Who Is Mark Adams?
If you have not already heard…Mark Adams is an Elite Basketball Trainer who helps several NBA clients, college teams and the training and camp community. His portfolio of experience allows him to share a very unique perspective. He has served as a collegiate assistant at Syracuse, a highly successful high school coach, and was a 1000 point scorer as a player in high school and college. We were introduced to Mark by BasketballHQ.com partner and South Alabama Basketball Assistant Coach Russ Willemsen who spoke very highly of him. Mark is committed and passionate about player development and has the growth mindset that the BasketballTrainer.com team looks up to.
BasketballTrainer.com (BT): What is the biggest problem in basketball training today?
Mark Adams (MA): The disconnect between the basketball trainer and the player’s coach. Ideally the basketball trainer should communicate with the players coach and build a relationship. Together they can devise a plan for purposeful training so that the player can maximize time and energy. The basketball trainer should get as much input and data from the coach as possible and use it to devise specific workouts.
BT: What is your training approach with a younger player?
MA: My approach with younger players is simple… I focus on the fundamentals. When working with young players more teaching and explaining often takes place. Make sure that all the skills and drill work translates to actual game like situations. Young players should learn the importance of competition, but most importantly have fun training.
BT: Why do you still make time for youth basketball?
MA: I love the game and I enjoy working with young players. It’s the truest form of teaching that exists. You can have a huge impact on kids and help them get better.
BT: If you could go back in time as a young player, what would you tell yourself?
MA: I would work on all skills and total development of my game. I made the mistake of focusing too much on my position (shooting guard) and didn’t develop other skills such as ball handling, passing, etc. Today’s players need to be more versatile and multi-skilled.
BT: Who were your key influences?
MA: I have been very fortunate to have some of the best in the game as mentors and friends. – My first job was working for Jim Boeheim at Syracuse University. – Coach K – have been fortunate to have him for advice and counseling over the years.
– Alan Stein and Dee Brown were extremely influential in my decision to become a player development coach full-time.
– Currently, NBA Skills trainer Aubrey McCreary, is my main mentor and like a big brother to me.
BT: Mark, you have a reputation of being one of America’s best camp demonstrators and teachers. What can campers expect across the nation?
MA: To learn the fundamentals, to be taught and develop skills that translate. Train extremely hard. They can expect energy, enthusiasm and passion I want all of my players to
1) Get Better
2) Have Fun
3) Develop Meaningful Relationships
BT: Where can they find out more information about you and your programs?
– twitter – @MarkAdamsBball
– facebook – facebook.com/MarkAdamsBasketball
– email – email@example.com
BT: Finally Mark can you share the qualities you most admire in two NBA Players you have worked with and what younger players could learn from them?
MA: Ryan Kelly – Los Angeles Lakers – Resilient — Despite numerous injuries, Ryan keeps a positive attitude and continues to work on his game.
– Paul Millsap – Atlanta Hawks – Work Ethic — Paul is a true professional. He has a willingness to go outside his comfort zone to expand his game. Tremendous off season commitment and takes care of his body.
BT: Mark – thanks so much for joining us here, you are welcome back anytime and we look forward to catching up on your visit to Austin this summer!!
Considering College Basketball Away From Home?
I’m from San Francisco, California. I grew up playing ball on the playgrounds. Then in high school (Balboa High School) and junior college (Contra Costa College) I graduated to playing playground basketball with referees. The city game is fast paced, lots of in your face defense in crowded tiny gyms where the wall is the out of bounds line. Lots of razzle dazzle and competing against cross town schools with guys who you just played against at the park last Saturday afternoon. Picture the movie “Hoop Dreams”. When I was offered the opportunity to play college ball in rural Northern Maine at the University of Maine at Fort Kent I jumped at the chance, as weird as that might sound.
Basketball Adventure – Taking The Show On the Road
Playing far from home was exciting to me. I was ready to leave home. I had spent way too long in San Francisco. Of course I would miss my family and friends back home but I knew that I was here for a reason: to finish my bachelors degree, and play ball. Northern Maine is pretty much as far as you can get from San Francisco while still being in the United States. If you look on a map my home is at the most far left of the country and Maine is in that top right corner. I barely remembered that Maine was a state when I first learned of this opportunity. The one thing that I did know about Maine was that it gets cold in the Winter, extremely cold. Brutally cold. San Francisco due to it being a peninsula in between the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay experiences mild temperatures year round, it’s only an hour drive at most to some sunny beaches and surfing in the beautiful Golden State. I knew coming in that Maine was going to be vastly different in that regard.
As you can see from the UMFK campus picture above, I was right. Aside from the weather, Northern Maine is a lot slower than the big city. I think there’s only a handful of stop lights in the entire town of Fort Kent. In San Francisco, there is always something to do. We have a plethora of museums, clubs, restaurants, and all sorts of attractions. In Fort Kent, your social gathering options are pretty limited outside of hanging with your buddies in the dorms. That’s why I spend most of my spare time in the gym.
Leaving The City Game Behind
The city game and the Maine game as I call it have their differences too. The game up in Maine is slower, not a lot of superb athletes. The city game can turn into a track meet quick. In Maine, lots of teams like to slow it down and execute in the half court. But the biggest difference I’ve noticed is the athletes, which makes sense. Any guy with a little bit of bounce who can run and jump is not going to end up playing in the USCAA in the cold of the North East. I haven’t seen an alley-oop play drawn up all season. Most of the players here in Maine are short, you see a lot of guys around six feet tall playing the 3 spot. Most of these guys handle the ball well, but nothing too fancy. They can all shoot the three and always make their free throws. Very fundamentally sound. Back home, a guy would rather miss a dunk in traffic and excite the crowd as supposed to trying and finishing the lay up with contact.
Another cool thing for me is the road trips. I’m getting to see a lot of the East Coast. I’m getting to see Maine, Vermont, Boston, New York, and Pennsylvania among other places. The road trips can be as long as 16 hour bus rides. When I was in High School, we took the city public bus 20 minutes across town to play games. Also, this being my first season in Maine, I don’t know any of the guys I’m playing against. Which is nice for me having grown up playing against the same guys from the area since I was in the 8th grade.
The Advantage Of Small College Basketball
However, the biggest change is that since San Francisco has so much to offer, there is no type of community feel around a team. Here in picturesque Fort Kent, the community really rallies around the sports teams at the university and they support them heavily. If I walk through town, people know that I play basketball for the local college and I take pride in representing not only the school but the entire Fort Kent community when I play. Back in High School in a big city with six major professional teams and another handful of NCAA schools in the area I could be one of the best prep players in the city but only a sliver of the population would know my name or know who I was. When we played our rival, University of Maine at Presque Isle, which is only an hour away, faculty members and staff on campus were coming up to me telling me that it didn’t matter if we lost every game this season as long as we won this one. The community here takes their sports very seriously and they are invested in the well being of their local team.
All in all, being away from home can bring you down sometimes, not having the support of your friends and family at the games; but those feelings are made up for quickly with such a warm communal feeling around the area. Also, Maine and Northern Maine specifically is rich in basketball tradition. People in the area tend to stay here and raise their families here and they create legacies and generations of basketball players in each small town throughout Maine. I didn’t know it but Mainers really care about hoops and they are so willing to embrace someone who is representing their community on the court.
Although it may be by default since life is slower up here and there aren’t as many distractions, it doesn’t matter to me because for the first time in my life I have the backing of a ton of people and I feel I am playing for something other than myself. I am glad I had a sense of adventure and have been able to play small college basketball 3000 miles away from home.
Fletcher Brown was kind enough to share his basketball journey with us… a journey spanning the borders of the USA. Our hope in sharing this story is that it will encourage other basketball players to look beyond the confines of their local area when pursuing the dream of college basketball. Great universities and colleges like the University of Maine at Fort Kent want to hear from talented young basketball players. Embrace a growth mindset and learn to keep your basketball dream alive by expanding your vision of possibilities.
On an almost weekly basis I have young basketball players ask me what is a coach looking for? Almost all athletes I have coached or worked with as a basketball trainer have made this question more complicated than need be. Yes coaches want every player to be as skilled as possible but coaches also want other traits that are essential to every team and increasing your playing time. Many of these traits are obtainable for every basketball player regardless of talent.
Unselfish Basketball Players
One thing every coach wants in a basketball player is unselfishness. Many young athletes want to shoot the ball or be the scorer on the team. Not many want to be the rebounding specialist or the defensive stopper because they are less glorious positions but they are 2 of the most important. Also many athletes don’t realize to be a good scorer it is extremely hard and takes more individual work that any other specialist on a basketball team. Players that are willing to make an extra pass, take charges, or set screens are essential for every team. If you watch any varsity basketball game in the country every team has a guy who all he does is set screens and rebound. That player doesn’t score every possession but because of their unselfishness they get rewarded with passes for layups and lots of playing time.
Controlled aggressiveness is something every coach wants. Players that crash the boards on every shot, dive on the floor for loose balls, and always make good rotations on defense will always stand out to coaches. This isn’t a special skill it is a trait that every player can acquire through making a decision to do those things listed above every day in practice and every opportunity in competition. Once you consciously make an effort to commit to these habits they will become muscle memory and you want think about them in games you will just do them and your coach will see you as a very important asset to the team.
Gym Rat Basketball Mentality
Gym rats! A gym rat is a basketball player that is always in the gym. They are the first one to the gym and the last one to leave. They usually are begging to get in the gym and often times get in trouble for being in the gym when they shouldn’t be. Unfortunately this is a dying breed of basketball player. Coaches love these kids because they are hungry for coaching and then they are willing to put in the needed extra time to perfect the skills they receive coaching on. Gym rats aren’t just practicing they are searching for every open run they can find in the city or planning one.
All of the skills listed above are desirable to coaches but being good at only one of them or not combining them with other basketball skills won’t do you any good. Also if you are very skilled and think you don’t need to have these skills you are also misunderstanding this message. Coaches want all players on a team to possess great skills and do the little things we talked about in this article. I have seen kids get college scholarships because they do these little things and fill up the stat boxes in other areas than points scored. The more competitive your basketball career gets the more there is a need for teams to have players with these “glue” guys. Why can’t it be you?
Connect with a quality basketball trainer today to start working on building these intangible skills that will help you develop on and off the basketball court.