Ask a Basketball Trainer Part 1
We get questions from parents and players all the time regarding player development, so we thought we’d take the time to answer some of these questions publicly. Let’s go to the mailbag.
I’m concerned that my son is not using the tools and skills you are giving him in basketball training during his games. He thinks he is playing well, but from an observer’s perspective he looks no better than he did 6 months ago in games. He is simply not being aggressive enough on offense, and therefore is not making a real imprint on the game. I think you have been awesome, but is there something you can do to help him realize he needs to implement more of his new skills in the games? – Mother of 11 year old shooting guard
I think your son has really developed some good skills over the last 6 months, but of course the key is to use those skills in game action. Let’s try three things. First, I will have him do a self-evaluation survey about his performance in the games. If there is a disconnect between perception and reality, we can address it head on. Sometimes young players can mistakenly find their value in what they are merely able to do, meaning the ability to do ball handling moves, having a good general shooting stroke, etc.
However coaches and observers value players for what they are actually doing in the games. If we find a major disconnect is there, I can talk to him about being the type of player his coach will love and that his team needs. Critical feedback about his game at this age may be uncomfortable for him, but it will help him in the long run. Secondly, I’ll give him a game within the game. Since your son has become a pretty good ball handler and is depended on to make plays for his team, I’ll give him a goal of six red zone touches per game.
We’ll start at six and increase as he consistently hits that number. In this case we’ll refer to the red zone as the area inside the 3 point line. As a shooting guard he needs to utilize his footwork, ball handling ability and explosiveness to beat perimeter defenders in driving towards the basket. Holding him to a certain amount of red zone touches will force him to use what he’s learned in training. And getting inside the three point line with explosive drives is going to translate into positive things for his team, whether it’s him scoring or making a good pass to a teammate on the inside. The third thing we will implement will come from you.
We’ll have you give him an Aggressiveness grade after each game. For his position and role on his team we want him at an 8 on a scale of 1-10. If he’s not performing at an 8 on the Aggressiveness scale, he may not be giving enough value to his team for his position. If he wants to play that shooting guard position, he’s got to realize that it comes with offensive responsibility. I think if we implement these three things immediately – one thing from me, one thing from him, and one from you – we can get him on the right track towards being a more effective basketball player.