Denver Christmas Basketball Camp / Clinic

Denver Christmas Basketball Camp

                                  Attend Our Denver Christmas Basketball Camp

  • Monday December 29th
  • 1-3 p.m.
  • The Point Athletic Club
  • 533 Van Gordon St, Lakewood, CO 80228
  • $45 an athlete
  • Grades 5-9

Basketball Camp Points of Emphasis:

Building a shot

Footwork is the foundation of your game

Shooting off the catch

Scoring off the dribble

Maximizing your movement (first step quickness, creating space)

Email erik@denveryouthbasketball.com to sign up for basketball camp.

 

Denver Youth Basketball – What I Dislike About The Game

Denver Youth Basketball - What I Don't Like

 

Denver Youth Basketball: You Can Do Better!

Youth basketball, when played the right way, can be a very entertaining and fun game to watch.  On the other end of the spectrum, when it is played the wrong way and is permitting bad habits for the participants, it can also be extremely frustrating to watch.  Some characteristics that I have seen in youth basketball that I hope will soon correct themselves for the better are players that have too much interest in shooting the 3 pointer, players that prefer being “cool” with the ball rather than efficient, and players portraying a poor attitude.

Obsession with the 3 Point Shot:

The 3 pointer is a great tool in today’s game.  It is a weapon for a team that has players that can utilize it effectively.  This line helps spread the court, allows for an inside-out game, and overall adds to the excitement of basketball.  Also, the obvious point that is being left out here is the simple fact that it is the shot that can provide a team with the most points in a single flick of the wrist.

In youth basketball however, I find that there is an obsession with this shot that limits the growth of the individual as a player.  Players pass up open lanes to the basket for layups by settling for the much more difficult and lower percentage 3 point shot.  They pull up for the 3 pointer in a two-on-one fast break rather than pursuing the basket, making the defender commit, then either passing or laying the ball up for the easy 2 points.  In addition, young players do not have the physical strength to shoot the 3 point shot with good form.  This hurts their development as a shooter.  I firmly believe in that in young basketball players, the mid range shot is a viable skill till they are ready to step out and take on the 3 point line.  Developing the mid-range game is a skill that will be effective for players throughout their career.

Being “Cool” with the Basketball:

One facet of Denver youth basketball that I absolutely cannot stand is being “cute” or “cool” with the ball.  These two terms can be used interchangeably in describing when a player spends too much time performing fancy through-the-legs and behind-the-back sequences that lead to nowhere rather than performing a quick move that allows them to blow by the defender.  These terms also describe when a player makes a no-look or behind-the back pass that does not allow the team to accomplish the desired goal of putting the ball in the basket.

I am all for players that have the talents to utilize the no-look pass, behind-the-back pass, and other amazing moves when that is what leads to the best play for their team.  All the time we see highlights of the great Magic Johnson making incredible plays like these.  The difference between him and players that are “cute” with the ball is that his passes confuse the defense and  get to their teammates with a chance for them to score in a scenario where that would otherwise not happen with a normal bounce or chest pass.

As young players, the fundamentals need to be mastered first.  Then, when the skill level increases and the time to make that appropriate behind-the-back pass presents itself, go ahead and make it.  The point is to do it for the good of the team rather than put on a performance.

Not Being Coachable:

It speaks so much to a young person’s character when they are described as a coachable player.  This means a person responds to a coach or person of authority, they are disciplined enough to take criticism and learn from it, and they keep a positive attitude on and off the court.  These are all great qualities that will translate to several aspects in life for a young adult.

However, when a player is classified as “uncoachable,” it means that they have a bad attitude and don’t understand how to properly learn from criticism.  This is something that is noticeable in youth basketball today.  Players arguing with the ref, talking back to their coach, or presenting a smug or downtrodden look when they are taken out of the game, are all examples of not being coachable.  Having the ability to take instruction and learn from it constructively are habits that will help young athletes down the road.

Things to Improve in Youth Basketball:

  1. Less focus on the 3 pointer
  2. Being effective rather than “cute”
  3. Becoming coachable

 

 

No Denver Basketball Courts, No Problem

No Denver Basketball Courts, No Problems

Denver Basketball Courts In Short Supply?

If you drive through the typical neighborhood in America today it is a rare thing to see kids playing or practicing their game in local parks or driveways. If you go local recs or athletic clubs you are more likely to see kids playing or improving their craft but not at the rate many coaches and trainers would like. Many young basketball players complain that they never have a place practice but many of us know this isn’t a viable excuse. Here are a few ways you can work on your game without a court or a hoop just using a ball.

Ball handing Work Does Not Require a Basketball Court

Ball handling is something you can do without a court all you need is a hard surface like the drive way, garage, or basement floor. Your surface doesn’t even need to be concreate or paved many great basketball players have grown up on packed dirt courts. When practicing your handles be sure to always treat both hands equally and even give your week hand more attention when time is available. To add to the challenge use two balls of different sizes or one full basketball and on partially deflated ball. A tennis ball should also be in the mix to help build hand dexterity and improve hand eye coordination. If you run out of ball handling drills try doing them while wearing work or gardening gloves.

Practice Your Shot Away From the Rim

Shooting form can always be improved upon and doesn’t need a hoop for that improvement. Lying on your back and doing ball flips into the air is a great way to perfect shooting muscle memory with limited space. Make sure to keep your elbow in, flick your wrist, and only use your guild hand to guild! If you can get to a wall that is 10-12 feet tall you can also do your flips stand up. To do this just do your normal shooting motion out of your triple threat stance. The goal is to have the ball hit the wall on the way down and to hit the same target on the wall every time.

Gain Feel and Touch

Finally just using a basketball you can improve your strength and agility as well as maintain your conditioning. Use the basketball as an unstable surface to do push-ups on using both hands on the ball or alternating each hand on the ball. To improve leg strength and explosiveness put one foot on the ball while keeping the other in the air, then pushing through your heal drive your hips into the air, repeat using the other leg. To improve core strength do planks on with your hands on the ball or feet to challenge yourself.

The bottom line is don’t let what you don’t have limit your ability to get better.  Perfecting these little skills off of a court can greatly enhance what you get out of workouts on the court. Also when the weather is cooperating go to your local park or out to the hoop in your driveway and work on your skills there. Do what you can, with what you have,  whenever you can do it.

 

4 Tips To Increase Your Basketball IQ

Denver Basketball IQ

Let’s Increase Basketball IQ

Every day you will hear coaches talking about the importance of players having a high basketball IQ. You will hear commentators during games on TV talk about certain players have high basketball intelligence or how their high basketball IQ is what makes them a good player. What does basketball IQ mean? The answer to this question is constantly debated by basketball coaches on all levels. Some things that come up in these debates are knowledge of style of play, understanding how to play with in ones skill set, and an individual’s commitment to studying and understanding the game. This article is intended to provide young basketball players with a guild of how to improve their IQ and how coaches want players to think while playing the game.

  1. Whenever you are receiving coaching try not only to practice the skill or run the play but practice your ability to listen to everything your coach says. Usually throughout a practice or workout coaches will add little nuggets of basketball knowledge that you can apply to your game. Key phrases you should listen for from coaches are “here another option”, “this is what really good players do”, and “you want playing time do this.” Players that pick up these little bits of basketball knowledge usually get good quickly and have a broad knowledge of the game.
  2. Expose yourself to deferent styles of play. Your coach will want to fit with their system but learning about other systems both offensively and defensively can dramatically increase your basketball IQ. The easiest way to do this is to play for or be trained by coaches other than your schools coach. Working with a basketball trainer or playing AAU basketball can help get you exposure to different philosophies and systems.
  3. Go play with older more experienced basketball players. If you can play with older players against better competition their knowledge will rub off on you if you pay attention. Older players will usually share little nuggets of information because they want you to be successful while you are playing with them. Also watching and emulating skills and movements that they use to score, get others open, or get stops on defense will help train your eye to pick up new skills.
  4. Finally the most important thing a young basketball player can do study what college and professional teams do. Every chance you get to watch a good college basketball game on TV take it! During the basketball season there is a game with a good basketball program on every night. Look for the systems that teams run, watch what individual players do on defense, and see what coaches draw up after timeouts. Also watching professional basketball games can expand your overall knowledge. Be careful when watching the pro’s play there are many bad habits that they have that won’t fly in youth and high school basketball. When watching the pros watch how efficient they are with their movements and how they are masters of the simplest plays like the pick and roll, drive and kick, and give and go. Until your eye is trained to catch high IQ plays during game play record the game and then watch certain parts over and over. If a great play is made, try to understand from the film why it happened. This is a winning formula for increasing your basketball IQ.

Using a basketball trainer to help you increase your basketball IQ is a proven method that Denver Youth Basketball players have embraced.  Let’s get started working together today!

Basketball Players Guide to the Dog Days of Summer

Dog Days of Summer Basketball

Basketball Players Guild to the Dog Days of Summer

In the spring most players, coaches, and parents are excited for all of the camps and training that sits before them. As we sit here now past the half-way point in the summer many players are feeling wear of training five days, weight room work outs 4 days a week, and playing in 50 plus games. The summer is a grind just like the actual basketball season. Learning how to embrace the grind of the summer can help propel you into a very successful winter season. Here are a few tips of how to embrace the grind of the summer and come out the other side galvanized for a good season.

Remember Nutrition and Hydration Principles

Many young basketball players forget about hydration and nutrition. If you are working on your game 3 hours a day all summer long that means that you need to maintain hydration throughout workouts but even more importantly throughout the rest of your day. Maintaining a high caloric intake is even more important when you are working this hard every day. The average person is supposed to consume 2,000 calories a day what basketball players need to realize they are not the average person when they are training day in and day out. Basketball players should consume at least 2,500-3500 calories a day to maintain their current body composition. If they want to increase their muscle mass they should consume more calories each day and consume high amounts of protein.

Sleep In

Ensuring that you are getting enough rest can be essential to maximizing what you are getting out of your summer training. Seven to eight hours of sleep each day is enough to help you recover from the previous days training. Not enough sleep can lead to you not recovering fully each day and too much sleep can lead to you being lethargic in your workouts. Also something that is key to maximizing your summer training is maintaining a normal sleep cycle throughout the summer. Many young athletes think they can just sleep in everyday during the summer but maintaining a normal sleep cycle can limit days where you aren’t getting the max out of your workouts.

Roll It Out

Do your body a favor and use a foam roller after every work out and a take a trip to a massage therapist or chiropractor at least once a month. Foam rolling helps release tension in the fascia tissue and it can help the body shuttle toxins out of muscles that may have collected from previous workouts. Massage therapists can also help keep muscles healthy and performing at their optimal capacity. Chiropractors can make sure your body is in alignment and relieve muscle tension caused by bones being out of line. Not only will these therapies help maintain proper athletic health they usually make you feel extremely good and can revitalize your motivation.

Chill Out

Try scheduling in at least one break in your summer, lasting at least four days. By just taking some time off and getting away from basketball can rejuvenate your passion to become better and give your body a must needed break. Also try to mix in fun or some type of competition at least every other day to help break up the grind of everyday training.

 

How To Know If You Have a Good Basketball Coach

Denver Basketball Coach

Wondering About Your Basketball Coach?

As basketball trainers we have conversations with parents about their son or daughters coaches. Unfortunately many of these conversations aren’t very positive. Many parents feel their coach isn’t qualified enough, doesn’t care about their child, or they can be doing more than they already are. This may be true and there are a lot of coaches out there that shouldn’t be coaching the level that they are or shouldn’t be coaching at all. On the other hand there are many qualified coaches out there that are more than capable to coach your child and help them succeed if you meet them in the middle on most things. For starters good basketball players don’t always turn out to be good coaches. Many times former players struggle with teaching the game to youth players because they have been at such a high level for so long they have forgotten the steps it takes to get there. Many times youth coaches didn’t even play the game at the high school level. This doesn’t mean they shouldn’t coach the game. If they understand how to teach and are a student of coaching constantly trying to improve themselves then you should give them a chance. The world of coaching has changed drastically in the past 15-20 years. The Bob Knight coaching style of yelling every minute and having closed practices is starting to fade away. Many coaches welcome parents into practices as long as you aren’t a distraction to the practice itself. Watch your son or daughters practice and see what it is made up of. If it consists of skill development, practicing plays, different forms of completion, and game like drills then your coach probably knows what they are doing. On the other hand if the practice is all scrimmaging with little attention to individual detail and the coach looks distracted all the time, then you might want to rethink who your kid plays for. Professionalism is huge at all levels of the game when it comes to coaching. Coaches are always role models first and foremost weather they want to be or not. The kids they coach will almost always emulate their coaches persona on some level. If your coach is yelling at the refs, making excuses as to why the team isn’t doing well, or tearing down kids without every building them up then they probably lack what it takes to teach basketball. Coaches that understand the ref calls will eventually go their way and focus on what they have control over usually make the biggest impact on their kids. The bottom line is basketball at the high school level is becoming more and more like college. By that we mean parents and kids are better informed and know where the good coaches are in their area. Parents should do their homework and their best to find the best coach they can for their kid and not just settle for the one that was assigned to your kids team by the local rec center. If we demand coaches to become better in the right ways they will or they fall out of the profession. Either way your basketball player gets the best possible experience from the sport.

Basketball Playing Time – Who Really Decides?

Who decides basketball playing time

Who decides your playing time?

Whenever I drop in on a Devner high school basketball practice or open gym to see what coaches are working on and what they feel is important to their players. In a recent open gym I was impressed by the honesty a coach presented to his players at the end of the session. This coach told his players that there is only one person in the program that determines their playing time. That person is THEM! I felt this is a powerful statement and one that I agree with wholeheartedly. This coach then went on to mention intangibles that he looks for in players for them to earn playing time.

Obviously coaches want players that have natural god given talent and players that possess extensive skills in all facets of the game. Most of the time coaches aren’t blessed with a young Lebron James so they need to maximize the talent they have year in and year out. As a player it is your duty to fill roles needed on your team as defined by the head coach. These intangibles described below will improve your chances of getting as much playing time as you can handle.

Commitment To Effort Increases Playing Time

Effort is huge to Denver basketball coaches. How fast are you sprinting the floor? How hard to go in shooting drills? Are you diving on the floor for every loose ball? Most Denver basketball teams need to have at least 2-3 of these type of players and are usually a very good team if they have 5-8 of these players. These players give max effort at all times, never take plays off, and ignore pain when it is endured. If you are watching the NBA finals players that fit this role for their teams are Kawhi Leonard, Udonis Haslem, and Lebron James (even though he is the best player on the planet).

Teamwork First Increases Playing Time

Teamwork is an asset that all coaches need to have on a team in order to teach them how to succeed. Without teamwork teams will struggle to maximize their talents. Compared to other team sports basketball does have a lot of individual skills needed to play but it is impossible to win only relying on individual talent. When effort is given using each individuals talent for the greater good of the team you will be amazed as to what those teams can accomplish. Tim Duncan, Lebron James, and Tony Parker personify the word teamwork with how they approach the game of basketball.

Work Ethic And Habits… Increase Playing Time

A strong work ethic is essential for every athlete to succeed in the game of basketball. When you hear people talk about great players they always mention work ethic. Great players are usually the first ones in the gym and last ones to leave, in addition many times the only ones in the gym that day. Not only to these players put in thousands of hours into perfecting theirs skills they also never back down or take time off in practice or games. They embrace a blue collar mentality of doing what is right at all times or working until the job is done right. The story I am always impressed with that fits work ethic is the one about Kobe driving straight to the Staples Center after a 2 hour flight at 1 a.m. In the game that night he went 2 for 15 from the field and the Lakers lost by over 20. They say he didn’t leave until he got 1,000 makes. Think about that commitment to the game when your are disappointed with the playing time your are getting.

 

Basketball Training And Technology

Denver Youth Basketball And Technology

Use Technology To Improve Your Game

Basketball players today should appreciate the opportunities they have available to them at this time. Every day there are new forms of technology that help players improve their game. Five, ten, fifteen years ago there wasn’t half the equipment available that we have today and this technology is becoming more and more effective each year. There are balls with microchips in them, shooting machines that can pass a ball full court, and countless apps and programs that you have at your fingertips on your tablet or cell phone.

Some of this technology is worth the money and some of it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. We want to share with you the technology we think is worthwhile and can maximize your time training. Some of it is the latest and greatest and some of it has been around for a while but is proven to make a players life easier.

The 94fifty ball is a new piece of technology that has come out that can help you improve your basketball skills. The 94fifty ball mainly focuses on shooting and dribbling giving you a tool to help you improve your game when you are alone or when you are practicing with a friend. The ball tracks many things like shot angle, shot accuracy, and dribble rate allowing you to make adjustments. The app that you can download on your phone gives you this instant feedback and also helps create competitions so you can compete against your friends.

The Gun or Dr. Dish are two great shooting machines that are a great way to get up hundreds of shots by yourself. They are not really necessary when shooting with your trainer or teammates, but some trainers use it then as well.  The gun is a shooting machine that rebounds and passes you the ball while keeping track of your makes and misses and then showing your percentage for the session. Dr. Dish packs a little more punch and can be used more easily by coaches in practice. The Dr. Dish does almost the same thing that the gun does but it gives you more game like passes and it can be set up anywhere on a court facing any angle. Dr. Dish also records your makes and misses and allows you to program your own work out plans into it. Both of these shooting machines can help you get the reps needed shooting to build more accurate muscle memory.

Video has been around for years but it is still used by coaches and basketball trainers to help basketball players improve their game at all levels.  Video of practice, games, or training sessions can be broken down and give you a better idea of what you need to improve. Video can be watched by yourself or with a coach/trainer. Before you view film on your own, work with a trainer breaking down your film so you can train your eye to watch for mistakes you are making.

All of these training aids can help improve your game by yourself but they are much more effective with a trainer. Contact your basketball trainer to see if any of these can be incorporated into your training.

Youth Basketball And The Two Man Game

Denver Two Man Basketball Training

What is  the Two Man Game?

The Two Man Game is something we feel Denver youth basketball players should learn to be effective at. The two man game involves a ball handler and another player, usually an on-ball screen setter, working together to make a play. The ball handler is generally a guard or small forward, and the screen setter is usually a forward or center. There are a multitude of options available in the two man game, and each of them can be effective. Let’s talk about some of the ways you can be effective in the two man game.

Pick and Roll

The pick and roll involves a player screening for a ball handler and then rolling hard towards the basket in hopes of receiving a pass for a finish. The pick and roll is good for freeing up ball a handling guard when he is playing against tough defender. It is also good for getting a screening player an easy shot attempt at the rim, and for bringing a shot blocking defender away from the paint. The pick and roll is great for getting layups for either the screener or the ball handler, and it is also great for getting other teammates open (due to the helping defense) for open three point shots on the wing or in the corner.

Pick and Pop

The pick and pop is similar to the pick and roll, however it involves the screening player flaring out to or around the 3 point line instead of rolling to the rim after setting the screen. Screening players who are better shooters than finishers enjoy the pop action instead of the roll. The pick and pop is in fact commonly used to get a screening player an open shot at the 3 point line. Sometimes you see small forwards acting as screeners in this scenario for that reason. A ball handler in the pick and pop can still get to the rim on the drive, as the pick and pop can open a bigger driving lane for him – remember that the screener will not be heading towards the basket and his defender may not either if he stays with his man.

Slipping the Screen

Slipping the screen is something that teammates who have good communication with each other can be effective in doing. When the screening player comes to set the pick, instead of staying and allowing the ball handler to use him he cuts toward the basket and looks to receive a quick pass. This catches the defense off guard, as they will usually be looking to negotiate the oncoming screen. Slipping the screen works when the screening player’s defender over-helps and doesn’t maintain his position between his man and the basket. When this defender hops on the side of the screener to help defend the ball handler, it creates an opening for the screener to slip and cut to the basket. A tandem that has established good pick and roll/pop play earlier in the game might see the opportunity for slipping the screen as the defense over-adjusts.

Dribble Handoff

The dribble handoff normally occurs when a big man has the ball on the perimeter and he’s trying to get the ball back to a ball handling guard or wing. The big man dribbles over to the guard to make a safe exchange with the basketball, but this can turn into more than just an exchange. The dribble handoff can quickly and easily turn into two-man scoring action. A big guy can act as screener on the handoff and create an open driving or shooting opportunity for the guard. A big guy can also fake the handoff if his defender is over-helping and create a 3 point shooting or driving opportunity for himself. The false dribble handoff can be a really effective scoring tool for big guys.

The Two Man Game can be pretty effective for youth basketball players, but can take a lot of practice individually and with a teammate for players to get comfortable with. Contact your local basketball trainer to help you learn the nuances of this great offensive weapon!

Denver Youth Basketball Preparation Tips

Denver Youth Basketball Preparation

Denver Youth basketball players spend hours on the practice floor, in the training gym and in their driveways preparing to be the best players they can be come game time. But when game time actually comes, many don’t know how to properly approach it. Here are some important steps players should take in their approach to games in order to maximize success.

Denver Youth Basketball Preparation Tips

 

Eat a Proper Pre-Game Meal

Nutrition is more important than many players realize. A proper meal before the game, or a lack thereof, can really start to show its effects late into a basketball game. The right meal will give players good energy for running up and down the court, and a poor meal can sap that energy and make one look and feel out of shape. A breakfast combination like oatmeal and energy-boosting fruit (like a banana) provides good energy without weighing one down. A meal like this is good for morning practices and games. A lunch or dinner meal like chicken and potatoes, or pasta, is weightier but can also provide the energy needed to sustain an entire game. NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan famously ate steak and potatoes as his pre-game meal. It’s also important to note that players want to give the body time to convert food into energy before it’s time to play in a game. A meal eaten 5 minutes before the game can leave one feeling stuffed, and that’s not good. Players should look to eat with enough time to get over a feeling of fullness before a game starts.

 Don’t Watch the Opposition Warm-Up

This is something that a lot of players naturally do, but don’t realize its effects on their approach to the game. There is not much you can learn about a team from warm-ups. Instead of learning anything, a player can do damage to his psyche. If the opposing team looks large and athletic, a player might psyche himself out and become fearful. If a team doesn’t look particularly impressive, a player could think that the game is going to be a walk in the park and not bring maximum competitive energy from the tip-off. From watching years of youth basketball I’ve noticed that a lot of times the players who look like they’re winning the warm-up aren’t huge factors in games. Many times the players who don’t stand out in warm-ups end up stealing the show in the game. There is nothing positive gained from watching the other team warm-up so players shouldn’t do it.

 Take Basketball Warm-Ups Seriously

Players need to take warm-ups seriously. Warming up is a time to get the body loose and ready to go for the game. It is not a time to shoot 25 foot three pointers or display flashy dribble moves that won’t get displayed in the game. In the layup line, players need to work to break a sweat and get their legs warmed up. When the layup line turns into a shooting line, players should take game shots only. Players who do not warm up properly have to get warmed up in the game, which could lead to them getting off to a slow start.

 Be Aggressive Early

Inevitably, players get nervous before basketball games. Or most of them do I should say. Pre-game jitters are perfectly normal and don’t mean that one isn’t prepared to perform. NBA All Star Kobe Bryant admits that he still gets pre-game jitters before every game, and he has absolutely no reason to get nervous before a game. A great way to get the jitters out of the way is to be aggressive early in the game. This means being aggressive to get a strong drive at the rim, a big rebound, or a big block. Regardless of a player’s position or role on his team, there is something a player can do to “get himself in the game”. This strategy especially works well in higher pressure situations, like playoff games and player tryouts.  Players who don’t attack the pre-game jitters early in games can sometimes let the jitters wear on and affect them for too long. Early aggressiveness can get those jitters out of the way quickly.

These are a couple of good strategies any youth basketball player can start implementing today. One can maximize his performance in games by eating a good meal beforehand, focusing on the warm up instead of the competition, and being aggressive out the gate. We hope to see more players approaching games like this to get the most out of their abilities.