This morning, I tuned in to Joel Smith's Podcast with Michael Zweifel (highly, highly recommended) about the importance of autonomy, creativity, and freedom in warmups. When we think about our standard dynamic warmup, what does it look like? Everything the whistle? Everyone in lines? Same thing every day?
Keep in mind, they were primarily speaking in the context of warmups, but this can apply to workout, practice, and even game settings as well. If we constantly funnel athletes into what feels like an assembly line of drills, controlled environments, and drills that they're working alone in, the athletes adapt to this. They lose creativity, autonomy. Now, most time it isn't this obvious, but in my opinion, we have to start working more towards the creative and free-flowing end of the spectrum.
Sport isn't a controlled environment. It's chaotic, crazy, and unpredictable. so when training is controlled and predictable, it doesn't truly prepare us for the competitive environment.
How can we do this?
Yes, it's easy to have your athletes memorize a monotonous warmup or set of drills each day, but it's not about our job being easy. Let's all get more creative and put our athletes in engaging environments!
I'm a huge proponent of variable shooting and variable practice in general because of all the research that backs it, but sometimes training is such an art that things go against the science. Today I had one of those epiphanies, realizing that sometimes the old-school "what worked for me" method ways can hold some value at times. Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments, and check out our block vs. variable content on the platform!
Over the last couple of years in the training industry and watching what some of the best in the field do, I’ve noticed 3 different traits that make all of them successful. Results, Relationships, and Retention. Regardless of whether you are a coach or a trainer, these three factors remain true. Many do one area well, but the most successful do all 3 at an elite level.
Remember that Spanish class you had (or have) in school? The one where you worked your ass off for 4+ years to get good grades but graduated not being able to hold a real conversation? Me too. What if I told you the exact same thing was happening in basketball?
By KJ Conklin (Olney Central College)
As a college basketball coach, I can tell you with ease what I really want from a player that plays for me:
There’s an obsession in the training culture with individual, 1-on-1 training. Parents and kids will pay a premium to have the full attention of the coach or trainer, ensuring that they target all the small details and needs of the player. This is undoubtedly valuable! In terms of polishing one’s game and technique, these individual workouts are essential. But, with that being said, I’d argue that small group workouts are even more valuable. Hear me out:
This topic is better shown in examples than verbalized, but I’ll do my best to give you the big idea in this article. If you want to check out a ton of ways to do this, head over to our small-sided games area of the platform!
Creating context is one of the absolute best ways we can get our athletes working on a certain skill, technique, or weakness in their game without even mentioning it. And as we talk about in our frequency of cueing video, we’re always aiming to teach more with less words. Although it may take a bit longer for players to improve their performance through implicit learning (the style in which neither us or them explicitly refers to what they're learning), this style helps players retain what they learn. In other words, it become sticky and they’re able to pull it out of their back pocket in a game, which is what actually matters, right?
All of basketball comes down to two processes: perceiving the situation, and acting on it (deciding to act on it can also be added in between). As we come up the floor, we perceive the spacing of the floor. Where our defender is. Where their feet are oriented, and what openings that provides us with. We pick up on this and accordingly make the action(s) that the situation calls for. In most training environments, we only emphasize this second part—the action. We work on the moves, but not the triggers that cause us to do these moves in-game.
The game of basketball is becoming increasingly intertwined with the accompanying “performance” side of things that is generally considered separate. So, regardless of whether you’re purely on the basketball side of development or coaching, it’s valuable to have an understanding for what players should be doing in-season when we talk about training in the weight room. I’ll keep it short and sweet, but the goal by the end of this article is for you to understand the principles of in-season training enough to call out strength coaches who are going against them, give players general advice, and control players’ load as they go about their season.
Basketball training as an industry is expanding at an unbelievable pace. More players and parents are taking the sport seriously as a path to get college paid for, and as a result more money than ever is being spent on player development. Opportunities are far from scarce.