How to improve basketball skills

Improving your team’s basketball skills is not about doing random drills and hoping for success. Their should be a plan and structure when developing youth basketball players.  In addition, learning how to improve basketball skills should be based on the current science.

When you are training basketball skills there are 3 phases to acquisition.

1. The Cognitive Stage

2. The Associative Stage

3. The Autonomous Stage


The Cognitive Stage

In the Cognitive Stage, your basketball player learns what they are suppose to do. The goal is to give your athlete a clear mental picture of the task. The task will be introduced through demonstration, videos, cues and any information that allows your athlete to gain clear insight on what to be done.

During this period your athlete WILL make mistakes. They will experience an awkwardness and error. (Think about a young athlete or introducing new skills to youth.

As a Coach: Give Continuous feedback and information to improve their progression. You want your athlete to have some levels of success to  reinforce positive behavior.

Each athlete will progress at different levels depending on their background and experience.

The Associative Stage

During the associate stage you will need to continue practicing. Your athlete is currently working on syncing their brain and muscles. During this phase, errors decrease, however still provide feedback when needed. Your basketball player will develop a level of smoothness and success will be more frequent.

This stage’s length may occur for months to years depending on the difficulty of the skill.

The Autonomous Stage


The third and final stage is when your basketball player has the ability to automatically execute the skill. (think Jordan/Kobe fade away). Visually, the movement is very pleasing to the eye. During this phase, your basketball player will be able to perform the skill while distracted or with other stimulus. This stage is when your player can perform the skill while under pressure.

In Summary on how to improve your basketball skills:


Verbal–cognitive Phase. Characterize by large gains in performance and inconsistent performance. 

Problem: Player needs to understand what to do.

Action: Teach, demonstrate and give feedback when needed. Instruct, slowing the drill/movement skill down, showing video and changing cues can be very effective in improving skill. (Schmidt & Lee, 2005)



Less Verbal and smaller gains in performance. However, the performance is still conscious .

Problem: The basketball player is learning how to perform the skill consistently. The athlete is translating what to do (declarative knowledge) into how to do it (procedural knowledge).

Action: Continue to provide feedback, however this stage can be long. Be patient


Autonomous Stage

Can take years to achieve this stage. This is the stage of the elite performers. Skills are automatic and without thought. In this stage they can respond and not think.

Problem: Though automatic, the athlete can be distracted by other thoughts.

But with all the science to improve your ability to work smart you also have to “Work hard”


How to Enhance the Basketball Defensive Stance

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The purpose of coaching proper basketball defensive stance technique is to lead us to the ultimate goal of great man on man defensive play.  We know it when we see, and when we see it looks efficient, smooth and coordinated.   In order to improve your player’s defensive stance, first, we need to breakdown the fundamentals.

Keys to great basketball defensive Stance:

1. Balance and on the ball of your feet

2. Wide base with feet slightly turned out

3. Low hips

4. Hips back and shoulder approximately over knee.

5. Staggered foot position to influence direction of the dribbler

6.  Being big as possible to influence offensive player


The Ultimate goal is to influence the defender in the direction that you want them to go.  The direction is dictated by the skill of the offensive player and your coaching philosophy. This defensive stance position is an athletic position that gives your players the best opportunity  to load and move efficiently in multiple directions.

So how does this translates to a Strength and Conditioning Coach

The defensive stance position is a hip hinge:

 Notice the similar joint angles:

ce5bfb62-19fa-40a3-8aa2-8e929880a646[1] jordan hip hinge



Translation into the weight room. 
basketball hip hinge

The hip hinge is one of the most basic athletic movements that a basketball player needs to master.

Now that you are now introduced to this basic movement pattern, their are two primary hip hinge exercises that will enhance your basketball defensive stance position.

The Traditional Dead-lift for Defensive Stance


The Sumo Dead-lift for a better Defensive Stance



Good Basketball Defensive Stance:

artest defense stance

As you can see, the sumo deadlift stance is similar to what coaches teach as a defenesive stance. (feet out, balanced etc) However, included the sumo or traditional deadlift because it mimics a basketball defensive and since also it also teaches athletes how to create full body tension and explode which is need during other aspects in the game.

College Basketball Coaches on Twitter

College basketball coaches have adjusted with modern technology and now use services such as twitter, instagram and vine. Here some of the best college basketball coaches twitters to follow.


Coach John Calipari Twitter

Coach Tom Crean Twitter

Coach Billy Donovan Twitter

Coach Bill Self  Twitter

Coach Frank Martin Twitter

Coach Mick Cronin Twitter

Coach Cuonzo Martin Twitter

Coach McDermott Twitter

Coach Scott Drew Twitter

Coach Jay Wright Twitter

Coach John Beilein Twitter

Coach Bob Huggins Twitter

Average Point Guard Height

Height can be a critical factor when the nba is drafting their next point guard.  Will a point guard be able see over the defense or defend taller guards are questions that coaches and staff consider. I put together some statistics based on draftexpress database of drafted point guards.

How tall is the average point guard in the nba?

Since 2000, the average Drafted Point Guard height is:


2013 – 6′ 0.65″

2012 – 6′ 2.5″

2011 – 6″ 0.92″

2010 – 6″ 0.61

The top 30 picks PG height average is (since 2000):

6′ 0.93″ without Shoes

2013 – 6′ 0.95″

2012 – 6′ 2.45″

2011 – 6″ 1.46″

2010 – 6″ 0.21

As you can see, the number fluctuate from year to year, however the overall average is between six foot tall and  six foot 2.

Lets now Compare some of the best nba point guards:

Chris Paul: 5′ 11.75″ 

Kyrie Irving: 6′ 1.75″

Stephen Curry: 6′ 2″

Goran Dragic: (6′ 4″ – not sure if this is with or without shoes)

Ty Lawson: 5’9 11.25″

Tony Parker: (6′ 2″ – not suree if this is with or without shoes)

Damian Lillard6′ 1.75″

John Wall: 6′ 2.75″

Russell Westbrook: 6′ 2.25″

Stephen Curry6′ 2″


Only 2 point guards are below average draft height.



Why you only need Just a Ball and a Dream

All you need is a ball and a dream. Nothing more, nothing less. Why? Your Dream turns into your ideas, your ideas turns into a plan, your plan into work, work into improvement. Your tool of choice is a ball.

Sky is always the limit:

Everyone started as kid with a dream, a boy with a goal, a teen with desire.

Stephen Curry when he was a kid

Where is stephen curry from:

Born in Akron, Ohio, Raised in Charlotte, North Carolina
(Check out Stephen Curry Workout Routine)

Lebron james when he was Young

Fancy equipment to train, apps and gyms are nice and may help guide you. However, how many players just played at the park, dribbled in their driveway or parking lot or did at home basketball workouts. It starts with just a ball and a dream and everything will align itself if dedicated. (Read Lebron James Workout Explained)


Just a Ball and a Dream

So, Never Give Up on Your Dream

And Remember:

For More Check Out Basketball Never Stops

These examples are why Basketball Never Stops

Basketball Never Stops is the Motto (Enter Drake Song…. Erryday, Erryday). See great examples from around the world.

Flood, Trash, Flat Ball… As long as have a hoop

Flooding, destruction, Nope, Basketball Never Stops

Dirt, Flat Ball, No Problem

Get in a game, where you can

Now what’s your excuse for not improving your game. Basketball Never Stops

These Coach K Quotes will improve Game

Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski resume speaks for itself. Through his years of coaching and dealing with people he has left of great motivational quotes. Enjoy and share these Coach K motivational quotes. 


I hope you enjoyed these Coach Mike Krzyzewski quotes. Spread the words of wisdom and share.