Misunderstood Skill Sets

I want to explain something to every parent and kid who is involved with basketball today. I urge you to please pay close attention to what I am about to tell you. Ball handling and shooting are the two most misunderstood skill sets in our sport right now. These two skill sets are going the way of the dinosaur for a number of reasons and I will explain why.
Marina Mabrey has all four shooting areas mastered

First of all Kids no longer shoot year round, and simply do not get enough shots up daily. Next, very few coaches understand that shooting is a changing skill, so few players understand there are 4 main shooting areas. Layups, which most kids consider an easy shooting skill and use as warm up drill, the mid- range jumper in and out of traffic, the 3 point shot, the corner shot, the most underrated shot in basketball and the all-important deep three point shot. Most kids do not understand that these areas must be practiced and drilled unless you are part of the rare group of natural shooters. Trust me when I tell you this, I know of ONE player in the shore that has all of these shooting talents right now….Marina Mabrey. Most players practice form shooting for hours and rarely do you see a player these days doing competitive shooting drills LIVE! The number of missed lay-ups I see these days is shocking but understandable, because most kids DO NOT PRACTICE COMPETITIVE LAY-UPS. When I train a young man or lady, I never start a session without taking 80 layups…now that may seem like a lot to most, unless you understand there are no less than 11 BASIC LAY-UPS you see every night watching a game and that each kid must have these basic lay-ups in their repertoire. This does not include tear drops, runners or twisting and creative layups that always happen in a game. I am always shocked when I see a coach or trainer not chart a players shooting percentage. Players in many cases have no Idea how many shots they take or make in a practice setting. Therefore they have no idea if they are improving or not. Simply putting up shots without a purpose is a waste of time in my opinion. Just like not practicing the shots you get out of your team offense. I often say to kids playing AAU, like it or not, make shots and you will always appear to play better than you did and miss shots and you will always appear to play worse than you actually did…it’s a fact of life.

Future D1 Guards Nicole Morris and Kelly Campbell are gym rats!

Now when you talk about ball handling and the state of this skill set; it is downright scary. When you talk about ball handling the first thing that comes to most kids mind is dribbling. The Spurs just won a NBA title and all everyone talked about was the ball handling and passing skills, but not one person talked about dribbling, why? Because ball handling is not just dribbling the ball and most people do not consider passing with both hands, jump stops, stride stops, and sprint dribbles which the Spurs do as well as any team I have ever seen… ball handling. I had a little fun with a group of boys going to college last week. I asked them what a sprint dibble was and not one knew, this BLEW ME AWAY. I told them to come to camp next week because they better learn what it is QUICK! Many kids do not know what a crab dribble is.. or know the proper way to use the skill set. Why you ask? Because they always do these drills dummy and never live. Many kids do not know how to use hand-offs or how to set there man up for a hand-off… why you ask? Because most kids don’t consider hand-offs a ball handling skill set. You have kids who practice splitting double teams vs. ball screens and traps in the back court. But yet I can tell you, in all my years, I have only seen a handful of kids come in the gym; and start their ball handling session with floor drills. Please don’t tell me a kid can split double teams and traps who don’t do floor drills, because if you can’t dribble that ball inches from the ground you can only split bad traps, not the GREAT ONES. I see all the tennis balls and gadgets these days, but live ball handling drills? RARE …IF EVER! How many kids do footwork and strength building drills? Many …but how many do hand speed drills? Now let that one sink in for a minute because what is more important than hand speed for players not blessed with great quickness? Hand Speed will all know is the the great equalizer… hand speed my friends is a vital part of ball handing. Now ask yourself this? How many hand speed drills do you do daily? A better question is how many do you know?
Wagner College bound Sam Sullivan understood Ball handling is not just for guards

Tomorrow at the Hoop Group the ball handling camp http://hoopgroup.com/headquarters/summer-basketball-camps/ball-handling-basketball-camp/will run for 3 hours all week followed by shooting for another 3 hours. There are no games and this is a teaching learning environment. It’s a chance for players of all ability, including college level players to improve each skill set. I am always amazed when players are told they can’t dribble with their weak hand and a year later they still can’t. I’m shocked how kids whose shooting is a weakness and each year the problem rears it ugly head. This week is for the gym rats of the world and for the kids who truly understand it takes work and a understanding to improve a weakness. This event is not just for guards…everyone needs to learn how to handle the ball and shoot. I believe this is a great week for kids and I don’t care what level of player you are, this is one of the few times a kid can work for hours all week at improving two of basketball’s most important skill sets, the problem is most kids don’t understand what these two sets involve and the effort it takes to develop them.


College coaches the Academic Elite on July 28th http://hoopgroup.com/new-jersey-girls-academic-elite/ will be followed by the Maroon and White High school Tournament with Shore Teams Contact James Young (e-mail me if you need his number)….players there are still spots available for Academic Elite and High School Coaches this event is not just about D1 players, I expect a large D2 and D3 turnout this year!

Next week is Point Guard Camp and I will Blog about Shore Point guards and the upcoming Camp


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