Crucial Physical and Psychological Skills You Gain through Basketball

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Playing organized sports such as basketball can provide a huge number of benefits to children. Through basketball skills training and games, children can develop a wide range of physical and psychological traits that can serve them well throughout their life, ensuring that they become a more well-rounded person and that they are better able to handle the stresses and complications they face in the real world. In this way, playing basketball and attending basketball training camps can be one of the best things your child can do, as it will teach them all of the following skills.

Knowing the Value of Hard Work and Dedication

Playing basketball or any other sport requires countless hours of practice, constantly working to improve your physical and mental skills. In this way, basketball can help teach a child about the importance and value of hard work. Basketball clinics and live games can teach a child that nothing in life comes for free and you always have to be willing to work to get what you want.

Mental Toughness

Playing poorly, suffering abuse from opposing players and fans, and losing games are things basketball players must learn to deal with and not let discourage them. This means basketball is also great for improving mental toughness and how to overcome adversity. The mental side of basketball is easily as important as the physical; which is why most basketball skills training and basketball clinics focus heavily on mental aspects, in addition to physical skills.

Staying Calm Under Pressure

Those last few minutes of a basketball game are often an extremely high-pressure situation. There’s nothing like lining up for a potentially game winning free throw or hitting a last-second buzzer beater to teach a person about the importance of staying calm under pressure.

Team Work

Being able to work effectively in a team is a hugely important life skill, and nothing can teach a person this skill better than team sports. Even if you’re the best player on your team, you will still need to be able to play as part of a team in order to stand a chance of winning. As Michael Jordan once famously said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”

Flexibility

On the physical side of things, basketball is a fantastic activity for growing bodies due to the fact that it teaches the importance of flexibility along with physical strength. No matter whether you’re a seven-foot tall center or a five-foot tall point guard, quickness and flexibility are always going to be key attributes. This is precisely why most youth basketball training camps place a special focus on improving a child’s flexibility and not just their strength and conditioning. In this way, basketball is often seen as a better activity for kids than football or other sports that tend to rely more on brute strength.

Improved Strength

Of course, strength is still important for a basketball player. The countless hours in the gym, lifting weights and running around the court, are guaranteed to make a person stronger and more physically fit, which is just another one of the many benefits basketball can provide.

Better Stamina

All that running around will also help to improve a person’s stamina as well. This has huge, direct benefits for a person’s cardiovascular and respiratory system.

At the end of the day, playing any sport will provide many mental and physical benefits. However, the fact that basketball is fairly low contact and generally safer than football, hockey and other sports, makes it an ideal choice for teaching children important psychological and physical skills that will surely serve them well in their future lives.

6 Ways to Become a Better Basketball Player

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As with any other sport, becoming a good basketball player takes a huge amount of hard work, dedication and perseverance. Of course, it’s not as simple as just spending every day working on your shooting skills, as there is a lot more to basketball than just tossing a ball through a hoop. With this in mind, here are six ways to boost your skills and hopefully become a better basketball player.

Sweat Your Way to Success

If you want to become a better basketball player, you have to be ready and willing to work for it. This means spending countless hours in the gym and on the court to continually improve your physical fitness and skills. A basketball academy or camp will only take you so far. No amount of skills training will matter if you’re not willing to put in the time and work to actually practice what you’ve learned and improve yourself.

Pay Attention to the Mental Side of the Game

The physical side of the game is only one part of the equation. You’ve got to be mentally tough in order to have a chance of making it. This means not letting yourself get discouraged by a bad game or unfair calls and also being mentally prepared to stay calm, cool and collected under pressure. In short, focusing on the mental side of the game will allow you to become someone that your teammates know they can rely on when the going gets tough.

Skills Training Is Key

When we said, ‘Sweat your way to success,’ we weren’t discounting the huge benefit that basketball training camps can provide. Through these training camps, you will learn a huge number of new exercises, skills and ways of training yourself to become a better player, both physically and mentally. The fact that many training camps are taught by successful players and coaches means that campers have a great opportunity to learn from people who know exactly what it takes. In this way, they can prove to be an invaluable tool in your effort to improve your skills and become a better basketball player.

Test Yourself Against the Best

As the old saying goes, ‘practice makes perfect.’ However, practice can still only take you so far.

You’ll also need to constantly test yourself in real games in order to make sure that you can actually put all those skills you practiced into good use. In this sense, playing in as many basketball tournaments as possible can be hugely beneficial and allow you to continuously test your skills against new opponents.

Identify and Focus on Your Weaknesses

No matter what position you play, it’s important that you work to become as complete of a player as possible. This means spending as much time working on your weaknesses as on your strengths, maybe even more. It also means knowing how to take criticism and using it to drive yourself to improve, instead of letting it get you down. No basketball player will ever be great at everything, but it’s still important that you try to focus on becoming a well-rounded of a player as you can.

Yoga for Improved Strength, Flexibility and Mental Toughness

Yoga is becoming extremely popular among a huge range of different professional athletes. The truth is that yoga is far more difficult and rewarding than most people think and it can provide a huge boost to your overall strength, flexibility, self-awareness and mental toughness. In fact, Coach Steve Kerr credits yoga for some of the success that his Golden State Warriors team has experienced in recent years. Although you may be hesitant to try it, there is absolutely no doubt that yoga can provide some huge benefits to your overall game.

The same thing is true for basketball as for virtually everything else in life: If you want to become better, you need to spend a huge amount of time focusing on improving yourself. While there is no guarantee that any amount of hard work will ensure that you make the team or enable you to go pro, the only way to find out is to set yourself a goal and do everything you can to work towards it.

#HGBuzzerBeater Classic AM Spotlight, Day 1

Division I schools La Salle University from the A10, Robert Morris from the Northeast Conference, and a multitude of Division II and III schools were in attendance to watch the morning matchup between the Crusader Nation and New York Havoc. With a trip to the winner’s bracket on the line, both teams showed some early game jitters to start.

Team Havoc jumped out to a quick 17-5 lead behind the energy and hustle of their point guard number 12, William Aybar.  Aybar set the pace of the game from the opening tip, extending the defensive pressure 94 feet and advancing the basketball by passing ahead.  Crusader Nation eventually acclimated to the frenetic pace of play, but consistently trailed double digits throughout the game’s first 10 minutes.  The Nation never looked comfortable in their half court sets, struggling to execute against the extended pressure of Havoc.  Skilled 6’8” forward Joe Delollo (#33) provided a perimeter, threat stretching the defense and opening driving lanes for Havoc’s lighting quick Aybar.  Crusader Nation eventually found a way to put up points up through second chance opportunities and fast break chances. They went on a 10-2 run and cut the lead to seven to close out the half.

The Nation continued their aggressive play to start the second half, finishing contested shots around the basket and creating and-1 opportunities.  With momentum on their side and foul situations softening up Havoc’s defensive pressure, the Nation began to convert on open jump shots. Although he showcased a soft touch around the basket and consistent face up game outside the paint, Delollo was unable to guard the perimeter on defense.  Delollo was forced to soft contest on screen and roll switches and gave up easy driving angles to Crusader Nation’s guards. Havoc trailed by two points going into the game’s final four minutes.  

The game came down to the final possession in regulation, tied at 60 with a little over eleven seconds remaining. Crusader Nation was set to take the ball out on a side out of bounds.  The ball was inbounded, and a down screen was set away from the ball in an effort to free up their team’s leading scorer for the game, number 0-Nick Parrish.  He was denied but eventually caught the ball out near half court under duress.

With three seconds remaining he stepped into a 30 foot pull-up jumper that seemed to hang in the air for an eternity before swishing through the net; ending the game and advancing the Nation to the winner’s bracket.  When asked about what was going through his mind in the closing seconds, Parrish responded, “I won’t lie to you, I practice that shot a lot…a hesitation to a pull up three—so, to see it finally come to work, it’s a blessing man. It felt great”.  Parrish continued on to speak about his team’s togetherness, “I’ve played with these guys for four years now–with these guys they go out and give it a hundred percent every game. It’s more like a family than a team.  We all just play together, and play for each other”.  

Crusader Nation will look to build upon this momentum going into their next matchup.  Joe Delollo for Havoc led the team in scoring with 15 points, while Parrish finished with 12 points, 10 in the 4th quarter and the game winner.  

Bigger Than Ball Vol. 5: Aidan Igiehon

Aidan Igiehon is a top ranked basketball player whose aggression and footwork around the basket have colleges from all over the country lining up to see him play.  What’s even more impressive than his ability on the court is the unique journey he has taken to play basketball in the United States.  Igiehon is an Irish citizen, living and going to school in New York.  He’s also one of the most humble kids we have gotten the chance to interview so far.  Here’s our in depth Q & A with the number 55 ranked junior, Aidan Igiehon.  

 

You don’t typically see many kids from Ireland playing ball in the States, how’d you end up coming over to play?

 

It’s funny, I didn’t actually come over here to play ball.  I came over here with my local team called Dublin Lions, they play ball, and I went to this Sixers camp – Philadelphia 76ers.  I was 13, 6’5” – yeah, I was like tall and skinny…and then I was athletic and could dunk the ball.  They were like “yo he’s 13?”, and then a lot of high schools came to see me.  No one really helped me get over here.  I just traveled with my team.  I went from Philly to New York to visit my family, and then stayed a couple months; and then I was playing in the park with my Aunt – my Aunt’s daughter’s Coach is best friends with Dana. He set up a workout, and I’ve been with them ever since.  Never thought about playing with anyone else.  

How was it playing on the EYBL circuit? You were relatively unknown before  you started playing AAU basketball, how did that help your recruiting?

 

On the circuit that’s when I really blew up.  The first session…it was the game against Bol Bol and Shareef [O’Neal] – people were like…like didn’t know who I was at the time.  They were just focused on Shareef.  “theres a kid dunking crazy”, it was me – I was just cocking it back, like ahh!  I had 18 points with like seven dunks and a couple free throws.  After that game my phone started blowing up – they started calling me.  Then I got my first ACC offer.  Syracuse.  After I got that offer, a lot of schools started contacting me.  I was too excited.  Dana was telling me to relax.  I guess he expected it, but I didn’t…Syracuse was like my fourth or fifth, and from then on I had like 20 something.  

 

Who has been the best person you’ve played against so far?

 

Marvin Bagley. Gotta be – and second that Bol Bol.  Bol Bol might be better actually, I don’t know.  He’s nice…underrated.   Only thing is, he’s 7’3” but he hates to play around the rim.  He plays from the free throw line and up.  It’s easier for me to guard big men rather than guards so that made it tough.

 

Which NBA player do you think you play like?

A mixture…I wanna say a mix with Deandre Jordan…and with Anthony Davis.  Yeah – mix that – take a little skill off AD.  My aggression and how hard I dunk the ball is like him.  I am actually very skilled, but many people don’t know that.  All they see is the dunks.  I can finish with both hands and start the break.  It’s tough to show that sometimes because showcase games usually show the guards.  Nobody really knows my name like that so that’s why I’m trying to use this July period to get known.

 

Soccer is the main sport played in Ireland,  and you seem to have great footwork for a player your age – Did you play when you were younger?

 

Yeah, I actually started off playing soccer.  I started playing ball when I was 12, but before that yeah – it was only soccer.  So, I played center midfield – I started off playing right back, and right defensive mid.  I wasn’t thinking about playing in college honestly, I didn’t even know about college athletics when I was younger.

 

Do you still play?

 

I still play soccer for fun, like with my older brother.  He’s 20.  He’s playing semi-pro right now upstate.  He plays in college, but he’s going to be a pro…It’d be cool for me to be able to play for the same school as my brother…I still work out like a soccer player.  When I’m training I do a lot of ladder stuff.  With Dana [Dingle-New York Lightning AAU coach], we start with a couple sprints then some high knees and then other footwork. As you get really tall, really quickly you get kinda slow.

What was the biggest adjustment basketball-wise when coming over from Ireland?

 

The speed of the game, the physicality of the game, and how serious everyone is about it.  In Ireland it’s just fun and games.  Like people here, they work out like one in the morning – I’m used to like, training with a team. That’s how we do it. That’s why the development has been different for me.  I was probably one of the best players in the country back then.  For my age.  There were some good players though.  Now looking back it was kinda like, eh.  There was one guard though, Matt Drummond.  He was good.  I had to wait a couple months before I could play when I came here, just the speed of everything…they threw me into the fire though.

 

Biggest non-basketball adjustment?

 

So basically, I’m in New York so I’m in the city.  In Brooklyn.  So, how there are mad trains and mad buses, and how you don’t use cars to get anywhere…and just the speed of life. It was a big change.  I lived in a very nice estate in Ireland, that you had to drive everywhere. Everywhere’s kinda far…hilly – quiet.  Ireland’s nice, the weather’s just horrendous.  Sometimes you can have all four seasons in a day.  Freezing, then warm, then it gets kinda hot and it’ll rain.

 

You’ve been living in New York for a few years now, do you ever get homesick?

 

Oh yeah.  All the time.  I’ve got a ton of friends and even now, a ton of people follow me like “yo you’re my inspiration”…I actually have to go back and run a camp – I have to give a speech and everything.  A ton of people are going to be there. [laughing] I’m looking at them like, yo I’m just a regular kid – I don’t look at it like how they look at it.  I look at it like I’m just playing ball you know…

What are you planning on saying in your speech?

 

Basically…first thing they’re gonna ask me is if I can dunk.  After that there just gonna ask me questions about my life.  “How can we get there?” They all want to come over, but unfortunately they can’t all come, but who am I to say they can’t.  So I’m going to let them know they have to work hard, and try and tell them how I much work out – and how you have to stay focused on academics. That plays a huge part.  Because I have good academics my recruitment is great.  I have a 3.7 – because of that my recruitment took off.

 

You have well over 20 Division I scholarship offers now, which gives you the opportunity to pick a school that really fits you.  What are you looking for out of the programs that are recruiting you?

 

I want to be somewhere where I can play right away.  My goal honestly is to be a pro.  I’m going to try man.  I just started playing ball..like I’m working hard, so I think I have a chance.  That’s why I work out so much – I’m just trying to work on my skills.  I’m really gonna try.

 

What do you think you need to work on to become a more complete player, and hopefully reach your goal of playing professionally?

 

I think I need to work on outside shooting. ‘Cause i’m athletic enough to play the three, I think if I could spread the floor more I could really be good.  I do a lot of ball handling in workouts, because that’s the goal.  I’m trying to make the NBA.  Obviously still think the academics, so I can play anywhere in the country – and I really have to extend my game. Do the repetition so much so that when it comes game time it just comes naturally.  I’m going to work hard, so that once I get to college, I really can cement myself as one of the best bigs in the country.

Bigger Than Ball Vol. 4: Souleymane Koureissi

Known as the mecca of basketball, New York City is home to a large percentage of the world’s top youth basketball talent.  In a one block radius in Harlem you’ll find one future NBA lottery pick in Mohammed Bamba, and at least two other high level Division I prospects (Jalen Carey & Anthony Nelson).  6’9” wing Souleymane Koureissi grew up in these same houses, but took a much different road to success than that of his peers.  

Souleymane, or Sal as his friends call him, was the definition of a late bloomer.  Two years ago Koureissi was three inches shorter, less skilled, and playing the Center position for his High School-Iona Prep in New Rochelle, NY.  Sal was forced to watch his friends be courted by college coaches and spoiled by shoe companies, while he struggled to make a name for himself in the basketball world.  His AAU team, Castle Athletics, was not a shoe sponsored team at the time, and he was playing in a limited role for his high school.  Koureissi had no scholarship offers.  

Both of Sal’s parents immigrated to United States from the African country of Mali in search of a better life for their children and Sal seems to have adopted the same attitude of personal advancement as his parents  He was very vocal about witnessing the success of others and aspiring to have a better life than he’s had.  Growing up and seeing his peers achievements inspired Koureissi to be better–to want more.  Sal had an impressive summer on the Adidas Circuit in 2017, proving his name belongs on the short list of elite basketball players.  He now holds more than a dozen scholarship offers, including one from St. Louis University.  He is an example to younger basketball players around NYC who have yet to receive their break, that hard work makes anything achievable.  We sat down for a brief Q & A with Souleymane Koureissi, the Most Outstanding Prospect of Hoop Group Elite Camp.

 

 

We saw you play a few years ago at the gotham league when you were relatively unknown.  You’re obviously a completely different player now..so what’s the motivating factor behind you wanting to take your game to the next level?  

 

Wanting to change my family’s lives and going to school for free…hopefully making the pros some day. I want my family to have a different lifestyle.  But, honestly it’s just fun for me.  I love to play so…

 

Over the last couple of years, your mindset on the court has grown to be more determined. What drives you? Why do you play?

 

I don’t have really have a set thing to think about — but I would say I play because my older brother played it before me – he was good and he always used to beat me.  So I was just always determined to beat him.  So, I play it because I’m determined to be better than him.  

 

What made you choose to go to Iona Prep to play high school basketball?

 

Honestly? I didn’t really have a lot of options at the time.  I was going to go to a school in Washington Heights – a public school called WHEELS, and then last minute I played for an AAU team – Castle Athletics, and my coach helped me get in there.

 

How has it been for you playing there?

 

They actually recently just got a new coach, he coached the JV originally.  He’s tough, he’s gonna make us run a lot, but it will be good.  

 

Do you have any teammates who are going through the same recruiting process as you?

 

Yeah its funny, me and my teammate Josh were both unknown – now we have a competition to see who can pick up the most offers.  I think I’m up two or three right now.  

 

Who’s the best player you’ve played against at hoop group camp so far?

 

Probably Adrian Nelson.  I didn’t know who he was at first – he was strong and athletic, and it was an early morning game so it was tough.

 

Your sophomore year of high school, you had no college scholarship offers.  How has your opinion of recruiting and selecting a school changed from then to now?

 

Then I just wanted to get an offer bad.  I was seeing everyone else getting offered and I just wanted one bad.  I needed one.  But, now that I have plenty, I’m looking at the schools actually, and looking into the academic and athletic aspect and where I can fit in.  So there’s a lot more thinking that goes into it.  

 

What are you looking for in recruiting? What do you expect out of the coaches and university?

 

Definitely a good academic school first – because basketball always stops and I want to be able to get a job after college.  After that, I want to go to a school where I can play and where I’m comfortable with the coaches and basketball side of it – just a good fit.  

 

How do your parents feel about you getting scholarship offers?

 

Honestly, they’re just excited that they don’t have to pay.  I was probably going to college regardless..they’re actually proud of my grades.  This year I ended up with an 86 average. I put in a lot more work in the classroom this year.  When I try hard, usually I get good grades so-   

 

What do you like to do when you’re not playing basketball?

 

When I’m not playing I’m usually just hanging out with my girlfriend – chillin with my brothers, my friends – a lot of stuff.  I play a lot of 2k…I’m the best in my house though.  I’m a Cavs fan but I usually play with Toronto, but as long as I know who the player is I get buckets.  Like the Nets..they’re from brooklyn and I can’t name half the players on their roster.  

 

Do you have any siblings or family that lives with you?

So there are five people in my house other than me and my parents.  There are two sets of twins – my brother and sister are older than me, they’re twins.  Then there’s my younger brother – he’s 16.  Then there are twins under him, and they’re 9.

 

Where is your family from?

 

My family is from Mali in West Africa.  We all speak mandingo.  I always get jokes…you know the movie, I never watched it – it was some movie where the guy is like “I’m the captain now”.  [laughing] I hate that.  

 

New York City is known for its basketball talent.  How does the talent level in your area compare to others? Do the better players ever play together?

 

We have the most talented basketball block in the country.  Jalen Carey actually lives there, Mohammed Bamba lives across the street, Anthony Nelson’s also from that block – so there’s a lot of talent.  We do something called midnight madness every once in awhile.  At like 12 o’clock at night everybody just comes out to the court and plays basketball.  It’s cool.  

 

What do you think the difference is between you and somebody who is ranked in the top 50?

 

Honestly I think it’s athleticism.  I think if I was able to take my strength and athleticism to the next level I would be right there.  I think skill wise I’m there already.  

 

Favorite Rapper?

 

Right now? It’s Jay kritch.  Listen to him.  He’s from my area.  He’s gonna blow up, remember the name.  

 

Who has been the most influential person in your life?

 

Probably my dad.  He’s a hard working guy – seeing him wake up every morning and go to work.  He drives a truck – so he wakes up at 4 am everyday and comes in at like 6 – he’s a hard working guy – seeing him go to work everyday motivates me.  

 

How was it playing on the Adidas circuit?

 

We didn’t play on it last year, so this was our team’s first year – just the amount of coaches that we’re there – the competition level was great all around.  It really helped me explode with my recruiting – I played great so that helped…I remember we had a game versus Exum Elite.  They had Emmanuel Akot I think his name was, who’s committed to Arizona and some 7’2” kid. They had a good team.  We ended up losing, but it was a good game for me.  

 

You grew up in an area in Harlem, the Foster Buildings, that had so much basketball talent. Growing up with these guys, seeing them grow and seeing yourself grow, what sets you apart from everyone else who’s not in your position?

 

I think I was kind of a late bloomer.  As far as them, they’ve always been pretty good, but for me I just started getting offers so yeah – but it’s been really competitive.

 

What advice would you give to someone else who’s also a late bloomer and is in the same position you were in a couple years ago; undiscovered, with no college offers?

 

Just to keep working.  You can’t hide talent – so if you keep working and keep putting in work day in and day out you’re bound to get seen.  Trust the process.  

 

You have had a huge jump in your game over the last couple years and have had to work extremely hard to take your game to the next level.   How do you plan on taking your game up a notch again when you reach college, playing against better competition?

 

I’m going to do the same thing that got me here. Keep working.   Getting in the gym as much as I can, putting up shots as much as I can, and hopefully I can continue to improve.  

 

-Thomas Hayden