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Big Tim's training advice for young basketball players.

Young basketball players these days mainly use trainers to help them with their basketball skills. Parents hire these trainers to help their kid with the fundamentals and get to the next level of their basketball careers. I am not against trainers, I have friends who are trainers and make a living from it. There are some things these young basketball players can do, with or without the help of a trainer:


1) Assess your strengths and weaknesses as a player: Your trainer can definitely help you with but it has to be an honest assessment. People in general have problems assessing their strengths and weaknesses in life, so it you have to do some real introspection to be honest about this. If you don't then you will not advance your skills as a basketball player, and you'll be stuck in your basketball development.


2) Go to the court and work on both: You can use a trainer for this, or if you honestly did #1 you don't need them. Find a local court, outdoors or indoors and get in the lab and work. Going to the gym 2-3 hours and working only on your strengths, or staying in your comfort zone is a waste of time. You should be accentuating your strengths, and using most of your time on your weaknesses. Time is a valuable thing so you should make good use of it. YOU DON'T NEED YOUR TRAINER TO GO WORK ON YOUR GAME!!!!! If you really want to get to the highest levels of basketball, you'll have the motivation to do it yourself. You should be dragging your trainer to the gym, not the other way around.


3) Work on every drill full speed: This should be happening no matter where you go work on your game. The person that trains you wants you to do drills, it should always be at full speed. Your opponent is not going to let you lolly gag up the court and be able to score at will. if you're on the court by yourself, you should use your imagination. Pretend there is a defender in front of you on the court, or you have an obstacle that is keeping you from making a certain move on the court. Trainers usually have cones, or garbage cans out there as imaginary defenders/obstacles for you to dribble around or by.


4) Develop a mid range game: This is a dirty word to these so called analytics folks out there(I am not a fan of analytics at all), but having a midrange game opens up your drives to the basket and your three point shot. Two dribble pull-ups are deadly for an offensive player to have. A mid range jump shot is two points, just like a layup or dunk. If you can score the basketball at all three levels on the court(finishing at the rim, mid range, three pointer), it will be very hard for a defender to deal with you.


5) Ball handling: Trainers can help you by giving you ball handling drills and techniques, or you can go watch youtube videos and put them into practice. They have special glasses so you can learn to dribble without looking down at the ball. If you can dribble the basketball with your head up, you can see open teammates busting their tail down the court, and get an easy basket. You can do these drills without a trainer also with the advice I've mentioned above.


6) Defensive slides: Trainers can help you with this or watch youtube videos if you don't have a trainer. Playing defense is very hard and taxing, but you should practice bending your knees, palms out, head up and slide parallel down the court. You need to stay in that defensive stance all the way down the court. If you can do it for 35-40 seconds per possession, then you have a chance to be an excellent defender. College shot clocks are 30 seconds, and most high school teams can't hold the ball more than 45 seconds without turning it over. Defense is effort so you better be in shape which brings me to.


7) You have to be in shape to play basketball, not the other way around: This should be #2 on my list. YOU CANNOT BE AN EFFECTIVE BASKETBALL PLAYER WITHOUT BEING IN SHAPE!!!!! A basketball player has to be in shape to be an effective basketball player, if you're getting tired every minute, you're of very little use to your coaches, your teammates , and your parents in the stands who expect you to be on the court. You can run wind sprints, suicides, one to two mile run, running a full 84 foot court and back, among other running exercises you can do.


8) Mikan Drills: This was named after the first great center in NBA History George Mikan. They have demonstrations on youtube of what this is. It's alternating hands shooting layups, first right hand, take a step while you're taking the ball out of the net, then left hand layup, and so on. This helps you in making layups and getting an angle on your layups by keeping the defender between you and the basket. Your trainer can put this drill in or you can do it by yourself on the court. Most skilled players should be able to hit at least 30 of these in a row on average. It's a layup folks.


9) Free throws: This is one of the most important shots in the game. You shoot two or one and one at a time(you hit the first you get a second, you miss play continues). You should shoot them after you get tired working on your drills. Get a good sweat and shoot them in the middle or end of your session. You will be shooting them in the heat of battle in a game with sweat going down your brow. Shoot them as much in game condition as you can in training.


10) Help your parents out: They are investing in you by paying the trainer, and paying for you to be on these travel teams. Give it your all in training and with your teams so they can feel the investment is worth their time. Yes, parents should be more realistic about the expectations and not put too much pressure on the kid. Fact is they are investing their weekends and weekdays watching, and trying to take measure to get you better. Ideally their minds are in the right place and not have unrealistic expectations placed on you, but they could be spending their money and time on something else that is not basketball related. So thank your parents for their investment in you.


11) For parents, kids, and trainers: 2% of high school players play Division 1 basketball. .5% of those end up in the NBA. There is nothing wrong with playing NCAA Division 2, NCAA Division 3, or NAIA Basketball. Junior college is if the kid does not get their grades in order. This is okay if that's the route they have to go. Look at it this way: the kid does not have to pay for college, and if he picks the right school and right level for his game, he/she will have a joyous college experience. Division 3 is not scholarship but the schools work with you on grants and other scholarship opportunities so you end up paying little to nothing.


12) If this helps one kid in having a joyous basketball experience then I'll be happy. We have to care for these young basketball players as kids first, then basketball players. Also don't be afraid to tell them their weakness, it will help their game in the long run. Happy hunting everyone.

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