Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Be Positive!

When playing in the game comment all players on everything they do well. If someone takes a charge, say “good charge”, if someone gives you a good pass, say “good pass”. Sounds simple, but sometimes it’s hard to remember to do in the heat of the game.

This positive attitude builds momentum for your team. Try to see the positive side of all your losses. Learn from your loss. What did you do wrong? What could have been done better? Locate the weaknesses and improve them.

Here's the power of positive thinking:

Tip The Ball On Rebounds

If you are rebounding against someone who is taller than you or can jump higher, tip the ball away from your opponent to gain an advantage. The extra inch you get with just using your finger tips instead of trying to grab the ball with your hands could completely eliminate your opponents height advantage.  

This technique works especially well for guards rebounding against big men. If you can just get your finger tips on the ball and tip it away from you opponent, this will move the ball to an area more likely for you to grab it.

Use the pull down technique to avoid jump balls

If you find yourself fighting for the ball with your opponent, use this move to quickly rip the ball out of their hands and avoid a jump ball call by the ref. Instead of just pulling the ball toward you like a tug of war, get more power into your grab by lowering your shoulder into your grip and pulling the ball down towards you.

Putting your weight into your grab will give you more strength than your opponent and allow you to take the ball from him or her. It’s also called a rip through because you’re ripping the ball out and through your opponent’s hands. Practice this move, so when it come time in the game, it is second nature and quick enough to avoid the jump ball call.

You never want a jump ball against Vince Carter (only in the Pros do they jump after the call):

Get on the floor!

Be that player that will sacrifice himself to get the loose ball. If you’re timid and are unsure of throwing your body on the ground, then practice it. Get someone to roll a ball on your lawn and jump on it as if it were a piece of gold. You don’t want to be that player who won’t get tough and dive for the loose ball. Especially late in the game, have the courage and tenacity to dive on the loose ball and make a play to win the game!

Set Picks and Ask Teamates to Set Picks For You

A pick, also known as a screen, is when one of your teammates stands next to your opponent and acts as a “wall” that your defender has to get around. I won’t go into details of the pick and rolls, but this move will free you up on offense so it is easier to score. It will also make your opponents work harder on defense.

Use a signal to let your teammate know you’re setting a pick, such as, a fist in the air. Off the ball screens, where you set a screen for your teammate that doesn’t have the ball, are key to playing team basketball and it is what many coaches will use to develop for plays.

Learn how to set screens in a basketball camp!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Make and Maintain a Training Log

A training log is basically a list of drills you want to do and you “log” or write how often you do those drills. The log will get you in the habit of doing drills every week and before you know it, you will be doing the drills without even thinking about the log. But, still check them off to chart the progress.

If you’re new to basketball, it may be hard to remember all of the ball handling or conditioning drills you are learning. So a log will help you remember all the drills. Also, if you are not a disciplined player, a training log may give you the extra motivation to get drills done. Make a chart with the drills you want to get done for every day of the week, and leave empty boxes so you can check it off when you do them. You can make a chart by hand, but doing it on the computer will allow you to just print a new one every week. If you don’t know how to make a chart on the computer then ask someone older who does.

Mix it up a little and do different drills on different days. For example, ball handling drills Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and dribbling exercises Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. If you are looking for more drills to do, check these out:

To learn more drills attend a summer basketball camps today!

Post Your Basketball Goals

Write it on an index card and put it on the wall. Or if you’re in high school, put it up in your locker room. The goal will remind you where you want to be and it will be that extra motivation to go out and practice on the days you don’t feel like practicing.

The goal could be specific like, to get the most rebounds on your middle school team or a goal down the road like getting a scholarship to play in college. Whatever the goal is, make sure it is visible and will remind you everyday where you want to be.

Basketball Goals - Think About Them!

Sit down and write down your goals. Make them specific as possible. What do you want to accomplish this season? What do you want to accomplish this summer? What do you want to accomplish by the end of middle school or high school? Do you want to play in college? How are you going to get there?

Also make a specific goal for every game. Make specific goals like take at least 3 charges this game. Get at least 5 offensive rebounds. Know your skills and try to push yourself. Set expectations and strive to meet those expectations.

Thank Those Who Do the Little Things

If you want to be a leader on the court and not simply a player then you must remember to thank those who do the little things. And I’m talking about the people who aren’t on your team. Thank the water boy/ girl, the ball boy/girl, the team managers, the score keepers, the refs, anyone who contributes to you playing basketball.

Being grateful to others will get you to stand out as not only a great basketball player on the court, but also a great person off the court. And especially don’t forget to thank your parents, brothers, sisters, aunt, uncle, grandparents if they spend the time to drive you to practice or buy you basketball clothes and equipment!

Watch a Basketball Movie

Hoop Dreams is one of the best documentaries every made. Space Jam is a fun movie to watch starring Michael Jordan and Looney Toons cartons. Every kid should watch it! Mix basketball documentaries into your reading. Watch the greats and learn from the greats. More Than a Game is a documentary about Lebron James. Hoosiers is a must see classic about basketball in Indiana. There’s so many basketball movies out there, watch them when you’re bored! And you might be able to check them out at your local library for free!

Don't Listen To Your Friends If...

Reading books may be one of those things that your friends might be making fun of you for. But you have to remember: you want to be great at basketball. You want to be better than your friends. That’s another reason why it’s so important to read basketball biographies. If you learn what the best players did to become great, you’ll have more confidence to ignore your friends and naysayers and do what you think will make yourself the best basketball player possible.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Reading Will Help Elevate Your Game

Quick comment on reading. To become a true baller, reading is key. You may think it’s boring or not part of the game, but it is. Skills aren’t everything. Being knowledgeable of the game is just an important as having skills because what’s the use of having skills if you don’t know how to use them properly?

People have been playing basketball for a long time. Everyone's made mistakes. Some large and others small. It's best for you as a basketball player to learn from others mistakes and not from your own. You own mistakes will slow down your growth as a basketball player. But, if you can read about others mistake you can avoid making them yourself. Or if you're in a situation in basketball, on or off the court, you can learn from others experiences and help you grow as a person and player.

Read a Basketball Novel

You won’t learn as much reading a novel as you will from an autobiography, but it’s still fun to read. You may see a side of the game you’re never thought about before. You may read descriptions you’ve never thought of and have a deeper love for the game. You don’t even have to buy these books. Check them out at your local or school library. Try to get a ride to school a little early, so you can hang out in the library and read your basketball books. Live, eat and breathe the game.

Read a Basketball Biography

There are several autobiographies out there written by great basketball players. These books will teach you the work ethics necessary to become successful. They’re motivational. Reading about someone else succeed and how they did it is a good lesson about how you can succeed.

I remember reading about how Pete Merevich used to bring a basketball with him everywhere he went and so I started bringing a basketball around everywhere I went. I remember reading about Dennis Rodman’s intense workouts, so I started working out longer and harder. Once you learn how the great basketball players because great and how hard they worked then you’ll be more likely to do what they did.

Also at many summer basketball camps I went to they played basketball videos during lunch time so we kept learning 24/7.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ignore the Hecklers

Remember basketball is a mental game. The less distractions the better. That includes ignoring your #1 worst fans from the other team. The heckler just wants to get in your head, and make you lose your concentration on the game. Use their taunting as a reminder of how good it will feel after you win the game. Let it fuel you fire. I developed a habit of not even being able to hear what was being said in the stands. Focus on the game, your teammates, your opponents, what your next move is going to be and you may never even hear a specific fan, just the crowd as a whole. Good thing about summer basketball camps, there won't be any hecklers!

Definitely want to ignore this guy:

Don’t Talk Trash To Your Opponents

Don’t say anything to them unless it’s positive and out of respect. Talking trash does two things. Either you’ll look like a fool because you will end up losing the game or you’ll win without class. If you’re good, you’ll shine with greatness, other people will do the talking for you. The best and most respected players don’t need to talk trash, their game play does all the talking for them.

Of course if you do talk trash you have to back it up:

Don’t look, talk, or sneeze at a ref

The only person allowed to talk to a ref is the team Capitan or the head coach. A referee might not notice your good behavior on the court, but they sure as heck will notice your bad behavior. Think about it for a second. If you were a ref, would you think “Wow, this player is really good a complaining and making weird faces at my calls, maybe I should call more fouls in their favor?"


Too often, young players try to act like pros and pick up their bad habits. And whining about every call they disagree with is one of those bad habits. Look, at the end of the day, if a ref is making poor calls and he sucks, then he sucks. There’s nothing you can do about it, except try to play with how they are making the calls. An example of this is if the ref is calling a foul every time a player is reaching in the steal the ball, then don’t try steal the ball by swinging your arms at the ball.

At the end of the day, having the ref on your side could be the difference between winning or losing the game. And if you get a tech for complaining, then you’re letting your team down. If you’re the team Captain always speak to the ref with respect and never yell or call them names. This seems simple now, but in the game never talk to the ref when you lose your cool. You are representing your team and if you are disrespectful to the ref the rest of your team may imitate your actions.

Don't mess with this ref: 

And then there is these goof balls:

Communicate: Let your teammates know their worth

Everyone, and I mean everyone, on a basketball team is important. Whether you’re the leading scorer or the guy who keeps track of rebounds for the best players, you have a role. The key to developing a good team is letting everyone on the team know they are important.

 Realize this if you’re one of the players who don’t get to play that much. Every encouragement and every compliment is creating a positive energy for everyone to feed off of and play better. Plus, every time you play hard in practice, you’re making the starting players get better, as well as improving your own skills.

But, if you get a lot of playing time and are a leader of a team, it is crucial that you let everyone know their worth. A simple thank you to the players doing things for you can be helpful. Don’t be afraid to ask for players on the bench to help your with your game. Ask for their advice with your opponent. Maybe something you couldn’t see or pick up on, like your opponents offensive plays. Where are the picks coming from.

To be a true leader on the court, you can’t just lead by example. It has to come from your mouth as well. Leading by example will only get you so far. Basketball is a team sport. It is a people sport. There’s motivation and hard work and players sacrificing for the betterment of the team. It’s not all shots made, rebounds, and plays. Talk to your players, keep them motivated, and let them know their worth.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Use your imagination to get tenacious on defense

This may sound a little crazy, but it’s important to be intense when playing defense. The best defensive basketball players separate themselves from the rest of their team through their determination in stopping their opponent and their toughness while doing it. All the best defensive players, and teams for the matter, are extremely tough and maybe even nasty as times.

Some players don’t have this natural toughness and it has to be developed. If you ever find yourself having difficulty finding motivation to stop your defender or go up drop for a rebound or dive on the floor to steal the ball, use your imagination to get pumped up. Imagine your defender just beat up your girlfriend or Mom. Maybe they just stole your computer or phone. Heck maybe they stole your favorite teddy bear.

This is a personal thing, so imagine whatever will get you pumped up to harass them, make their life miserable on defense and the only way to get back at them for that terrible thing they did to you is to make a stop on offense, rip down a rough rebound or make a tough dive on the floor for a loose ball. Use your imagination to develop a tenacity and hopefully one day it will come naturally.

If you play as tough as Dennis Rodman, you'll be fine: