So much of our pre-season is about getting the individual better so we can have pieces to put together when we form our teams. Often though we walk into player development blindly. Whether you are working with a local rec team or a high school coach, below are four things to remember when developing players that might help you out this preseason.
It is Long Term: Player development is a long term process that should be viewed as such. It is not accomplished in an hour long session, but rather, the best player development is a coach, parent or mentor investing years into the life of the player and seeing the small incremental steps over the course of time.
It is Taught in a Progression: Skills should build on top of one another and should be taught in the proper sequence. The ability to execute a skill against live contact is the open door to introduce the next skill the progression. Take your time, start off slow, and only move forward when the skill before is being executed appropriately. The goal of the player is not flash, but efficiency of movement, technique and execution.
It is Repetitive: Basketball, in its best form, is fundamental movements repeated over and over again. It is very important to understand that no player, from introductory to performance, will ever graduate from a skill and have no use for practicing it anymore. Introductory, foundational and advanced skills are repeated daily in the life of the performance athlete. Therefore, if the best in the world need to work on their triple threat, front and reverse pivots and form shooting daily, so should the rest of the population. When a player moves up a level in the progression it simply means that a player has more to repeat in their training. To forget or become bored with the fundamental aspects found in the introductory and foundational levels will be detrimental in the development of any player at any level.
It should be fun: One of the greatest joys in life is the ability to see hard work pay off. True player development might not be instant, but it is amazingly enjoyable over time to see how far a player has come when one sticks to the process. Enjoy the journey of developing or being developed as a basketball player. Stay positive, learn from mistakes, don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone, and make sure you smile because you are playing the best game in the world.
Remember, player development is not so much about sweat and smiles as it is about having a plan, teaching in progression, and being consistent.
Matt King currently serves as the Executive Director of the Arizona Basketball Coaches Association and the Director of Basketball for CCV STARS. Matt was previously head high school coach at O’Connor High School in Phoenix, Arizona. Before O’Connor Matt was the head coach at Clovis High School for 3 years where the Wildcats made it to the State 5A semi-finals and State 5A Championship game. Matt has also worked with USA basketball for the past 8 1/2 years in a variety of roles including clinic speaker and lead clinician. He has helped write the curriculum for the USAB player development model and served as a copywriter with the Jr. NBA and USA Basketball in writing the youth guidelines. Matt is married to his beautiful wife Michelle, has two kids, Madison (7) and MIkayla (10) and they reside in Phoenix, Arizona.