Player Skill Development
Offensive Skill Development
"Practice makes perfect is only true if the proper mechanics are being employed."
Basketball is unique in that it is both a team game and an individual game, "a game within a game." Basketball, more than any other sport, requires integration of individual talent and skills into unselfish team play. Therefore, improving yourself as a player is vital to your team. Despite, size conditioning and talent of today's basketball players, who succeeds and who fails is determined by who possesses fundamental skills. Developing and mastering basketball skills is not easy task. It is a never ending process requiring countless hours of practice and refinement. However, once learned, they will put you into the game.
Work hard to overcome weaknesses. It is easy to practice something you already do well, and that is exactly what most players do. However, the best way to get better is to work on your weaknesses and turn them into your strengths. If you are having shooting problems, learn to shoot the correct way and then practice. If you have trouble dribbling with your weak hand, then practice dribbling with that hand. If you need to improve your defensive quickness or jumping ability, practice footwork and jumping drills. With proper practice you not only improve your skills; but more importantly, you will increase your level of confidence and success. Have fun and enjoy this great game!
Defensive Skill Development
"A tenacious defensive player will never let up during the entire game. He is a workaholic. He challenges every shot, pass, dribble, and cut. A team with this attitude will win the “big” games, and championships."
Since basketball players spend most of their time and efforts developing and refining their offensive skills, they are usually very ill prepared defensively. Yet, despite having little or no defensive skills, coaches still expect their players to be able to go out and guard outstanding offensive opponents. However, to be successful, players must first possess a working knowledge of the defensive fundamentals.
Like their offensive counterparts, defensive fundamentals must be broken down and practiced constantly on all levels of basketball. Players need to know and practice how to guard the player with the ball, how to guard a player without the ball, how to guard a cutter, how to guard a player in post area, and how to box out and rebound on shots.
If a player really wants to improve at the game of basketball here is some advice for maximum development. Improvement should involve several key areas.
First, focus on hard skill development. Hard skills are acquired through intentional focus and repetition such as shooting, ball handling and offensive skills. A serious player may work on these about 2-5 hours per day depending on ability, age and specific goals. Hard skill improvement is linked to investment of time. Too often players are so focused on “advanced” skills, and they haven’t yet mastered the critical fundamentals to build from.
The second focus should be on soft skill development, specifically understanding the game and learning the nuances to react. This is best accomplished in a very competitive and intensive setting which allows for many opportunities to get the ball. Find a good gym or a group of competitive players and play lots of one-on-one and three-on-three - anything that provides more touches with the ball isolates hard skill work. Five-on-five is one of the slowest ways to build skills because of the simple mathematical reality that players get less time with the ball. Also, traveling to games can be time wasted.
Third, develop a specific physical training plan such as building strength, quickness and vertical jump. Meet with a trainer to evaluate strengths and weaknesses. Work to build an intensive workout which emphasizes growth in these areas.
Fourth, develop a mental plan working on confidence, personal faith, and mental toughness. This is a crucial separator between good and great athletes.
Finally, find a mentor who can help with planning and provide accountability to goals. The reason why camp is such a great training place is because players get saturated in both hard and soft skill training, they get an improvement plan in place and they can make the important needed changes.