Monday, December 19, 2011

The 3 Parts to Becoming a Great Shooter

Posted by Lee Miller | Monday, December 19, 2011 | Category: | 0 comments

As a shooting instructor, I get asked the same question weekly, if not daily. How do I shoot the basketball better?  The answer may shock you.   There are three significant parts to becoming a great shooter.  The number one part and most importantly, is you have to shoot the basketball the correct way.  Shooting is an art, just like the stroke of a paintbrush; there IS a right way to shoot the basketball.  Players (and coaches) struggle with making changes to a player’s shot.  Until you prepare and shoot the ball the correct way, you will always get the same results.  Does this mean everyone has the exact same shot, absolutely not! The great shooters all posses’ four (4) things:  great footwork, great hand placement, the correct body posture, and a great follow-thru.  Simply, they are PREPARED to shoot the basketball before they even receive it.   As you go through the levels of competition from elementary school to high school, your preparation to shoot the basketball will determine your ability to get good shots off in the games. 

Once you are shooting the basketball the correct way, the second part of becoming a great shooter is to simply shoot more shots than any other player.  Muscle memory and repetition are very important elements in shooting the basketball. The main question is:  How hard are you willing to work to become a great shooter?  How much time are you willing to devote?    Shooting is the most practiced part of the game, yet players struggle with putting the ball in the basket.  When practicing, start off shooting the ball the correct way, at close range.  Build the comfort level and build your confidence while seeing the ball in the basket over and over.   Once you are committed to shooting the ball the right way, and committed to working hard, you will “graduate” to the next level of practicing or working out.

The third, and last part of becoming a great shooter, is to practice at game speed.   Game speed cutting, game speed footwork, game speed shots in rhythm.   Have you ever been to a game and seen a player in warm-ups that couldn’t miss?  Once the game starts, that player either doesn’t play or he/she can’t make shots.  The main reason is the pace of the game.  If you do not practice at game speed, how to do expect to make shots at game speed?   Players tend to “rush” their footwork and their shot, and they are never in rhythm.    As I stated above, preparation is key to getting game shots off.  As an offensive player, you will have the ball in your hands no more than 25% of the time in the game.  However, you will use your footwork 100% of the time to get open, and to square up to the basket with proper footwork and pivoting skills to shoot the basketball.  It only makes sense to practice your footwork daily if you use it the ENTIRE GAME, right?

If you want different results than what you are getting now, you must be open to change and correction.  Second, there is no substitute for hard work and shooting the basketball hundreds of times daily.  None, I promise I would have found them already.  Last, but not least, challenge yourself to get better daily.  Challenge (push yourself) to work-out at game speed.  If you’re not seeing mistakes in your work-outs, you probably aren’t challenging yourself enough.  As I tell the players I train, “I don’t want to see what you can do; I want to see you get better”. 

James Lee
South Carolina Director
Elite Hoops/NIKE Basketball Camps
"Release Your Potential"

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Right to Lead

Posted by Lee Miller | Monday, December 12, 2011 | Category: , , | 0 comments

The Right to Lead by Drew Maddux with thoughts taken from John Maxwell

It certainly isn’t gained by election or appointment.  Having position, title, rank, or degrees doesn’t qualify anyone to lead other people.  And the ability doesn't come automatically from age or experience either.  No, it would be accurate to say   that no one can be given the right to lead.  The right to lead can only be earned.  And that takes time.  Leadership emerges.

The Kind of Leader Others Want to Follow
The key to becoming an effective leader is not to focus on making other people follow, but on making you the kind of   person they want to follow.  You must become someone others can trust to take them where they want to go. As you prepare yourself to become a better leader, use the following guidelines to help you grow:  

1.  Let go of your ego.  
The truly great leaders are not in leadership for personal gain. They lead in order to serve other people.  Perhaps that is why Lawrence D. Bell remarked,  "Show me a man who cannot bother to do little things, and I’ll show you a man who cannot be trusted to do big things.

2.  Become a good follower first.  (We are going to take orders our entire life)  
Rare is the effective leader who didn't learn to become a good follower first. That is why a leadership institution such as the United States Military Academy teaches its officers to become effective followers first and why West Point has produced more leaders than the Harvard Business School.    
3.  Build positive relationships.  
Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. That means it is by nature relational. Today's generation of leaders seem particularly aware of this because title and position mean so little to them. They know intuitively that people go along with people they get along with.    

4.  Work with excellence.  
No one respects and follows mediocrity.  Leaders who earn the   right to lead give their all to what they do. They bring into play not   only their skills and talents, but also great passion and hard work.  They perform on the highest level of which they are capable.  

You need to meet someone who expects greatness from you.

5.  Rely on discipline, not emotion.  
Leadership is often easy during the good times.  It’s when everything seems to be against you when you’re out of energy, and you don’t want to lead that you earn your place as a leader.   During every season of life, leaders face crucial moments when they must choose between gearing up and giving up. To make it through those times, rely on the rock of discipline, not the shifting sand of emotion.  
6.  Make adding value your goal.    
When you look at the leaders whose names are revered long after they have finished leading, you find that they were men and women who helped people to live better lives and reach their potential.  That is the highest calling of leadership and its highest value.  

7.  Give your power away.  
One of the ironies of leadership is that you become a better leader by sharing whatever power you have, not by saving it all for yourself.  You’re meant to be a river, not a reservoir.  If you use your power to empower others, your leadership will extend far beyond your grasp.    
Human Needs: 1. Live 2. Love 3. Learn 4. Leave a Legacy

“The followers who looked to these leaders learned from them, and so can we.  As you explore their worlds and words, remember that it takes time to become worthy of followers.  Leadership isn’t learned or earned in a moment.” -John Maxwell

Drew Maddux
Tennessee Director
Elite Hoops/NIKE Basketball Camps
"Release Your Potential"

Monday, December 5, 2011

The 4 Keys to Improving Your Game

Posted by Lee Miller | Monday, December 5, 2011 | Category: , , , , , , | 0 comments

I hear coaches all the time telling their players to go game speed.  I think a lot of players get confused by this statement and just go faster, which sometimes isn’t true to game conditions.  Instead, I tell players to put PRESSURE on themselves.  By training players to put pressure on themselves when they perform drills they have a much greater chance of making the shot, beating their man off the dribble or making the perfect pass in the actual game.  There are 4 ways to put pressure on yourself to improve your game. I think you need to use at least 2 of these in any drill to make yourself better

Time: Whether you put :30 on the clock to see how many Flip Flops you can perform or seeing if you can make 4 shots in :20 in our Kobe/Hopla Drill, time is a great source of Pressure that makes any drill game like.  Why do you think buzzer beaters are so rare-because of the pressure of the clock.

Number of Reps/Makes: I never like players to say they are going to shoot a number of shots. I prefer them to set a goal how many shots they will MAKE.  A few blog posts ago, I talked about how Kobe Bryant MADE 100,000 shots during the summer of 2007.  Not only should you track made shots, but also number of sideline sprints in a given amount of time, or maybe number of jump ropes in :30 or even how many times you can make the figure 8 in :30.  The number of reps is like the grade your teacher gives you on a test.  If you get an 80 on the first test, it would be great to get 100 on the next test, but even getting an 81 shows improvement and that’s why we LOVE to track the number of reps/makes.  When players see these numbers increase it makes them feel great about the work they have accomplished and when the see their hard work is paying off they tend to get in the gym more and become even better players.

Punishment: Miss a shot in the game and your coach may pull you out or maybe you even lose the game if it’s a last second shot.  In a different scenario, you let a defender go by you and score a layup. Again, your coach may pull you out or you might have just given up the game winning layup. Either way you feel some sort of punishment if something like this happens. How do we replicate punishment in our drills? Simple-We add some form of punishment.  It doesn’t have to be a major punishment, but if a player doesn’t reach their minimum baseline number or target number in one of our Living by Numbers drills, we have them do a basketball pushup, basketball burpee, or maybe even a sprint.  Something quick and short, but enough of a punishment to make them feel game like pressure.

Defense: Making an uncontested layup is pretty easy and most of the players we work with can make the shot 99% of the time. Now imagine you just stole the ball with 6 seconds left, you have to go full court, no one is in front of you, and LeBron James is chasing you down from behind. A little different, huh? Adding defense to a drill makes a HUGE difference. One of our favorite drills with defense is the Trailblazer Drill. In this drill, not only do players have 6 seconds (Time), they have to make the shot (Reps), if they miss they have a basketball pushup (Punishment) and lastly a defender is chasing them (Defense). 

If you can make the majority of the drills you perform have at least 2 of the forms of Pressure listed above you will become a much better player than if you perform the drills without them. I heard my high school coach once correct the phrase “practice makes perfect” to “perfect practice makes perfect.” I’ll take it a step further, “Pressured perfect practice makes perfect.”

In the spring of 2012, Elite Hoops will be rolling out its new Living by Numbers program.  Players of all age and skill levels will be able to create their own account on our site, track their progress in a variety of drills, see how they compare against players their own age and also upload videos of their own accomplishments. Players and Records that have been broken and videotaped at an Elite Hoops event will be VERIFIED accounts whereas players and records that are not performed at an Elite Hoops event will be UNVERIFIED.  So make sure to contact us today and see how you, your team or your whole league can be LIVING by NUMBERS.

Lee Miller
Elite Hoops/NIKE Basketball Camps
"Release Your Potential"