Learning to relax to improve sports performance

Originally published in Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, May/June 2016

Coaches constantly encourage athletes to relax (often by yelling, which seems contradictory), but rarely does a coach explain or demonstrate relaxation or a process to relax. Encouraging players to relax becomes a throw away; something that everyone says, and everyone assumes the other person understands, but which has virtually no practical meaning.  Read more

Preparing to shoot a basketball

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Searching for elite athletic talent

Originally published in Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, January/February 2016.

During a recent u14 girls soccer game, I watched the younger brothers play 3v3 tackle football between the fields. The parents were invested in the soccer game, and they never bothered the boys who ranged from 8 to 12 years old. The pickup football game was more interesting. There were no parents shouting directions or intervening when there was an argument or an injury. The boys figured it out on their own.  Read more

How do we view athleticism?

ESPN interviewed NFL players about the best athletes on their teams, and the answers were insightful, as they represent how we view athleticism. Read more

Where is the development in youth basketball?

In the last two weeks, I have officiated 10 middle-school and freshmen basketball games, boys and girls. The complete lack of everything is astonishing. Many of the players are not fit (asking to come out after two minutes because they are tired). Basic coordination is lacking. Because the players are fatigued easily and uncoordinated, basic skills like dribbling and shooting layups become far more challenging than they should be for 13 and 14 year-olds, many of whom started to play on teams when they were six or seven years old.  Read more

Stages of Skill Acquisition

The following pictures were posted on Twitter by Mark Upton, and they provide important information for coaches. They describe the process that we undergo when learning a new skill. Skills are not learned all at once, and therefore coaches cannot coach all children in the same way, even when they are the same age. Read more

Animal Movements as On-Court Strength Training

Early in the season, I held a coaching clinic for the club’s coaches. When I was hired, the club manager said that one goal was for all the teams to incorporate more training for athleticism or strength training. However, only the senior teams have memberships to the fitness center, and there is no equipment to use with any of the youth teams.  Read more

Should young athletes lift weights?

Originally published in Hard2Guard Player Development Newsletters 4.40 and Brian McCormick’s Hard2Guard Player Development Newsletters, Volume 4.

I generally refuse to train 8-year-olds. When parents call about a young player, I encourage the parents to invest in gymnastics or martial arts because of the benefits in terms of general strength and coordination as well as kinesthetic awareness. Read more

Roger Federer and Athleticism

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  • What Is A Playmaker?

    Who decided that a point guard has to be small? More importantly, what is a point guard? We expect a point guard to be a leader and have a high basketball I.Q. Why don’t we expect or challenge all players to develop this game awareness? Why rely on only one player? Read more →
  • The PBDL Concept

    English soccer academies wait until players are 11 to play full 11v11 soccer; in Italy, youth basketball players participate in skill-oriented clinics at 6-years-old, but start competitive games at 12. In the United States, kids play 5v5 full court games and compete for national championships when they are 8-years-old.

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  • Starting A PBDL

    The PBDL emphasizes learning and development. Presently, players and parents have numerous recreation options - leagues based on fun and equal participation, typically for beginners - and numerous competitive opportunities - teams focused on strategy, game preparation and winning. There are few true development leagues - until now.

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