Best Training Plan to Maximize Basketball Performance

For over a century, basketball has captivated our athletic senses in a dynamic fashion. Part of what makes the game so unique compared to other sports is the “stop and go” rhythm of the game that forces its participants to strategize their next explosive movement and plan of attack. The tempo of basketball is ever-changing and the different plays reflect a team’s technique in dictating the pace of the game. When attempting to design a training plan to improve performance, much of our thought process is guided by this framework.


For starters, cardiovascular fitness is of utmost importance when doing practice drills to improve your performance. Before we decide to play, it is crucial that we work on drills that promote agility, flexibility, and quick lateral movement for both the offensive and defensive end. These movements allow us to become better defenders and by becoming better defenders, we help our team control the overall tempo of the game in our favor.

Endurance and Recovery

Endurance plays a key role in our ability to play with a consistent energy level throughout the game, but it is not the only factor of our training plan. Another variable that is often overlooked is our ability to recover from quick “spurts” with flexibility and renewed dynamism. The ability to stop, refresh, and reinitiate our muscles “take-off” mechanism with fluidity plays a large role in our ability to pace ourselves throughout the game. This is the reason that drills are often followed up by a quick stretching period for rejuvenation.


With this in mind, here are a few exercises that will help you in your quest to get better at basketball:

  1. The Glute Bridge – A lower body exercise designed to improve explosive movements in the game.
  2. Dumbbell Press – This basic strength training exercise not only improves the chest but builds strength in the lats which improves the dexterity of your shot.
  3. Front Squat- Designed to keep your core solid, this exercise will promote balance and equilibrium in the game.
  4. Jump Rope – As silly as it sounds, a simple jump rope can be one of your most effective tools in building your cardiovascular fitness and endurance.

Building these workout drills early on in a player’s basketball career will promote good habits and decrease the likelihood of injury. Many of these training drills are covered in Mike Rice Workouts, a twice-a-week program that builds a disciplined training regime for all participants. In this program, both offensive and defensive drills are emphasized, and being trained in both areas will be useful for switching stances with fluidity throughout the game.


While agility and having a strong core are great starters, we should not downplay the importance of weight lifting and maximizing your raw strength either. As Myron Medcalf of ESPN reports, “strength training long ago used to be perceived as ruining a basketball player’s shot” but is now blended into a diverse routine that is used in many aspects of the game — depending on the basketball player’s goals, position, and aspirations.

Therefore, building a consistent shooter’s form with a strong core baseline will ensure that we optimize every player’s potential before taking on their first challenge on the court. An efficient youth basketball camp will promote these skills and the connections between each area while promoting a productive overview of how the game works as a whole.

2017 Hoop Group Toy Drive Basketball Clinic

All toys will be donated to K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital

through Shore Children’s Dental Care’s “Give a Smile” campaign

Coaches Mike Rice, Tiny Green, James Cooper Jr, Austin Kelley, Zack Curran and Cooper Handelsman with our players at Hoop Group’s first Annual Holiday Toy Drive Basketball Clinic.

On December 12th, Hoop Group hosted its first Annual Holiday Toy Drive Basketball Clinic. Players who attended brought a toy to donate to the K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital and received a Hoop Group basketball clinic. Former division 1 coaches Mike Rice and Tiny Green volunteered to lead the workout with the help of Hoop Group Elite’s Austin Kelley, Zack Curran and Cooper Handelsman. Hoop Group Headquarters also shared coupons for one FREE Mike Rice or Tiny Green workout with those who donated toys to Shore Children’s Dental Care.

Hoop Group’s Holiday Toy Drive Basketball Clinic collected over 300 toys for the K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital. On December 23rd, Amy from Shore Children’s Dental Care picked up the presents and brought them to the hospital to be shared with its patients.

Hoop Group would like to thank all those who participated and helped to make our Toy Drive a success. A special thank you to Amy, Mike Rice, Tiny Green, James Cooper, Austin Kelley, Zack Curran, Cooper Handelsman, James Cooper Jr and the rest of the Hoop Group staff for donating their time to the cause.

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Hoop Group Headquarters | 1930 Heck Ave. Neptune, NJ | (732) 502-2255


Crucial Physical and Psychological Skills You Gain through Basketball



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.”


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.

Junior Elite Featured Player: Chris Lester



Chris Lester
New York, NY
PSA Cardinals

Scouting Report:  Chris is your prototypical New York City wing.  He can attack the basket in transition with his speed, length, and athleticism, and he embraces contact on both ends of the floor.  Chris is able to knock down the open jumper with time and space and uses this to set up a lot of his drives.  Though he is best in transition, Chris has the skillset to become an elite player in any style of play.

Events Attended: NYC Jr. Elite, Fall Jr. Jam Fest

Philadelphia Top 100 Recap


Philadelphia Top 100 Recap

With over 100 great high school players and 25 college coaches from all over the northeast in attendance, the Philadelphia Top 100 did not disappoint! Players were given the opportunity to compete against some of the best that Philly has to offer, while receiving instruction from our top-notch staff comprised of D2, D3, and high school coaches.

Each player was given the opportunity to play in front of over 25 college coaches, as well as the National Recruiting Report, which has over 300 subscribers from every level of college basketball. There is no individual event that can provide student-athletes with the level of instruction, competition, and exposure that the Hoop Group Top 100’s provide!

philly-top-100      phillllyphilly-top-100-save

All-Philadelphia Top 100

Position  Player
Guard Antonio Rizzuto (Northeastern HS)
Guard Lonnie Walker (’17 Reading HS)
Wing Max Duegen (’17 Rocktop Academy)
Wing Tyrone Nesby (’17  Reading HS)
Forward Justin Steers (’18 Friends Central)
Post Rodney Simon (’17 Rocktop Academy)


Check out our upcoming Top 100 dates!