Figure 8 Basketball Drill [Training Video]

This is a beginner drill designed to improve hand speed and coordination. Focus on getting the ball low and changing hands fast. This drill is one you can always do – regardless of skill level – to improve your ball handling skills.

Do you have the 94Fifty? Challenge yourself in Workout or friendly Head to Head competition with someone. Beating your personal best – or a parent/sibling/teammate – is something to brag about!

The Importance of Coordination

Coordination with the 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball and app is how well your mind can process many things on the court. The video above gives you a brief overview explaining why coordination is important to becoming a great ball handler.

With basketball, you have to think about the ball, a defender, what your teammates are doing beyond that defender and maintaining good coordination through all of these things. Check out the Workouts in the 94Fifty app to strengthen your coordination.

How to Improve Wrist Strength and Increase Hand Speed [Training Video]

Learn how to improve your wrist strength and increase hand speed. Once you understand why hand speed is important, you will be on your way to become a great ball handler.

Practice these skills with the 94Fifty Basketball and app within Workout. Continue to level up and your hand speed will improve!

Learning from the Best

The Best Bullseye

I have been fortunate to spend a great deal of time with some outstanding high school and college basketball coaches across the country. One of these coaches include Dr. Jim Burson, who recorded over 540 wins while coaching at Muskingum University in Ohio for 38 years.

Coach Burson’s teams were known to have extremely skilled fundamental players and were difficult to beat by anyone. He also taught his son Jay how to play. Jay was only 6’0 tall and maybe 155 pounds in college, but scored nearly 3,000 points in high school, was an all big-ten guard at Ohio State, and would have played in the pros were it not for a career ending neck injury he suffered with just 10 games left in his senior season.

Another great coach I have been able to learn from is John Miller, the former coach at Blackhawk High School in Chippewa, PA. Coach Miller recorded 630 wins in his career and 4 Pensylvania state championships, numerous coach of the year honors, and at one point had a 111 game conference winning streak. Wow.

Like Dr. Burson, Coach Miller’s three children were also outstanding high school and college players, one who played point guard at Pitt, another at North Carolina State, and another who at 5’3, was the Pennsylvania player of the year her senior year. Coach Miller has produced over 40 players who have played at the college level.

Finally there is Coach Carl Kremer, current head coach at Archbishop Moeller high school in Cincinnati, Ohio. Coach Kremer has won 3 state titles in Ohio and has also won numerous awards in Cincinnati and Ohio for his coaching success. Coach Kremer has also produced numerous college level players and his teams are known for, you guessed it, being highly skilled and fundamentally sound.

Do you see the recurring theme here? Fundamentals are key to a winning program, and successful players. Focus on the fundamentals as a player, and a coach, and be prepared for success!

The Jr. High Curse for Advanced Players

No Handle Fix It Now

I’ve had some interesting conversations with various town and league directors about their programs. A recurring theme is that these towns all have a few very advanced Jr. High players in their system. When I ask what advanced means, I get a combination of two answers: 1) We have a couple of “big” kids that pose matchup problems or 2) we have some good athletes whose skills are advanced for 7th/8th graders.  The sentence usually ends with ” and we win most of our games by a significant margin, so we worry that our kids won’t continue to improve”

There is good reason to worry. The Jr. High Curse is right in front of you. The problem with judging most talent at this level is the disparity in growth rates and development rates for young athletes, both boys and girls. Kids that start to grow early can dominate at this level by sheer size or athleticism. BUT, if there skills are not being developed, they can quickly become irrelevant to the program by their sophomore year when everyone else has caught up. It’s a curse, because its hard to communicate with kids at this age – 8th graders in particular have a tendency to not listen.

This is where objective measurement can be of enormous value. It is our strong belief that every player at this level, EVERY player, be treated as if they will play guard in high school. Even if you have an 8th grade boy who is 6’3″ or 6’4″. The reason is simple. If they never grow another inch – they will still be very good or great players in your system at their current height. If they continue to grow, you will have a special player in your system that will be extremely versatile. Every player needs to develop their ball handling skills. Period.

So the trick is communicating this to coaches, parents and the players. It’s not easy. But think how powerful it would be if you could focus their attention on improving their greatest weaknesses? What if…..without giving you a sales pitch, I think you know our answer to this question.

We know this works, just look at the European system as an example. The number of Europeans entering the NBA has quintupled in the past 15 years. Most European programs make every player, regardless of height, work on their ball handling starting very early. It shows.

Whatever system you use to motivate players – make it your town’s mission to develop all youth talent as if they will play the guard position. Food for thought.

Compelling Michael Jordan Hall of Fame Induction

The Ball Don_t Lie

During Michael Jordan’s induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame, he made a comment that every basketball player, perhaps every athlete, should really consider. He commented that as a young player and as a professional, even after he had won multiple championships at the NBA level, he always worked on his game. He always found ways to improve.

This is the guy who was THE top player in the world, without exception. Yet he still had the drive to improve. His lesson to the rest of the basketball world, obviously, is that every player, even the most elite, should find and work on their weaknesses. Every player has them.

If you think you are a great ball handler, we can virtually guarantee you that there are better ball handlers out there. We find them all the time. If you think you are a great shooter, there is someone right now taking those extra 200 shots a day.

What Michael Jordan said is simple. Never be satisfied. Find new goals for your game. Especially, probably most importantly, when you think you are at the top.

Very compelling.