Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Keys to player development

Here are seven keys to effective player development:
Build your game brick by brick. Every rep of every set of every practice is important. How you do anything is how you do everything. You build a house one brick at time. You build your game one drill at a time.
Leave your comfort zone. Once a player has the movement, skill or footwork down, they need to push harder than game speed. The harder you practice, the easier things become during games.
Be innovative. Casual spot shooting and stationary ball handling are more boring than yesterday's newspaper. Plus one can argue how transferable those drills really are. Drills need to be innovative, yet purposeful. They need to be designed to improve game performance...not look cool for a YouTube video. Be innovative to improve effectiveness, not to look cool.
Know the "why". Every drill must have perceived relevance. That means the player clearly understands how this particular skill or drill will improve their game performance. Will dribbling three basketballs reduce turnovers when the lights come on and the cheerleaders start dancing on Friday nights? Doubtful. Therefore it has minimal perceived relevance.
Use visualization. Great players like Kevin Durant and Chris Paul don't just do a drill; they compete in that drill with the same focus and effort as if they were in the waning seconds of Game 7 of the NBA Finals. They imagine they are being guarded by an elite defender; not just "going around a cone."
Avoid fatigue and boredom. These are two of the biggest killers of player development. You can combat this by being in excellent basketball shape and using innovative, purposeful drills (No. 2 above). When your body gets tired, your mind quickly follows. No one can get better at a skill when his or her mind and body are exhausted.
Do everything with precision. Details matter! Perfect form and footwork are imperative. If you want to build a beautiful brick house (No. 1), you have to lay every single brick with care and precision. Once you start sloppily laying bricks...the house suffers (both in appearance and structural integrity).
Also make sure you understand and remember that skill improvement is a process of 2's:
  • It takes 2 minutes to learn a new move or new skill.
  • It takes 2 weeks to work on it daily until you develop confidence in it.
  • It takes 2 months of constant work to be competent enough to use it in a game.

Friday, January 25, 2013

UWRF Youth 3 on 3 League

Check out the link below for information on the new UWRF 3 on 3 youth league.

2013 UWRF 3 on 3

Sharp shooters in RF


3 cues for better shooting

If you're a good basketball shooter, the coach will find a spot for you on the floor, especially at the high school level. Thus, it becomes extremely important to learn the correct basketball shooting technique, and to practice various shooting drills over and over and over again. Larry Bird didn't become one of the greatest shooters of all-time just because he had a pretty shot. He practiced relentlessly too.
It's amazing how many kids don't know how to shoot a basketball correctly. They can't even explain the correct shooting technique, let alone demonstrate it. So we use a couple of cues to correct even the most horrid shooter's shots.
Once again, we use the Wooden approach to improving a basketball player's shot: quick, short cues not long explanations, as well as showing the player how to do it correctly, showing them how they are doing it, and then showing them how to do it correctly one more time.
Here are three cues for better basketball shooting:

Start Small End Tall

We actually stole this one from Ganon Baker. Very few kids actually explode into their shot. They start way too tall and never get their legs involved. They may shoot fine 8-10 feet from the basket in stationary drills, but once we move them to the 3-point line or it comes to the 4th quarter, every shot becomes short. And if it isn't short, it's on a line drive with little hope of going in. Plus, a tall shooter coming off the screen is a slow, poor shooter.
So we use the cue "start small, end tall." Originally, we would use cues like "bend the knees", "push the hips back", "sit back", or "hip hinge." We like "start small, end tall" better because it not only reminds the shooter to explode into their shot by pushing their hips back, but it also reminds them to end in an extended position with a great follow-through. Essentially, it gives us the best bang for our buck in the fewest words possible. We quickly found out that the fewer words we use, the more likely the athletes will remember it.

Snap the Elbow

This is one of the biggest basketball shooting mistakes we see with female players: not extending their follow through. They will continually short-arm their shot. That almost always results in a line drive.
Once again, we used to use "snap the wrist", "hand in the rim", "up and out", and "shoot out of the telephone booth." However, we like "snap the elbow" better because it solves multiple problems with one cue. It reminds the athlete to extend the follow through. It also reminds them to shoot up and then out as it's almost impossible to really snap your elbow without extending your arm up first. And it indirectly reminds the athlete to snap their wrist on the follow through because once you snap your elbow, your wrist will automatically snap.
The result: a beautiful arching shot that touches nothing but the net.

Middle to Middle

This is another wrist/elbow problem we see often with basketball shooters. Either the shooter will snap their wrist to the inside/outside of the rim, or they will have their elbow sticking out and not lined up towards the basket. Although the shooter can make adjustments for these and still be a good shooter, she will never be a great shooter without thousands of hours of practice to compensate for the error in technique.
We used to use cues like "center of the rim", "back of the room", or "grab the rim", but we like "Middle to the Middle" better. Once again, it attacks two problems with as few words as possible. Players are reminded to take their middle finger to the middle of the rim (where the middle finger goes, the hand will follow), as we as line up the middle of their elbow to the middle of the rim. Thus, their accuracy should be improved tremendously. If they miss shots, they should always be missing long or short, never right or left.
All three of these cues are absolutely useless unless you explain the meanings behind them. You always have to speak the same language as the athlete. What you say may not always be what they hear. Thus, we usually make the athletes repeat it back to us in their own words just to see if they are hearing what we're saying. Plus, it also gives us the opportunity to find a cue that may be a better fit. Once we're both on the same page as far as cues are concerned, shooting drills become a lot more efficient and effective with as a little talking as possible.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Playing time video...

5th and 6th grade tournament this weekend!

The RFYBB is holding it's annual 5th & 6th grade tournament this weekend at the high school.  Please stop out on Saturday between 9:00am and 5:00pm to check out the action.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

7th & 8th Grade tournament this weekend!

The RFYBB will be hosting our annual 7th & 8th grade tournament this weekend at the River Falls High School.  Games kickoff at 9:00am and the championship game is scheduled for 5:10pm.

Please consider stopping out and supporting the future of River Falls basketball.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Energy Giver or Energy Taker

Which one are you?

Every time you interact with another human being… you either give them energy (‘fill their bucket’) or you take their energy (‘drain their bucket.’).  In every instance you are either an energy giver or an energy taker.

If you want to be successful in life, you need to not only be an energy giver… you need to surround yourself with energy givers.

Energy givers make those around them better.  9 out of 10 people adamantly admit they are more productive when they are around positive people (aka ‘energy givers’).

It’s pretty simple… if every member of your program (coaches and players) is an energy giver during a workout… the workout becomes more intense and more productive by default.  Nothing else is possible!  Obviously, if you have productive workouts on a consistent basis, you will make progress.

Not everyone can be 7 feet tall. Not everyone can jump out of the gym.  But everyone can be an energy giver.  Being an energy giver is a conscious choice.  It is an attitude.

Energy givers raise the confidence of everyone they come in contact with.  Energy givers improve morale, chemistry, and performance.  Coaches and teammates covet players who are energy givers.

Are you an energy giver?

During your off-season workouts, do you give energy by listening and being coachable? By being a supportive teammate? By being enthusiastic? By working as hard as you possibly can?

Or do you drain energy by loafing, arguing, and complaining?

If you want to stand out at your summer league games, AAU games, and camps… and really have coaches take notice… then you need to be an energy giver!

Energy givers thank their teammates for a good pass.

Energy givers help their teammates up after they take a charge or dive for a loose ball.

Energy givers cheer their teammates on when they are not in the game.

Energy givers listen to their coach with their ears and their eyes.

Energy givers communicate on defense.

Energy givers show up early and are prepared to workout, practice or play.

Energy givers always give that little extra.  And it goes a long way.

Make a conscious effort to be an energy giver… it will pay off… trust me.

2013 - 5th grade - Elk Mound