By Don Kelbick


This will probably be the last entry of this summer’s training season. Most of the players are at their training camp, some seasons have actually started. Right now we are down to Raja Bell and Rob Hite. Raja leaves for Utah on Sunday. I am going to continue to work with Rob until he signs somewhere.

Rob is someone I had as a rookie. He is a graduate of University of Miami (2006) and played for the Miami Heat as an undrafted free agent. He is a hard worker and made the roster out of nowhere. After a year with the Heat, he played a bit for the Nets. Last year he was invited to training camp with the Spurs but broke his hand and could not go. He has played the rest of those seasons in Europe and has been pretty productive. Sometime soon he will be back in somebody’s camp.

Rob and Raja make good workout partners because they both work on the same things. Rob is about 6-2 and is an “other worldly” athlete, even by NBA standards, and a very good long range shooter. He has a major ball handling weakness which is probably the reason he is struggling to stay in the league. His shooting at times is very streaky, when he is good, he is really good, when he is bad, he misses horribly. I attribute that to an inconsistent rhythm when he shoots. In one drill I counted 8 different types of footwork in 1 twenty-shot drill. It is tough to be consistent that way.

To stick in the NBA, you don’t have to be good at everything.  When you are young, just find one thing that your team needs and hang your hat on it. Raja did it with defense and grew to be a reliable scorer. Rob has yet to find his niche. I think he should either strive to be a defensive stopper or be another Eddie House, instant offense. On days you’re good – you play, if not – you don’t.

We have cut back on the days we work out but have upped the intensity. We strive for 400 shots per day, per player. There is a lot of ball handling into shots and a quite a bit of aerobic work as we create a lot of shots off the run. To combine both aspects, there is a premium on getting the ball on the move and making 2-dribble moves.

It has been a very good workout season. With the occasional college player that we have thrown in, I think we have helped a dozen players.

I hope they all have great years.

To view coaching products from Don Kelbick, go to Don Kelbick Products.

For more information on Don Kelbick, go to www.DonKelbickBasketball.com.

2010 Summer Workout Season – Part 3

By Don Kelbick

Tuesday August 24, 2010

It’s funny how things go. Most of the summer I have been pretty busy. Every day at least 2 groups kept me busy from 8 in the morning until at least noon, non-stop.

Now it is time to play. Anthony King has left for Cyprus, Jonathan Rodriguez left for the Dominican Republic, Guillermo Diaz has left to play for Puerto Rico in the World Championships and then will go on to Italy. Others have left to other parts of the world. I am left with 2 guys, Raja Bell and Keenan Browder. That’s ok, because now we can really concentrate on specific needs.

We have transitioned from volume shooting to more specific techniques. We still take a lot of shots but we have moved on to things such as reading screens, spot up shots off penetration, reading defenders in the post, etc. Most of the trigger movements come out of Raja’s role in Utah’s offense.

Keenan has some significant minor league professional experience and we are trying to make a higher level opportunity for him. He has really benefited from Raja’s experience and advice. He can really shoot the ball and hopefully we can add enough to his game to get him a chance.

Another player who is off to play is Ralfy Portuando. I don’t write about him because he is not a professional. But, he is the person whom I am most proud of. Ralfy came to me as a 15 -year old part time HS player. He is the definition of a gym rat. Every day he would call and ask if we could work out. We would do a 6 am workout before he went to school. His work ethic earned him a spot as a dedicated workout partner for Raja and Rasual Butler. Imagine a HS player who didn’t get much playing time turning into a mandatory piece in a workout plan for NBA players. They just would not work out without him.

He must have paid attention. He went on to play a year in Junior College and now, he is on the way to play at Florida State. The kid who did not know what to do to get himself playing time in HS has worked his way into playing in the top conference in college, the ACC.

Pretty special kid.

To view coaching products from Don Kelbick, go to Don Kelbick Products.

For more information on Don Kelbick, go to www.DonKelbickBasketball.com.

2010 Summer Workout Season – Part 2

By Don Kelbick

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Workouts are going well. This week we were greeted with some good news.

Anthony King, who was selected as MVP of his league in Cyprus, has resigned in Cyprus. After spending some time this summer with the Heat and hoping for an NBA break, he decided to accept an offer that doubles his salary. Anthony is now the highest paid player in the league.

Denis Clemente, who spent time this summer with the Charlotte Bobcats and played summer league for them, has signed a 2 year contract with Maccabi Rishon in Israel.

Workouts are going in 2 groups. My emphasis on footwork and the way the workouts are structured, allow me to work with players of different positions and ability levels at the same time. Jonathon Rodriguez has been working on increasing his arc and his footwork. He seems to be coming along. He has much better rhythm in his shot, due to the footwork and the increased arc has allowed him to stretch his range. Whether he can do it in competition remains to be seen. When confronted by stress, we invariably revert to what is comfortable for us. He needs a lot more repetitions to ingrain the changes he has made.

Anthony King is a great example of that. He has increased his range a good 5 feet and is now comfortable a big step behind the 3 point circle. His footwork has been solid since we started working 3 years ago, and now, I no longer have to say anything to him regarding the height of his shots. The results have been impressive.

Raja Bell continues to work to recapture his playing form. In the past, he has come with a shopping list of things he wants to improve. But, after missing almost the entire season last year, he feels that he needs to recapture his intensity and conditioning. Workouts that in the past covered specific things are now more universal, combining a number of skills at once. And every drill involves a cardio aspect to challenge his conditioning.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Workouts are significantly more intense and challenging than they were just a couple of weeks ago. Players need to be rounding into better shape now so there are more repetitions and less breaks during the course of the workouts. They are not longer workouts (I try to keep them under an hour and 15 minutes) but there is much more work in each one. Training camp for European players starts much earlier than here in the States. Anthony King leaves Sunday for Cyprus, Guiilermo Diaz leaves for Italy on August 23.

Guillermo Diaz is recovering from a deeply pulled groin muscle that hampered him in Italy and in the tail end of his Puerto Rican season. He is just now returning to form. He has played in the NBA with the Clippers and the Bobcats but feels he can carve out a great career in Italy, so instead of trying to catch on with another team, he is committed to becoming an Italian favorite. Always a great shooter, if he can stay healthy, he will become that.

Jonathon Rodriguez continues to come along. Corrections have become less and less in regard to his footwork and shot. I am now concentrating on trying to have him become more efficient but moving in straight lines and eliminating any drift in his shot. Slowly but surely, he is stretching his range, which he must do to have success at the next level.

I have begun to introduce some competitive work into the workouts with the second group. I don’t usually do that. Because Raja Bell missed most of last year, he wants to work on his instincts and recognition. So, we play some 2 on 2, starting with some type of pro action (zipper cut, ball screen, etc.) and play a few games. After that, we do a lot of pure shot repetitions. Before we play, the work is very heavily cardio intensive. Before we play, within about 40 minutes, we try to get about 250 shots per player with a 3 man group. Afterwards, we try to get in about 100 shots more.

Carlos Arroyo is once again in Puerto Rico training with the National Team as team captain. They will be playing in the World Championships in Turkey at the end of August

To view coaching products from Don Kelbick, go to Don Kelbick Products.

For more information on Don Kelbick, go to www.DonKelbickBasketball.com.