to the TV during his days with Detroit in the 1980’s and with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990’s, here are a few reasons why you should pay attention to his rebounding advice…
He led the league in rebounding 7 times:
18.7 per game
18.3 per game
17.3 per game
16.8 per game
14.9 per game
16.1 per game
15.0 per game
Anyway, here’s a quick story that about Dennis told by his former teammate, Isiah Thomas:
“We were standing in the lay-up line, warming up and shooting, and Rodman was standing back and watching everybody shoot.”
Isiah – “Hey, come on, you have to participate; everybody’s shooting lay-ups, you have to shoot lay-ups, too.”
Rodman – “I’m just watching the rotations on the basketball.”
Isiah – “Excuse me?”
Rodman – “Like, when you shoot, your ball spins three times in the air. Joe’s sometimes has 3 1/2 or four times.”
“That’s how far Rodman had taken rebounding, to a totally different level, like off the charts. He knew the rotation of every person that shot on our team – If it spins sideways, where it would bounce, how often it would bounce left or right. He had rebounding down to a science, and I never heard anyone think or talk about rebounding and defence the way he could break it down.”
“When you talk about basketball IQ, I’d put Rodman at a genius level.”- Isiah Thomas
One of the most, if not the single most issues between coach and player is, PLAYING TIME. Players want to know why they are not playing more, and what they can do to earn more playing time on the court. Here are 10 areas to look at when trying to earn more time on the court, and less time on the bench.
The most effective, coachable players are humble in victory and gracious in defeat. They don’t have to earn respect, they demand it by their actions on and off the court.
2. The Perfect Balance
School work, work-study job, off campus job, practice, games, travel. College level players are called “student-athlete” for a reason. They must be able to balance multiple daily tasks while still improving upon their game year in and year out. The college players that are able to find the perfect balance in their everyday daily lives, are the most effective and ones that coaches look to reward.
3. Knowing and Accepting your Role
Coaches will ask players to sacrifice for the betterment of the team. The players that embrace their roles and flourish in them, are the ones that coaches want around and on the floor. Players that second guess and constantly revolt against change, are the ones who will be riding the pine or shown the door.
4. Ability to Defend
Defense wins championships. Players who can score at will, but consistently let their man do the same are not as valuable as a defensive stopper who really isn’t needed to score.
5. Taking Care of the Ball
Coaches hate careless turnovers. Players that feel the need to go between the legs, spin twice and make an around the back pass that sails off the wall, will surely hear the horn and be replaced by a less flashy, but more fundamentally sound player.
6. Accept / Follow-Though on Criticism
Players will be given areas to improve upon during all stages of the year. The ones that act upon recommended weaknesses by following through and showing results will be noticed.
7. Teammate 1st
Players that pass up a good shot for a great shot, encourage teammates in workouts, practices and games, and go out of their way to help teammates in all situations, are the ones that make a program run on all cylinders. Players that demand the limelight, preach about individual stats, brag about their value to the team and isolate themselves from the group, are going to suck the energy from the program and are in fact, better off on their own.
8. Ability to Make Others Better
Similar to a great defender, a player that can make the four others around them better by setting up teammates to score, are much more valuable than 1-deminsional scorers. Coaches will take a 2-1 assist-to-turnover guy any day over a double digit scorer. First off all, they are going to set up teammates for great scoring opportunities and secondly, they’re going to take care of the ball.
9. Hustle Stats
Floor burns, drawing offensive charges, diving into the crowd, offensive rebounds, deflections, 5-second calls, sprinting in-between the three point lines. What basketball coach doesn’t love these intangibles in a player?
10. 1st to Show, Last to Leave
The guys that are in the gym before the coaching staff and then have to be kicked out following practice, are the ones who coaches want to be a large part of their program. Gym rats will almost always be rewarded for their commitment to the program, and their uncanny work ethic.
There are other things that players can do to earn more playing time in any given program, but if players follow these 10 tips to earning more playing time, they will be well ahead of the game, and will no doubt be hard to remove from the rotation.