Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Shoot the Ball and Close Your Eyes

Posted by Lee Miller | Wednesday, October 26, 2011 | Category: , | 0 comments

Next time you're in the gym working on your game, shoot a shot and close your eyes as soon as you release the ball.  Don't open your eyes until the ball hits the ground (make or miss). Not too beneficial is it? Yet that's basically what every player does during their workouts until they meet me.

The reason you watch your shot go in or out is so that you can judge your shooting form and performance.  Make all your shots-your form is great. Miss them all-your form is bad, but for some reason most players only watch (and thus track) only their shooting performance during workouts. Players very rarely track their speed, how quickly they shoot, how fast they dribble or any of the other various drills they may work on.

That's where I come in.  A few years ago, I began tracking some of the data and drills of some of the players I train. Four years later, we now how a solid database called Living by Numbers which houses 1000's of players scores in at least 12 different drills.  With this database, we track players reps/scores for numerous drills.  For example, many players are familiar with the Mikan Drill, but no one every tracks their progress in that drill.  We do.  Check out AJ Davis (2013) of the Buford Wolves as he records 21 made Mikans in :30 tying our record held by former Milton standout and current Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Julian Royal.

We have 4 Divisions in our Living by Numbers database: High School (3rd-4th graders), College (5th-6th graders), NBA (7th-8th graders) and Elite (High School and Collegiate players). We have found that tracking players scores in these drills really encourages them to A) work on their fundamentals and B) push themselves to get a better score each time they perform.  Using the Living by Numbers program, players can truly see their progress year over year. In 2010, Owen Ferguson broke our Front/Back Bounce record of 76 bounces in :30, when he collected 88 bounces at our NIKE Camp in Birmingham, Alabama.  Was Owen satisfied? No.  He came back to our camp again in 2011 and this time he broke his own record and collected 99 bounces (see video below).  Amazing! That's a 12.5% improvement in 1 year and when you can show players that they are actually improving it makes it that much easier for them to work on their game.

The bottom line is track every thing you do.  Most of our drills are :30, but be creative with your own workout and be sure to make it fun.  Then track your progress and watch your own records fall.  If you have any questions about our Living by Number program, feel free to email me at

Lee Miller
National Director
Elite Hoops
"Release Your Potential"

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Art of the Screen

Posted by Anonymous | Thursday, October 13, 2011 | Category: , | 0 comments

The screen and roll, or pick and roll, is one of the most effective offensive weapons in the game of basketball. There are three parts to a good screen that the screener and the person being screened must use. The first part is the screen itself; it must be a solid screen on the actual defender. The second is the person being screened must set up the defense by going away from the screener and then running the defender into the screen. The final part is coming off shoulder to shoulder with the screener. The screen is best used at the highest level of basketball, the NBA. Players in the NBA set good, hard screens on the defenders, and the ball handler does a good job setting the defense up and, using the screen effectively, and when I say effectively I am referring how he comes off the screen shoulder to shoulder. Here is an example of Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire using the pick and roll to near perfection. Take note on how Steve Nash sets the screen up with a hesitation move and then comes of Amare’s shoulder when he sets a solid screen on the defender. That is how the pick and roll is done. This might be the most important part of the screen, if the ball handler does not come off the screen shoulder to shoulder, then that leaves room for the defense to slide through and stay with the ball handler, but if the ball handler comes off the screeners’ shoulder then the defense either has to trail the ball handler or go underneath the screen, which gives room for the ball handler to shoot or pass.

This is almost a lost art at the high school level. Now I am not saying that high school players do not set screens, I am saying that I do not see players set screens effectively. Many times high school players set a screen on an area rather than a defender. You have to head hunt the defender and set a good, hard screen instead of just empty space. By good, hard screen I do not mean an illegal or dirty screen, I mean a solid screen that your teammate can use. A good screen is hard for the defense to guard, and there are multiple options that come from setting an effective screen. The screener can pick and roll for a layup, or he or she can pick and pop for a jump shot. You can even slip the screen, that is where the screener appears to come set the screen and then slips to the basket hopefully for an open layup. These are just a few variations and options that basic fundamentals of setting a screen can provide.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Real Kevin Durant

Posted by Anonymous | Thursday, October 6, 2011 | Category: , | 0 comments

When no one is watching are you working on your game? When practice is over are you getting up more shots because you had a bad shooting day? Do you work on your weak hand twice as hard as strong as your dominate hand? Are you hanging out with friends on the weekend when you could be in the gym? These are questions you should ask yourself on a daily basis if you want to be the best basketball player you can be. If you are not doing these things there is someone else in a gym somewhere doing something to become a better basketball player. Many think success is just given and not earned. There is a reason why Kevin Durant has become one of the rising stars in the NBA and it starts with his work ethic, leadership, and humbleness.

Kevin Durant did not always start out being the most humble hard working player but learned to be very soon. When Kevin was young, he would have good games in which he would brag about how he played. His mother brought that to a halt very quickly telling Kevin to be humble because all the stuff could be taken away from him. From then on, Kevin did not want to take his talents for granted and improved his work ethic. One of the things Kevin does to improve his game is working out after practice is over, and he feels that this is the reason why he has become better during his time in the NBA. He is also known for giving 100% every time on the court going through every drill, every set, and every workout has hard as possible to become the very best he can be. As you may know he has traveled the country all summer on a summer league tour tearing up all competitors that step in his way. Notable games he has played in are at Rucker Park, a historical park in New York, where he scored 66 points. Then in the Goodman League v. Melo League in which players like: Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Chris Paul, John Wall, Brandon Jennings, and DeMarcus Cousins played in, he scored 59 points. How is that for hard work paying off?

Not only does Kevin’s work ethic make him a better player but it also rubs off on his teammates. Through leading by example, he gets his teammates to commit to the team by doing whatever it takes to win. For example, starting shooting guard for the Oklahoma Thunder, Thabo Sefolosha, totally commits himself to the defensive end for the betterment of the team. In a league where scoring is glorified Kevin pushes his teammates to be the very best at their role on the team. Also with anticipation of the lockout, Kevin has already notified the his teammates that they need to meet him in Houston to start training for the upcoming season whenever it may start. All he wants is to get better and make those around him better too.

Kevin with all of his accomplishments has remained just as humble as he was when first entering the league. The only thing that he cares about is winning and remaining loyal to the ones that helped him reach the platform that he is on. The reason he continues to get better is because he has an understanding that he does not know everything about the game of basketball and is willing to learn. As he continues to learn along with his work ethic, his potential is through the roof.