The approach to basketball training can vary widely. There are several different philosophies and theories about training. What works best, how you should go about it, or how you should track progress to name a few of the differences. But as you will see in this article there are plenty factors that coaches and trainers believe are the most essential to improving your performance on the court. With all of that being said, I reached out to over 50 coaches and trainers in the world of basketball training, to ask what is the most essential skill when trying to improve your basketball skills. You can read through the massive list of expert answers below, then start implementing these same practices into your own workouts! After reading this article, let us know what your think is the most essential skill when trying to improve your basketball skills in the comment section.

"At the most basic of skill development the most essential skill that goes overlooked is Balance and Body Control, if you can even label it a skill. I say this because the first thing every player wants to do is improve handles and get a better jump shot. What they fail to realize is that neither can improve without having better balance and body control. The greatest players of today all have superb balance and amazing body control when utilizing there skills and that's what youth players fail to see. I spend a lot of time teaching these keys before I even come close to teaching the other intangibles and honestly I see a significant difference in players who are able to position themselves with strength and decisiveness than those who can not. Overtime Athletics trainovertime.com/

"The most essential skill when doing anything that will improve yourself is getting your mindset in a space of "K can" and leaving I cant behind. Confidence is key to improvement with anything you do in life. so with training for basketball, the method doesn't change. Come in the gym, confident but still be ready to work harder then you've ever worked and be ready to learn. Understand that you will make mistakes. Mistakes are the best learning tool in LIFE! You learn from mistakes." rysebasketball.com/

"There's three things to help improve your game. you got to be mentally tough, you got to love to compete, and you have to be smart. being mentally tough allows you to push through and do whatever it takes to become better. Loving to compete makes you want to compete against the best players and that's how you learn by playing against other great players. And you have to be smart, have a high basketball IQ know how to train no whats useful and whats not. Being able to listen and put yourself in places where you can be seen that's all part of being smart and understanding who you are as a player and what you need to get done for your team in yourself. You stay consistent doing these things and you'll be fine." Dashletics basketball dashletics.com/

"That's a loaded question with a lot of potentially great answers but for me the most essential skill is not athletic. It's mental. Players that want to be better have to have or find the desire to work everyday and out work the competition. There is no substitute for putting in the right work." Scott Clark youtube.com/thelab1am

"I think the most essential skill to work on is shooting. If you can really shoot the ball at any position it helps you play into your strengths because it keeps the defense honest. Example if your a great slasher like Russell Westbrook and he consistently hits his jump shot when the defense plays him tighter from the outside he will then play into his strength of getting to the basket and putting someone on a poster." Ben Bellucci bba315.com

"Basketball IQ. You must know the game and know your personal (KYP before you can master the game with skill alone." Great Lakes Potential youtu.be/RDxyNZvmcQ4

"The most essential skill is ball handling. Being confident in your ability to handle the basketball and not commit turnovers will always get you minutes. Also having the ability to beat defenders off the dribble will open up shots for yourself and your teammates. But ball handling is always worked on with finishing and shooting because being great at one skill isn't enough being well rounded will take you to that next level." BeginNow Basketball beginnowbasketball.com/

"My most essential skill that I preach is to have confidence first and foremost in yourself. Believing in yourself and what you are capable of goes beyond and personal achievement you can have on the basketball court. Basketball is merely a platform to develop and train your mind, body and soul int believing that anything is possible once you put your mind to it." Pierre Pierce dblptraining.com

"The most essential skill when trying to improve your basketball skills is your basketball IQ. Every player has some type of talent and ability, but what separates you from the rest is your ability to read the game. Sharpen the mind & your skills will improve. Be smart & efficient." Coach Tamar Adams

"The most essential skill for me is work ethic & confidence! How hard are you willing to work for what you want. Your confidence comes from your work. From what you practice. The more work you put in, the more confident you will be. Don't practice until you get it right, practice until you can't get it wrong.  Bee creative. Be different. Don't try to be someone else. Be the best version of yourself!" NickParsonsTraining@gmail.com

"Good communication skills. The ability to listen to and learn from coaches, trainers and fellow athletes and provide feedback by actions, attempts and verbally. The strongest athletes tend to be part of the process and the strongest teams tend to know one another. Communication is not about liking one another it is about knowing one another. Knowing strengths, weaknesses, behaviors and tendencies allows everyone to work together to improve. It is paramount to getting groups of individuals on the same page. It is a big part of why people and therefore organisations fail or succeed. Having an open mind, listening, learning, providing honest feedback with verbal and through action and improvement puts people teams and organisations on a path to success." Coach Craig Rowe youtube.com/user/ozswoosh

"Being a coach and skill development trainer. I've had the pleasure of working with some really talented players, and some that needed a solid foundation to work on. Whether I had really good or sub par teams, one thing was constantly preached. Decision making! I've watched skilled players work their way out of the rotation by making poor decisions. And I've watched unskilled players work their way into the rotation with excellent decision making. Basketball IQ is the most underrated skill." 3T Sports Performance 3tsportsperformance.wordpress.com

"The most important things is paying attention to detail. All ball players will come with different skill sets, but as a trainer I love being able to show a kid a drill once and see them do it correctly. The worst thing is seeing a coach draw up a play and a player ask his teammate what do I do after breaking the huddle. If you can focus on the small details you will have the knowledge to learn anything a coach throws at you making you a more coachable player." Coach Pichon. main.possibletraining.com/johnpichon/

"While some players might be more experienced with some skills than others, it is best to have a strong skill in dribbling. Dribbling is an important skill for all basketball players. This skill will allow you to move up and down the court, maneuver past defenders and execute plays. Proper dribbling requires ball-handling skills and knowledge of how to spread your fingers for ball control. It is also best if you know how to dribble equally well with both hands."  David Knight finishstrongbasketball.ca

"The most essential skill in basketball is footwork of the athlete. Footwork is the foundation of basketball and everything begins from there. Dribbling, shooting, passing, rebounding, defending but other skills as well like running, jumping, acceleration, deceleration, stopping, pivoting etc."  Exeter Academy of Basketball

"You always need good feet to be a great player. But what I teach here is going back to the root of basketball basic fundamentals. The kids don't have the basic's here, I only can speak for the kids in this area." thespclinic.com/

"To me the most essential skill anyone can have is being able to pay attention to detail, being able to stay focused and having the heart to push yourself and finish drills! This is the most important because if you're not able to listen to the smaller technical this, you will never be able to apply what you learn in an actual game!" Ambitious Skills Training

"I believe the most important skill is confidence and consistency one can learn just about anything but mastering it to be able to use it in a game, especially when tired, takes countless hours of reps and confidence in yourself knowing you put in the work." TGC Basketball

"Handling the ball under pressure. A player who can stay composed and make plays against pressure defense will not only make the team, but they will get in games when it matters most." Coach Ben Stirt courtvisionhoops.com/

"I wouldn't say it is actually a specific but is the willingness and hunger to want to learn as much as possible and the ability to create an insane work ethic to put in the time to work at your craft. Fall in love with the process! #WeWorkin" Coach Jay 3dathletictraining.com/

"I think confidence. & building character. Without the confidence to try the first time. & dedication to know that 1 day you will be the best or ever be great... But always hope for greatness." Coach MarShonn 

"The most essential skill is commitment. Commitment to do whatever it take to get better" Hoopsrecruitusa

"I would have to say repetition because you gotta put in the time and sweat to really improve your game. With the right drills and exercises you can see a difference along with a high quantity of Quality reps, and that is your key to unlocking your full potential as a basketball player."ipeakperformance.com/

" I don't believe that there is a specific skill that is most essential when trying to improve your over all game. Instead there are two main things that you need to focus on. Those two things are confidence and mental toughness. If you implement these two things to your game, you will see an immediate difference right away. If your more confident, you will have more trust in your game and you will use the stuff that you work on in the gym during training or practice. Low confidence holds players back all the time. Being mentally tough will also change your game right away. Being mental tough mean that your fighting through being tire or sore and your constantly pushing yourself. So now when your working out by yourself, instead of giving up as soon as you get tired, your now pushing yourself past your limit and comfort zone because you know that your mentally tough and can handle it. There is no essential skill that will make you a great player out of no where. you should always be working on every aspect of your game especially your weak points, but confidence and mentally toughness will change your game right away." Coach Tyler eastcoast845.com/

"In my opinion the most essential skill for trying to improve your basketball skills would be work ethic. Determination, effort and listening are also skills in my opinion that cant be taught and are very valuable also, not sure if you consider that a skill but from a coaching stand point to me it is practically a requirement when attempting to improve in any aspect. Every individual is different and every individual may not be striving for the same goal as others but if you are willing to improve and have certain attributes you are searching to excel in then you must be willing to put in the right kind of work day in and day out and go about what you're trying to acquire the right way." Coach Matt Ensminger m.facebook.com/hooptrainingbyme/

"Practice. Practice gives you the skills to outplay and outwit your opponents on the basketball court also if you have the right attitude, put in the 100% effort and show desire to work hard your skills will definitely improve." Hoop Planet 

"To me the most essential skill to have when trying to improve your game is mental toughness because without it you can not get through a entire workout. Your mind will always give up before your body but if your mind is trained to never give up and keep on pushing then its going to be pretty tough to stop someone that has that type of hunger to improve and that also improves him or her as a player and a person as well because this can also be utilized in life." Coach AD youtu.be/3VM11oxb2cY

" The most important skills, to me are simply fundamentals and mentality The best players have a mindset that no matter what they are going to compete at the highest level they can or believe they can. They are constantly working at their skills and the most skilled player keep the game pretty simple by sharpening up their basic fundamentals. Great players make the game nice and easy and will out smart other athletes." Mark Lowe skillsacademylo.weebly.com/

"Footwork: Your game is built from the ground up If we have good footwork we can build our game upon a strong base." GC Hoops

"Shooting, it allows my entire game to open up. If I'm shooting good I'm tough too guard." Arizona Grassroots Basketball Arizonagrassroots.org/

"It is the basketball IQ as a strength & conditioning coach I realize I can create an elite athlete through my training but basketball IQ is what makes them Elite on the court. Basketball IQ is what separates good basketball players from great basketball players." two01basketballacademy.org

"To be honest , its not really the skill that matters when you start to improve with skill training. I can make your jumper better, your handle tighter, and even increase your jumping. The most important skill is desire. I can't want it more than you do. Somebody have some don't but that's what I look at when deciding to train them or not." Legacy Hoop Academy m.youtube.com/watch?v

"Footwork. The entire game depends onit. Shooting, defending, ball handling catching triple threat, scoring moves, etc. The examples of where footwork effect the game are endless." Amplify Hoops amplifyhoops.com/

"In my opinion, the most essential and sometimes over looked is footwork. More specifically, being able to move your feet in rhythm with your dribble." Adrian Howell

"The most essential skill in my opinion is your determination because you can be shown all the drills and techniques in the world but if you don't have determination/will to go out and use those resources they are useless.:" TR Elite Basketball youtu.be/n_Gw5liC_sg

"The most important essential skill when it comes to basketball is fundamentals and having the right mechanics and footwork. Without those assets your really a step behind the people who have them." Coach Strong

"Shooting and finishing. You can have all the moves and footwork you want, but if you cant put the ball in the hoop it doesn't matter. You don't need a trainer to get in the gym and get shots up!! Shoot the ball!!" d2d_training

"That is a tough question to answer because it depends on the player asking. Every coach and team needs a strong ball handler, shooter, rebounder and defender. Offensively a skill set that is always valued is a great handler. Great ball handlers tend to have better court vision and make the necessary passes. If I had to pick one skill set to prioritize that would be it." CA Hoop

"The most essential skill to improve your basketball skills would be improving your ball handling skills. If you are able to create for yourself and others it automatically make you a factor on the court. Also something that might not be a skill but is very important is a player confidence and being mentally strong. A lot of basketball is mental and if you are able to overcome the mental aspect the learning aspect becomes easier." Coach David MV Elite Basketball facebook.com/mvelitebasketball.com

"Repetition... Doing the same things over and over again may seem elementary but it it key to teaching muscle memory. Especially when it comes to shooting. You can always do things at different speeds and difficulty but if you build a workout regimen that works for you and improves your game, then keep doing it over and over." Gerald Randle III facebook.com/fullcourttraininginc/

" I would say the most essental skill in skill development is decision making. I.e. Developing shooting is much more than developing technique, but also about scanning the defense before you catch, determining time and space, possibly time and score. The best way to develop decision making is through live reps that are as game like as possible. 2on2, 3on3, 4on4, 5on5. For every next level of play, you given less time and space, you must be a high processor of conceptual information." @Jon_Giesbrecht twitter @School4Hoops Instagram

"The most essential skill when trying to improve your basketball skills is the ability to use proper footwork. Proper footwork will help ball handling, shooting, secondary moves, and even defense. Without footwork, the skills can't develop." Bracy Skills Clinics youtu.be/LrTRkSy6U1k

"I would have to say the most essential skill when trying to improve a basketball player or my skill set would have to be an conditioned mind set to never quit and to work hard to reach your goal! You have to be willing to sacrifice and put in work on your off day!"Coach Howell Elite Workouts coachhowell.com/

"The most important skill is patience. Basketball is much like everything else in life, you do not get to a higher level skill overnight. It takes hours, days, weeks, months, and sometimes years to become a competitor. Without patience and determination you're likely to give up." Coach Erik Johnson

"There are a lot of things essential when trying to improve on basketball skills. Preparation is very critical. You have to maximize every second to get better. By doing that evaluate your game. Look at what you really need to work on, study what works, and also schedule gym time with a created workout plan. Athletes must put in lots of reps,, concentration, and determination to improve daily." Marqua McCuller m.youtube.com/watch?feature

"The most essential skill to improve is the motivation of the player. That's because without this skill the most difficult things during the learning process of a new skill is so hard to get successful results. Moreover, motivation increases the concentration and fun of the game."  Wings to Play

"Work ethic. If you dont have a good work ethic and a purposeful workout your defeating the purpose of getting better." Corey Frazier events.puresweatbasketball.com/corey-frazier-skills-academy_-march.cfm

"Balance is always essential no matter what skill you are working. This is important to skills training because it allows t=for you to play faster and more consistent. Balance starts with a good basketball stance, and the stance starts with the feet and ends with the hands and eyes. 1)Feet always shoulders width apart and even 2)Knees bent in a sitting stance with hips at the same level as the knee 3)Shoulders should be square to the basketball 4)hands in shooting pocket awaiting pass or in triple threat with the ball 5)Eyes should be up the floor locating the second defender." Basketball Life Enhancement basketball-life317.com/

"In my personal opinion the most essential basketball skill is footwork not only does footwork apply on offense but it's equally important with defense as well. When I first got into coaching hearing the term footwork usually post players was one of the first and only positions that came to mind but as you study and learn more about the game of basketball you realize that it is an equally important factor for other positions and on both ends of the court. Working towards improving this particular skill especially improves ball handling, defense and your overall offensive play." Coach Philnicka Scales m.facebook.com/TripleThreatOKC/?ref=bookmarks

"The most essential skill when trying to develop your skill mentally would be resilience. Growing as a basketball player takes time. Getting better at basketball and having it translate to the game, takes trying new things you have worked on in situations where you normally wouldn't and learning and reacting from it. As far as the most essential skill physically it would be a players footwork. Everything you do in basketball requires great footwork. Whether it be defense, ball handling, or shooting, or rebounding good footwork is a must." Marcus Norman P5EliteBasketball.com/

"In my opinion the most important thing for someone to have when trying to get better at basketball is the belief in oneself. Whether a player is attempting a difficult drill, defending and stopping a good offensive player, or taking a big shot or any shot for that matter if you don't believe in yourself then the battle is already half lost and you'll ALWAYS be at a disadvantage." THE LAB thelabbasketball.com/

"The most essential skill when trying to improve your basketball skills is attention to detail. Its the little things, the details, that will give you an edge over opponents." theeatacademy.com/

"The most essential skill when trying to improve your basketball skills is ball handling. If you can handle the ball you can get to any spot on the court. Even if you are a great shooter, you still have to advance the ball up court. A lot of college coaches want players that can create their own shot. & that ties into ball handling. Great ball handlers can get into the lane, increase passing angles." DeSean Johnson traintoperformhoops.com/

"Teamwork is the most essential skills because no matter how skillful each player is, without teamwork they would still fail as a basketball team at the end of the day. But if you would consider a practical skill, it would be handles. without handles you wont be able to control the ball hence the game properly resulting in high turnover rate." IRA training

"Commitment. Basketball is a beautiful game with layers of depth and detail -- more so than most sports. When developing skills, struggle is inevitable. Commitment is a necessary component of improvement, but in this sense it means a willingness to make mistakes, and embracing the struggle that coincides with your development (aka "the process"). And when skills are developed, that commitment will help turn those skills into weapons." Matt Brewer


The best jump training system out there VertShock bit.ly/vertshock-blog

How to shoot off the screen shooting-off-the-screen

10 Common Mistakes People Make When Basketball Training bit.ly/10common-mistakes

(Book Recommendations)The Confidence Gap: A Guid To Overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt by Russ Harris bit.ly/confidence-gap The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Mansonbit.ly/subtle-art-of these are here because I believe confidence is the biggest factor in improving your game. Or you can listen to them if you don't like to read bit.ly/no-reading

*** Common Themes Of The Most Essential Skill When Trying To Improve *** 

1. Consistency 

2. Confidence.

3. Faith that it will workout

QUESTION — Have a question about Basketball? Post a comment on one of our social media pages !

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DISCLAIMER: This blog contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission at NO extra cost to you. This helps support BYL and allows us to continue to make content like this. Thank you for the support!

HOW YOU CAN get training from your favorite nba player For Free!

Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planing, and focused effort. ~Paul J. Meyer

There are a lot of options out there for you to train and improve your game. There are all kinds of articles, videos, online workouts, training equipment and personal trainers. But the big problem is that most of it is not very good information, bad information, and some of the techniques taught may even hurt your progress. I'm going to hop in my time machine and go back to 1994, the year I went from getting cut from the JV team to a year later becoming a All-State basketball player by training myself with a method that will always be relevant. I'm going to give you the step by step method I used to transform my game, and I did it all without spending one cent.

The quote at the beginning of this article may seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. You don't have to recreate the wheel. You don't have to start from scratch, because success leaves clues. The fact is that many people have already had massive success with similar game and strengths to your own.  I'm not talking about skill level but skill set, your skill level is how good you are at certain skills. Your skill set is the skills that you are best at.  No matter if you are a undersized, non athletic center that finishes around the basket, or a tall point guard that doesn't shoot well but is a good passer, or if you are a athletic wing that shoots well but has poor ball handling. There are several people playing at the highest levels all over the world with a skill set very similar to yours.

  • Choose Someone With Similar Strengths

At the time I started to train myself  David Robinson was my favorite player but it wasn't likely that I would grow another 9 inches and develop freakish athletic ability, so I decided to study Joe Dumars.  Dumars was a player that I looked up to, he won two championships with the Detroit Pistons and had several all star game appearances. At that time we had similar skill sets. The things Dumars did well was also the same things I did well, of course Joe Dumars was much much better than me at all these skills.  It was just that the most effective parts of his game were also the most effective parts of my game.

  • Watch closely 

I was living in Detroit so just about all of the Pistons games came on TV. We had a VCR (for the younger readers it was the DVR of that time). You could record what was on TV and play it back later. I taped every Detroit Pistons game and I would watch them over and over again. But when I watched those games I only watched Joe Dumars. No matter where the ball was or what was going on on the court I watched Joe. I saw how he reacted in every situation. I watched how he positioned himself on defense, on ball and off the ball. I watched how he played a shooter verses someone who would primarily drive. I watched how he played the passing lanes. I also watched him on offense, how he faked one way to come off a screen the other way. I watched how he played off the ball, and also with the ball. I studied the moves he did to get a shot in one on one situations. I watched everything from his body movement to his favorite moves to go to when his team really needed a basket. 

  • Practice

Next I would write down at what time in the game Dumars took a shot and go back later and watch every shot he took and how he got those shots. Then when I got to the gym I would practice every shot he took in the last game until I felt comfortable doing them. I would go through a whole play, screening imaginary players and coming off imaginary screens to shoot. I even practiced fast break layups.  If in the game he got a steal and sprinted down for a layup, I would practice that. I would act like I got a steal and sprint down for a layup. I also practiced defense but I only did this in my basement. I'm sure it would have been very odd to come to the gym and see someone playing defense on an imaginary player, so I did this in my basement several times a week. Also I would try to get to the gym early or go at a time when it would most likely to be empty, because I was embarrassed because of what other people would think. But no one ever gave me a hard time because of me training this way.

  • Put it to use

Now that I had all the moves Joe was doing on a nightly bases, I started doing them myself. In pickup basketball before long I would find myself in similar situations as Dumars and I wouldn't even have to think, I just did them because I had been practicing and preparing for these exact situations. The more I used these moves the more my confidence grew. If you have been following BYL you already know that I think confidence is the most important factor in being a good basketball player.  Training the way I did really helped me more than just doing drills because I was imagining game situations while I was practicing. I wasn't just dribbling around a cone and shooting. I was imagining getting checked by Jordan and other NBA players and doing the moves that were working for Joe Dumars.

This is the exact process I went through to take my game to the next level. Before you start this process I suggest that you choose someone with similar strengths. So if you are not good at shooting already, you shouldn't try to play like Steph Curry.  It will be much more difficult for you to have success that way. Go for someone with similar strengths as you because you won't have as far to go to be great at it. Don't study highlights, they are exciting because they rarely happen. You want to use your time studying the parts of a player's game where they score the bulk of their points. Also if you are just beginning at basketball you may want to choose a college player or a player at a lower level because at the college level players do not attempt to do advanced moves as much and it will be easier for you to imitate a college player. 


The best jump training system out there VertShock bit.ly/vertshock-blog

One handed passing and ball handling bit.ly/one-handed-passing

A Surefire Way To Improve Your Game bit.ly/improve-your-game

(Book Recommendations)The Fab Five: Basketball Trash Talk the American Dream by Mitch Albom bit.ly/fab-five-albom this is the first chapter book I ever read were it wasn't required by school. Or you can listen to them if you don't like to read bit.ly/no-reading

*** Get Free Training *** 

1. Choose Someone With Similar Strengths 

2. Watch closely

3. Practice

4. Put it to use

QUESTION — Have a question about Basketball? Post a comment on one of our social media pages !

BYL on Social Media:

DISCLAIMER: This blog contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission at NO extra cost to you. This helps support BYL and allows us to continue to make content like this. Thank you for the support!


10 Common Mistakes People Make When Basketball Training

Reggen Motivating

I always loved basketball and I don't know exactly when it was but at some point in my youth I decided I was going to be the greatest player who ever lived. So I began to watch as much basketball as I could. I got basketball game tapes and highlight tapes and watched them endlessly. Again and again I heard the same mantra to be the best you have to out work everyone else. While you are sleeping someone somewhere is practicing and when you meet them they will win. I took this to heart and decided that my work ethic was what would take me to the top. There was only one problem with me training myself to be a basketball player, I didn't know how. There are many mistakes I made. Now that my professional playing days are over and I'm training kids to go BEYOND THIER LIMITS in basketball I keep seeing the same mistakes that I made that slowed my progress. So here are some things to lookout for while you train to be the best you can be.

  1. Having No Goal. While I was improving as a player I did a decent job of setting goals. I often played a game called beat the pro to 12 points where if I made a shot I got 1 point and if I missed the pro I was playing got 1 point, and the better I got the more points I would give the pro per miss. To get better is a goal but its not a very good one. When you workout set measurable goals. "If you can't measure it, you can't improve it" Peter Drucker. See how many shots it takes you to make 10 of a certain type of shot. Then you have a starting point that you can continue to measure week after week and month after month to track your progress. Having something to aim for will also keep you motivated and focused.                    
  2. Not Going Game Speed. When you dont go game speed while training, your negating your workout. You probably will make more shots going half speed but it doesn't matter because you will never be able to shoot those shots in the game. I know you've heard the saying you play like you practice, and there is a lot of truth to it. The game will be much easier if you practice hard as if you were doing it in a game. When you get in the game it will be familiar and you will be more at ease. 
  3. Not Being Coachable. This is the worst type of kid for me to train. The kid that thinks they already know everything so they don't listen and does the drill completely wrong so I have to explain everything 2 and 3 times. Or the kid that every time you correct them, they were just about to do that or already knew that. Being coachable was one of the things that I believe helped me the most. When I got to junior college I was so excited to be coached by someone who actually had success playing that I spent hours everyday in Coach Briggs office soaking in all the information he was willing to give me, and the tips he gave me were priceless.
  4. Not Making Any Mistakes. While training I constantly messed up but it never bothered me much for some reason. If anything it made me try harder to get it down good. I used it as a sign that I still had more work to do. If you never lose the ball or make a mistake during your workout your probably not pushing yourself. If you want to go BEYOND YOUR LIMITS you have to go outside of your comfort zone. If you only go as fast and as hard as you feel comfortable going your not going to improve much. You should always continue to push yourself to be better and fast every workout, this will show you the most results the quickest. 
  5. To Much Casual Shooting. This is something I was very guilty of growing up. But I grew up in a time were the basketball court is were everyone was and it was the social place to be. It's where you heard what was going on in the neighborhood and in school. Today we have Snapchat, Instagram and other social media platforms. So I used to waste a lot of time casually shooting and talking to friends. Well now a-days when you go to the court the only people there are basketball players. So work hard while at the gym training and socialize after or before, just not during. 
  6. Having No Plan. I knew that I wanted to be a great basketball player but I had no plan to get there. I didn't know my strengths and weaknesses, I had no clue how to become a great player. So I just went to the court and did every drill I could think off. Or I would see Joe Dumars do a move that I liked and I would go to the park and try to imitate it over and over again. My workouts had no focus so while I was working hard and I was improving it was at a snails pace. For instance, if I knew I wanted to perfect jumpers from the elbow I could have focused in on that and improved at a much faster rate.
  7. Working On Things You'll Never Do In The Game. I remember watching Anfernee Hardaway loose the ball, it bounced back toward half court. He picked up the ball, did a crossover and then a spin move and hit a pull up three pointer as the shot clock buzzer sounded. I went to my neighborhood court the next day and practiced that move and shot for the whole day. Do you want to know how many times in my life I have used that move and shot? Never is the answer. I wasted a whole day practicing something that was highly unlikely for me to do in the game. Its okay to play around and do it a few times but I went to the extreme and worked on it the whole day. To this day I'm still waiting on my opportunity to pull it off lol.
  8. Not Training Past Fatigue. Here is something that separates the good from the great. At the end of the game and overtime everyone is tired but the great ones can push past and still play at a high level. So if this is something that can make you great why would you not practice it. While training if you get overly tired, shoot a few free throws no more than three and get back to work  training your body and mind to perform while your fatigued. It will benefit you greatly at the end of your games. While others will give in to fatigue you will be able to run past them.
  9. Not Tracking Your Progress Long Term. I trained all the time, but until I was playing professionally I had never did long term tracking of my progress. How will you know if you are getting better if you don't track your progress? Set your goals then push yourself to reach them. Check back next month and the month after that. You will see the progress you're making motivating you even more.  
  10. Not Being Consistent. Sometimes I get people to train and they come for 2 weeks, then I wouldn't see them for another month. then they show up again and I ask them have they been working out and I get a not really. Well if you are not getting better your getting worse, if you are not consistent your hurting your cause. It is important to take time off from time to time but several long breaks and your skills will start to decline. Have you heard the saying if you dont use it you'll loose it? Well its true even with basketball. So be consistent and basketball can take you to where you want to go.

Thanks for reading and if this article was interesting or helpful in any way please share it on your favorite social media site. Thanks


The best jump training system out there VertShock bit.ly/vertshock-blog

3 Reasons The Most Skilled Player May Not Be The Best Player bit.ly/skill-is-not-production

Beat The Pro bit.ly/beat-the-pro

(Book Recommendations)The Art of a Beautiful Game: The Thinking Fan's Tour of the NBA by Chris Ballard bit.ly/beautiful-game  these are here because I believe basketball is very much a thinking game and if you see how the greats think on the court you can train yourself to think the same way. Or you can listen to them if you don't like to read bit.ly/no-reading

QUESTION — Have a question about Basketball? Post a comment on one of our social media pages !

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DISCLAIMER: This blog contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission at NO extra cost to you. This helps support BYL and allows us to continue to make content like this. Thank you for the support!

What I Learned From Getting Cut From The Team... The Second Time

Kevin High School photo

If you have been following Beyond Your Limits you already know that I was cut from my high school junior varsity team twice. With this season just getting underway I was reflecting on some valuable lessons I learned throughout the process of being cut from the team. Coming into my freshman year in high school I thought I was really prepared to make the team and start my basketball career. After being cut my freshman year it was an eye opener, maybe I wasn't as good as I thought, maybe I had an off two days, maybe I needed to work harder on improving my game. So that summer I woke up every morning at 5am and ran 3 miles for my conditioning. I did toe raises, I thought would increase my vertical, and I also did ball handling drills that I saw on a Magic Johnson video. I worked on all of my weaknesses to get them up to par. So when tryouts came around my sophomore year I knew that I worked hard and was ready to show the coach my new improved skill level. I even had a Jordan basketball card in my sock because I heard he got cut from his high school team to. So on the third day after our 2 day tryout the names of the people who made the team would be posted in the gym. I got to school early to see the list and to my surprise my name was not on it. I had a terrible day and after school I went home to my room and cried because I worked so hard for a goal and I didn't reach it. Thank God I didn't give up on basketball at that time because if I did I would have missed out on becoming an All-City and All-State basketball player. I would have missed out on leading the nation in scoring and being a junior college All-American. I would have missed out on being offered over 10 division 1 scholarship offers. I would have missed out on playing professional basketball and being paid to travel around the world and play a game I love. I would have missed out on countless relationships with teammates and fans and worst of all I probably would not have met my wife who was also an athlete at Wright State. So without further ado here is what I learned from being cut the second time.

#1 Get To Know The Coach

The first time the coach sees you should not be at the tryouts. If I had it to do over I would be in the coaches office every chance I got, picking his brain. I would ask him what he looked for in a point guard or shooting guard (the positions I would have played in tenth grade). I would show him I had a interest in playing on the team and let him know that I was working hard to make the team. Later I found out that they were having preseason conditioning the weeks leading up to tryouts. Had I been communicating with the coach I would have known that. Bottom line is if the coach doesn't know you its easy for him to cut you. Also if it comes down to choosing you or a player with a similar skill set, the coach will choose the guy he knows a little bit about.  I went to the biggest public school in Detroit at the time and we had about 100 people tryout for the team. We had to pin numbers on our shorts to keep track of everyone, I was just a face in the crowd. The coach did not know me and it was easy for him to cut me, but if we had talked before the tryout he would have at least taken a look to see if I was worth keeping. You should make sure the coach knows you. Don't be a nuisance but stop by a few times to say hello and let them now that you intend to be their starting point guard for the upcoming season.

#2 You are Not Good If No One Knows Your Good

Play with confidence, don't be afraid to show what you got. I remember to start the tryout coach came up and asked can anyone dunk? Four kids came up to try and dunk only one of them made the dunk but all four made the team. Coincidence, I think not. Now at this point in time I could not dunk but I could grab the the rim and have an impressive miss. And thats exactly what I would do if I could do it again. Next the coach said can anyone here make a three pointer? This time six kids came up to attempt a three pointer. At this time shooting was probably the strongest part of my game but my lack of confidence kept me in my seat. Now all six kids missed their three pointers and two of them made the team. Those are pretty good odds for there being a 100 people there. I did okay throughout the drills and once we started playing 5 on 5, I would bring the ball up the court pass it to the wing and disappear for the rest of the possession. I didn't have the confidence to show my game. In reality, I was better than most of the people at tryouts but if you were watching from the sideline you could not tell. I didn't make any mistakes but I also didn't make anything positive happen. And it was to my detriment that I did not stand out. So at your next tryout make sure you try to make plays on offense and defense even if you make a mistake. Try to penetrate, create space to get your shot, or play pressure defense, what ever you're good at, make sure it shines throughout the tryouts.

#3 Play To Your Strengths

Like I mentioned earlier I spent the whole year after I got cut in the ninth grade working on my game, but my biggest problem was that I spent it working on the wrong things. I focused in on the weakest parts of my game and I worked my tail off to make those parts of my game respectable. In the tenth grade my biggest strength was my jump shot. I was an above average shooter but I spent exactly zero time working on my shot. Actually my shot could have been my ticket onto the team. It's good that I worked on my weaknesses to make them respectable, but the bad thing is that no one cares about average. People only take note of the exceptional, instead I should have spent that time making myself into an elite shooter. I should have worked on creating space to get my shot off, perfecting my form to get my shot off quicker, and running of screens. If I came into tryouts and shot the lights out no one would have cared that I was a below average ball handler, there would have been a spot on the team for me as a specialist. And later I could have gradually brought the other parts of my game to a respectable level. Its important to have a well rounded game, but there is always a spot for someone who is one of the best at what they do.

Let Frustration Be Your Fuel

Actually I'm happy that I got cut that second time. It showed me a lot about myself and my character that I might not have found out until much later. I went home and cried that day and you know what happened after that? I got up at 5am and started working even harder. This was a point where I could have given up on my dreams and no one would have blamed me for it. But I didn't give up because this was something that I wanted so badly that I was not going to let anything or anyone stop me from getting it, and you know what? God seems to open doors and give opportunities to people who don't take no for an answer and are passionate and willing to do whatever it takes to make their dream a reality. So my advice to you is don't let a bump in the road stop you, just work smarter and harder to see your dreams become a reality. I'm not telling you what I heard I'm telling you what I lived. It is possible for you to get whatever you want out of basketball, and it all starts with you believing it is possible for you. 


The best smart ball for improving your handles bit.ly/dribble-up

My Basketball Testimony  bit.ly/basketball-testimony

10 Common Mistakes People Make When Basketball Training bit.ly/10common-mistakes

(Book Recommendations)The Fab Five: Basketball Trash Talk the American Dream by Mitch Albom bit.ly/fab-five-albom this is the first chapter book I ever read were it wasn't required by school. Or you can listen to them if you don't like to read bit.ly/no-reading

*** Making The Team Tips *** 

1. Get To Know The Coach

2. You Are Not Good If No One Knows Your Good

3. Play To Your Strengths

4. Let Frustration Be Your Fuel

QUESTION — Have a question about Basketball? Post a comment on one of our social media pages !

BYL on Social Media:

DISCLAIMER: This blog contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission at NO extra cost to you. This helps support BYL and allows us to continue to make content like this. Thank you for the support!