Category Archives: Product Reviews

The Perfect Present for Basketball Coaches

BC 250Still looking to buy a last minute Christmas present for your “favorite” basketball coach?

Then by all means consider subscribing to Basketball Classroom! (Especially if your favorite coach is you!)

Basketball Classroom is the first of its kind in terms of coaching programs. It’s no nonsense, straight to the point information produced by real coaches for real coaches and is presented in several multimedia formats to accommodate all learning styles – just like a real classroom.

The program contains dozens of videos, special reports, audio files, charts, diagrams, interviews, and animated plays. It doesn’t matter if you are just starting to coach your first team or if you’ve been pacing the sidelines for years, you can benefit from the information in Basketball Classroom.

Some Christmas gifts lose their value almost as soon as they are opened. The benefits from enrolling in Basketball Classroom can be career changing and will last forever!

Check it out now! – you and your players will be glad you did (make sure your speakers are on or you have a headset on to watch the preview video).

Merry Christmas from your friends at HoopSkills!!

Simple and Effective Jump Rope Workout

Jump Rope WorkoutFew basketball related exercises are as simple or as effective as jumping rope.

When used correctly,  jumping rope can jump start your cardiovascular conditioning, strengthen your feet and ankles, and improve your foot speed, agility, and coordination.

Here is a simple but very effective jump rope workout.

Start with 30 seconds for each set and gradually increase the time up to a minute.

The goal is to jump continually throughout the entire set without any “misses.”

    1. Jump on 2 feet
    2. Jump on 2 feet while moving side to side
    3. Jump on 2 feet while moving forward and backward
    4. Staggered jumps off 1 foot. Right, left, right, left, etc.
    5. X jumps with feet shoulder width apart. Cross right over left and then left over right
    6. Jump twice on your right foot and then twice on your left foot. Keep repeating
    7. Heel/Toe. Jump off the heel of one foot and the toe of the other foot

If you are really serious about your conditioning and want to make your workouts more intense and experience even better results, consider using a Heavy Rope.

“Greatest Team” Questions

Beyond SuccessI’m always looking for different ways to get into the hearts and minds of my players.

I feel that if I can really get to know them and discover what makes them “tick” then I have a much better chance of coaching them effectively.

Here is an exercise I found in Brian Biro’s book “Beyond Success” which is a leadership book based on John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success.

I think it could be even more effective if it was conducted by team captains!

Have each of your players answer these “Greatest Team” questions in as much detail as possible:

  1. What was (is) the greatest team you’ve ever been part of?
  2. What made (makes) it such a great team?
  3. How did (do) you feel to be part of the team?
  4. What did (do) you contribute to the team?
  5. What did (do) you receive from the team?
  6. In one sentence or phrase, how would you describe the mind set of the team? Where did that mind set came from?

10 Ways to Screw Up Your Club

Score Takes Care of ItselfNow is the time of year when lots of parents go to summer club tournaments and think to themselves, “I can do better than this! I’m going to start my own club team!”

Being involved in club basketball can be extremely fun and rewarding but like many things can also be much harder than it looks.

Here are 10 ways to screw things up when it comes to running a basketball club or any other organization for that matter.

They are taken from Hall of Fame football coach Bill Walsh’s book “The Score Takes Care of Itself“.

  1. Exhibit patience, paralyzing patience.
  2. Engage in delegationg – massive delegating or conversely, engage in too little delegating.
  3. Act in a tedious, overly cautious manner.
  4. Become best buddies with certain employees. (Or families, or players)
  5. Spend excessive amounts of time socializing with subordinates.
  6. Fail to continue hard nosed performance evaluations of longtimes members, the ones most likely to go on cruise control and relax.
  7. Fail to actively participate in efforts to appraise and acquire new people.
  8. Trust others to carry our your fundamental duties.
  9. Find ways to get out from under the responsibilities of your position, to move accountability from yourself to others – the blame game.
  10. Promote an organizational environment that is comfortable and laid back in the misbelief that the workplace should be overly fun, lightheated, and free from appropriate levels of tension and urgency.

Keep Your Head Up When Dribbling!

Dribble Specs ReviewWhen most people think of ball-handling they naturally think of just dribbling the basketball. While that is certainly a large part of it, it is definitely not the only part.

Being able to pass off the dribble and shoot off the dribble are crucial skills that are dependent on being able to handle the ball quickly, efficiently, and without looking down!

If you have to look at the ball while you dribble it, you will never be able to effectively break a press, lead a fast break, run the pick and roll correctly, or shoot a pull up jump shot.

We have found that one of the best ways to improve your ball-handling while eliminating the need to look down is through the use of Dribble Specs, a simple yet effective tool that will give you near immediate improvement.

Dribble SpecsWhile wearing the Dribble Specs use the following drill progression to take your ball handling to an entirely new level:

The first drill is not really a dribbling drill but is actually a warm up drill designed to work on fingertip strength and control while getting used to the ball in your hands.

Keep your legs and arms straight and just bend at the waist. Reach down and start to flip the ball from hand to hand making sure that you keep it only in your fingertips. Keep the ball off the floor and focus on making sure that the ball is above your toes and not hitting the ground.

Go for 30 seconds without an error before changing spots. When you change spots simply bring the ball up to your waist and flip it back and forth there as well. Make sure your arms are completely extended and the ball is only touching your fingertips. Once you have worked the ball around your waist for 30 seconds, circle it above your head for another 30 seconds while following the same rules.

The next drill in the progression is called “Pound Dribbles.” Take a ball and dribble it with one hand as hard and fast as you can for 30 seconds. The ball should literally be pounded into the ground! The ball should be dribbled waist high for the first 30 seconds before switching hands and doing the same thing. After 30 seconds with each hand, the ball is returned to the first hand and the sequence is repeated, but this time the ball is only dribbled knee high. The third sequence of this drill requires that the ball now be dribbled (pounded) no higher than your ankles.

Once you are comfortable with the drill you should start to incorporate 2 balls into the mix by dribbling with each hand at the same time. Again, start first at your waist and then move down below your knee and then finally down to your ankles. Make sure you’re not slapping at the ball but are maintaining control by using your fingertips.

When you first start using two balls utilize what we call “2 Ball Same,” where both balls are dribbled up and down at exactly the same time.  Later you can work on “2 Ball Alternate,” where one ball is hitting the floor on its way down while the other ball is on its way up.

Now once you have warmed up and then spent some time executing stationary pound dribbles, it’s time to do a little full court work that you can call “Down & Backs.” Start by dribbling from one baseline to the other as quickly as possible while maintain complete control of the ball. First use your right hand, then your left hand and then use two balls at the same time.

Some things to focus on and remember with this drill:

1. The least amount of dribbles the better. The player should push the ball in front of him making the most of each bounce.

2. The eyes should always be up so as to see the floor.

3. The dribble should go no higher than the waist so that it is easier to control.

4. When using two balls start with “2 Ball Same” and then follow it up with “2 Ball Alternate.”

Don’t let the simplicity of these drills keep you from using them. (After all, if they are really that simple then you shouldn’t have any trouble mastering them!) The drills can be run effectively by themselves but when combined with the Dribble Specs they can elevate your game almost immediately.

The 4 Building Blocks of Champions

Champions Mind BookAccording to Jim Afremow, sports psychologist and author of The Champions Mind, there are four building blocks that need to be arranged in proper order if someone wants to be a champion.

Those building blocks include the:

Technical. Skills, mechanics, talents, execution

Tactical. Strategies, game plans, practice plans

Physical. Athleticism, strength, speed, agility

Mental. Thoughts, feelings, emotions

It seems to me that most basketball players spend the majority of their time trying to develop and improve their technical and/or physical building blocks. Coaches are concerned with their team’s technical and physical attributes but also focus endlessly on the tactical aspects of being a champion.

However, according to Dr. Afremow, the mental building block is the foundation that holds up the other three blocks. Player and coaches who either ignore or underestimate the importance of mental training are usually going to find themselves frustrated in their quest to become a champion.

What have you done lately to train, develop, and improve the mental aspect of your game? Reading this book might be a good place to start!

Rumor: KOBE Wore These When He Scored 81 Points

A reliable source has disclosed that Kobe was indeed wearing these Springbak Speedsoles that night he scored 81…

According to inside sources, Springbaks appeal as a pro player’s “little secret edge” goes back to the late 80’s. Back in the day when the Cowboys were
“America’s Team” Emmitt Smith and the majority of the Cowboys were using Springbaks.

A significant population of NFL players were, and still are, enjoying
the benefits of Springbaks. They had yet to become known in the NBA. LA Laker role player Kurt Rambis was an early adopter of Springbaks.

Fast forward a couple decades. Kurt Rambis back with the Lakers as a GM/Assistant Coach, was banging his head for all the Lakers to wear them. Finally Kobe’s
team relented and started wearing Speedsoles, and coincidentally this is the same time, the Lakers began their winning streak.

About 2 weeks after that point, Kobe has his historic 81 point night. Too bad Springbak can’t afford what Kobe would charge to endorse. Come to think of it, if he was in fact using Springbaks, he probably wouldn’t even want you to know.

Springbak currently holds four separate USA patents (and one foreign patent with several pending) under the new category of performance enhancing shoe components, which are the result of 12 long years of research and development at a cost of several million dollars well spent.

THE SPRINGBAK™ GUARANTEE: Try Speedsoles; GUARANTEED results or you can return them within 30 days. (less than 2 percent have been returned).

Get the full scoop here.

What do Springbak insoles do?

  • Help you jump higher
  • Provide stability & balance
  • Help you run faster
  • Eliminate shin splints
  • Lessens fatigue

6 Tips for Better Free Throw Shooting

shooting-a-basketballI recently watched an outstanding team lose a regional championship playoff game by 12 points after they missed 16 free throws.

Months of preparation and hard work got them to the championship game but a failure to make enough uncontested 15 foot set shots cost them the chance to cut down the nets.

With that in mind, here are 6 tips to better free throw shooting that were written by Rick Torbett and recently posted on the Better Basketball website.

  1. Shooting Mechanics. Develop a ONE-PIECE Free Throw shooting motion. When you pull the trigger, everything goes up and out – no pauses, no detours, no negative motion.

  2. Alignment. Most players line up their strong foot with the center of the goal. This is a mistake. Instead, line up your SHOT LINE – the path that your ball your takes from beginning to release. That’s usually the width of your foot on the inside of your strong foot.

  3. After-the-Whistle Attitude. This is the beginning of a planned and practiced mental exercise that begins with thoughts that open your doors of confidence and composure, culminating with the release of your Free Throw. Often these are drawn from past successes at the Free Throw line.

  4. Find the Groove. Beat the ball to the Free Throw line and shoot some imaginary “practice” Free Throws. See the imaginary ball go in several times until you can remember and “feel the groove” of a made Free Throw.

  5. Pre-Shot Ritual. This is closely tied to your “After-the-Whistle Attitude”. In addition to being physical reminders, a consistent, never changing Pre-Shot Ritual will give you a RHYTHM – the same rhythm that good shots have during running time: Once the ball is given to you, Sight the Rim (first time), Knee Bend, Two Bounces, Inhale/Exhale, Sight the Rim (second time), Pull the Trigger in one smooth motion.

  6. Finish.  Hold your follow-through until the ball goes through the rim. More specifically, hold both arms extended with the goal framed between your forearms/wrists. Your shooting fingers should be above the goal pointing down the center line of the goal.

Pete Carroll on Competition

  • CompetitionCompetition to me is not about beating your opponent. It is about doing your best; it is about striving to reach your potential; and it is about being in relentless pursuit of a competitive edge in everything you do.
  • The traditional definition of competition requires having an opponent. The real opposition is the challenge to remain focused on maximizing your abilities in preparation for the game.
  • My competitive approach is that “it’s all about us.” If we’ve really done the preparation to elevate ourselves to our full potential, it shouldn’t matter whom we’re playing.
  • My opponents are the people who offer me the opportunity to succeed. The tougher my opponents, the more they present me with an opportunity to live up to my full potential and play my best.
  • If you want to “Win Forever, Always Compete.”

(Taken from Pete Carroll’s book “Win Forever.”)

Give Yourself Something Special This Holiday Season

2013 Holiday Basketball GiftJust about every coach I know is excited about their team during fall workouts and really believes that they are going to have a great season.
Then after a few weeks (sometimes sooner) many of these coaches realize their team just doesn’t have what it takes to be competitive night in and night out.

They start working their teams even harder every day but get frustrated when they don’t make any noticeable progress.

They want to achieve so much more for their players, their student body, their administration and for themselves but they just don’t know how to go about it.

The majority of these coaches make a silent resolve to just get through the year while hoping and praying that the next season will be better.

However, a fortunate few seek out and then align themselves with a mentor that points them in the right direction and improves not only this season but ultimately changes their entire career.

If you happen to be looking for such a mentor then now is the time to give yourself (or someone on your staff) an awesome Christmas present and enroll in Basketball Classroom!

The information taught in the classroom has helped coaches worldwide and it can help you too.  Just sign up online and Santa will do the rest –  it could very well be the best present you get this year!