Player Development | Coach Jake Russell
Player Development is a concept that has been gaining some traction over the past 5-10 years. When I was a kid (I’m 31 now), I was limited to Homework Basketball, Pistol Pete movies, and whatever my two older brothers decided to teach me. As I got older, I used to watch college and NBA games and try to replicate what I saw. It took a great deal of effort to educate myself on how to get better. There was no internet montage of move series and with footwork/spacing concepts.
Today, the basketball world is changing. Training is taking over. YouTube is bursting with everyone and anyone trying to show different ways to train. And, honestly, I love it. Basketball has always been a sport where you were told you can mainly improve if you just play. But sometimes, especially in today’s pandemic-filled world, players find it difficult to get 10 guys together to run 5-on-5.
What should you look for in training? One of the most difficult parts of training is sifting through the overwhelming information out there. I’m going to give you some ideas and outline how you could/should build your individual workouts.
For every session I have with a player, I work off of these concepts:
- Skill Enhancement
- Game Development
- Decision Making
1) Skill Enhancement: We will work on 1 or 2 specific skills per block. It’s extremely detailed and focused, specifically on concepts that the athlete needs to develop. It’s more about quality over quantity.
2) Game Development: This is where we focus on actions and concepts that could happen in the game. This could include screen actions, pick and roll reads, etc. These concepts can have aspects of skill development and decision training, but will be geared to specific game movements. This is great if you know your role and movements in a team setting.
For example… If you are a player coming off down screens a lot in your teams offense:
- Replicate a down screen with a cone or a body.
- Coach change of pace to get open, the proper footwork on running off/using a screen.
- After using the screen, there are reads the offensive player has to make. Fade? Curl? Catch and shoot? Catch and attack? Catch, attack, skip pass?
You can really go down a rabbit hole on game development aspects. Just think of situations that happen in a game. Then, replicate and break down the skills. You can add in reads according to where the defender is. The sky is the limit when it comes to game development concepts.
3) Decision Making: Training the ability to make decisions is a new concept in basketball training, but it is vital to the success of any athlete. How many times in a game did you have the skill to make a move, but it wasn’t the best choice in that moment. This leads to bad shots, turnovers, or easy points for the other team. I’m happy to say, decision-making is trainable, and should be involved in every training session in some facet.
4) Workouts: This is similar to the typical basketball training. We really want to focus on reps and speed. We can have aspects of game development and skill enhancement. Remember, any movement can become advanced if you increase speed, effort, and precision.
Absolutes of Each Session: Ball handling, rips/pivots/jabs, change pace/change direction, finishing, and shooting.
Rep Schemes: Here are a few ways to break down the reps for you workout:
- Timed: This works well with skill enhancement. Don’t focus too much on the rep count. Rather, focus learning the skill and having high quality reps. An easy way to do this is to do a 10 or 20 min. block where you work on a specific skills. In an hour, you can work on 3-6 different skills.
- Reps: This is where the player can just do a rep count. For shooting, it could be “Shoot 20 Shots” or “Make 20 Shots.”
- Reps and Location: A player can do X amount of reps in a different locations of the court. This works great with shooting and attacking drills. The areas I recommend are: The Corners (2), Wings (2) Top of Key/Lane (1), Elbow/Elbow Extended (2). That’s a total of 7 spots you can work from.
There is an endless amount of training styles and concepts. Three keys to success to develop as a basketball player are: 1) Work Hard, 2) Work Consistently, and, 3) Be intentional. If you can work hard, at a specific goal consistently for a long period of time, success will follow.
“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” – Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson
Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or comments.