New Articles and Plays

By Joe Haefner

We recently released Newsletter 45

Here are some of the new articles:

2 Simple Baseline Out Of Bounds Plays For All Occasions

Can Cross Country Hurt Your Game?

The Biggest Problem In Youth Sports

How Does Crowd Noise Affect Your Team? An Interesting Solution…

Danny Miles Helps Pick Team USA

By Joe Haefner

Danny Miles who is featured in the Value Point System and 6 Daily Drills DVD recently helped Florida’s Billy Donovan, Washington’s Lorenzo Romar and North Carolina’s Roy Williams pick out Team USA for the 19u squad.

Miles served as one of the three court coaches at the recent tryout camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Full Article Here

Attack And Counter Basketball Camps In Chicago and Ironwood Are Great Success!

By Joe Haefner

In July and August, Don Kelbick visited Ironwood, Michigan and Chicago, Illinois to conduct his Attack and Coutner Skill Development camps. The players worked hard, the coaches worked hard, and everybody got a lot better. And the feedback has been great!

Jeff and I were fortunate enough to attend the Chicago camp and were very happy with everything. The facility was great. Don did a great job hosting the camp. And it was great to be able to meet so many people with familiar names via the website.

Due to the favorable response, we have decided to step things up and host more camps. Be on the look out for some of our upcoming camps in future newsletters that we are currently scheduling.

Here are a few of the testimonials we’ve received so far:

Once again, the camp you held in Ironwood was excellent! I am glad there are mentors like you out there to teach kids this game and try to break the bad habits they have acquired. Thank you for that. My son Griffin really enjoyed it and It was fun just watching the kids have a good time.
- Chris Pepin

The Breakthrough Basketball camp was one of the best sports experiences my son has had. The encouraging atmosphere set by Don in the beginning of the camp and the camaraderie among the athletes was great! The skills that the students learned are both practical and easy to recreate at home for further practice. Don is great with the kids; they immediately like and respect him! I would highly recommend this camp to any basketball player as way to improve and to learn some life lessons through sports. Our Athletic Director is interested in bringing Don to our school for some further instruction.
Thanks and blessings, Kristi Ugland

This was the most informative camp that I have ever seen! Don enjoyed teaching these kids and it showed. I learned just as much as the kids did and came away with a whole new practice routine. I wish my entire team could do the camp and my associate and I are going to try to schedule a camp in Marquette county Michigan at some point if at all possible. Don made everything seem so easy and taught the kids not to be afraid to fail. I don’t want to be long winded so I will wind this up. Excellent camp and I would send my son to this again and again if they were in the right areas. Please inform me about any more upcoming camps.
- Cory Hill

I loved everything about the camp.
- Dominica Grmick

Though I was only able to see the Saturday workout, I was impressed how Coach Kelbick kept the campers engaged with demonstration and explanations to why we practice these skills. I think so many times we as coaches have our players perform drills that are meant to improve skill, but if the player doesn’t understand the purpose they just go through the motions and don’t get a lot out of it (Kinda like Algebra…just kidding). Each player saw and understood why these drills were going to make them better and every camper showed tremendous effort to succeed.
- Jason Wild

Just wanted to thank you guys again for the great camp in Libertyville over the weekend with Mr. Kelbick. My son’s footwork became much more fluid by the end of camp that we are excited to see the benefits during the upcoming season. Excellent job with the website as well and continued success!
-Beto Elizondo

Camp was great Don did a great job with the kids. We had four kids there and the one on one drills that they picked up is priceless for a coach. We drill all the time but to here it from a guy like Don that works around the world teaching is awesome.
- Craig Hoffman

Just wanted to thank you guys for bringing in Coach Kelbick, and giving my son and myself an opportunity to become a better player and coach. The attention to foot work at the clinic has provided my son David the foundation to becoming a better all round player. The lessons learned were invaluable, A small price to pay to learn probably the most important thing in the game. Thanks again for setting this up, and thanks to Coah Kelbick for being so Passionate about the most important aspect of the game.
- Patrick Allen

Can Cross Country Hurt Your Game?

By Joe Haefner

I first came across this a little over ten years ago while watching a Steve Alford shooting DVD. He mentioned that basketball players should never run cross country. He said it made you slow and that it didn’t transfer well being in basketball shape. Hence, the old adage “Train slow. Be slow. Train fast. Be fast.”

This certainly is not ground-breaking by any means. Many athletic development experts have been preaching this for years. According to Vern Gambetta, “many training experts and coaches confuse building a training base with developing an aerobic base.” Aerobic base would be referring to the slow, continuous long-distance running.

Now, don’t get me wrong. If you like cross country, by all means, go out for it! This is directed towards the athletes who run cross country to get in shape for basketball season. I believe that your time can be utilized more efficiently.

Rather than going to a 90 minute to 2 hours practice for cross country, I believe it would be better to follow a well-designed program for basketball and athletic development during that same time span. If you went to the gym and worked on your game for 45 minutes to an hour, then spent another 45 minutes to an hour on athletic development, you will be better prepared for basketball season and more efficient with your time compared to attending cross country practice then going to the gym to work on your game afterwards.

What legendary strength coach Al Vermeil has to say about endurance training:

A few years ago, I was listening to an interview from Complete Athlete Development with Strength & Conditioning coach Al Vermeil. Al Vermeil has trained the best football players like Reggie White to the best NBA players like Michael Jordan. He was the strength and conditioning coach for the Chicago Bulls championship teams.

He stated that there was an Italian researcher by the name of Camelo Bosco that studied training of kids from ages 14 to 18. Bosco found a group of kids with the same muscle fiber type. People who have more fast-twitch muscle fiber tend to be more explosive. People with slow-twitch muscle fiber tend to be slower and have better endurance.

Bosco took the young athletes with the same muscle fiber type and split them into two groups. The first group did explosive training through more explosive sports. The second group did more endurance training through endurance-type sports.

After some years of training, he tested both groups in both explosive events and endurance events. The group who trained explosively did everything better than the group who trained endurance. They ran faster. They jumped higher. They even did better in the endurance events, because they were naturally faster and it was easier to train endurance to the athlete who was already fast than it was to train more speed to the athlete who already had endurance.

During the interview, Vermeil also mentioned U.S. runner Jim Ryun. Jim Ryun was the first U.S. miler to break the 4-minute mark. Vermeil said that Jim Ryun was timed around 11 seconds for 100 meter sprint. It’s not Usain Bolt speed, but it’s still very fast. That time will win many events around the U.S. at the high school level. If you watch the world events, you’ll know that the athletes who win the 800 & the mile have fantastic speed. All of those athletes can run sub-50 second 400s.

So even if you were serious about cross country during your teenage years, you may want to avoid excessive long-distance running and train fast.

Well, my kid got stronger and faster running cross country!

If you have a good coach, this is a strong possibility. A good coach will work on speed and power development. As Vern Gambetta said in reference to long distance events, “Very quickly I saw that those who could run forever, but could not run fast were not going to be competitive in races.”

Another possibility is that any training would help. Due to the running, leg strength could have developed and the athlete got faster and quicker because they could apply more force against the ground. However, I still believe that a well-designed plan would be much more beneficial.

What are your thoughts on this?

Can Golfer Rory McIlroy Help Your Basketball Game And Shooting?

By Don Kelbick

I am a big golf fan. Not only do I love to play, but I am always finding lessons in golf that I can use in teaching basketball. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go the other way. I have not found anything in any other aspect of my life that will help me with golf. If you have read anything else that I have written, you will notice there are a lot of golf references. I even recommend the book “Zen Golf” to all of my basketball clients because I believe there is a great carry over in the mental aspects of golf that can help in almost any other situation.

Golf is the ultimate individual mental challenge. Everything about it is counter-intuitive and makes no sense. If you want to make the ball fly further, swing easier, if you want the ball to go higher, strike it on the downswing, etc.

While reading the June 30 issue of Sports Illustrated, I came upon this article, by Brandel Chamblee, about Rory McIlroy. If you are not familiar with McIlroy, he is a 21-year old Irishman who crushed the field while winning the U. S. Open after leading the Master’s for 3 rounds and imploding on the final 18 holes. He is widely considered the next great player in golf.

The story appears below.

“Rory McIlroy’s swing—a combination of perfect positions, tempo and balance—makes comparisons with the great Sam Snead inevitable. Meanwhile, McIlroy’s surrounded by technique-addicted golfers who have been stack-and-tilted, golf-machined and one-planed to death. Rory (below) is dismissed as a natural by those who think that the swing should be more complicated. Teachers who preach a series of static positions over a fluid motion and scoff at the word fundamentals are the root of the problem. Until 30 years ago golf was taught by former Tour players who talked about grip and grip pressure, stance, posture, ball position, tempo, rhythm and the waggle. These are the fundamentals. Recently I read a blog by a teacher who said that I was reaching when I used the word fundamentals, to which I say he is reaching if he doesn’t.

What makes Rory’s swing perfect is not the positions he hits, but an approach that allows him to achieve those positions. His posture is relaxed and poised for athletic movement. By comparison, his fellow competitors look as if they are trying to achieve prescribed angles at address and straining to do so. Rory’s grip is perfect, but the lack of tension is the best element, because it allows him to hinge the club perfectly and unhinge it properly.

Some will use his swing as a model and show their students the positions he gets in and make it a goal to copy the original, but the genius of Rory’s swing is its simplicity. Simplicity that’s born out of fundamentals, which sadly are considered antiquated in today’s world.

Brandel Chamblee is a 15-year PGA Tour vet and Golf Channel analyst.”

Some may read this article and think it is about his swing. That may be, but I see it as about his mentality. It is not the swing, but how he gets to the swing. It is not where he puts his hands, but how his hands work. It is not about where he stands, but how.

How does this help us in basketball? Well, I get hundreds of emails, I read thousands of questions, “Where should my thumb be when I shoot?”; “Should I flick my thumb down or inside?”; “Should my elbow be at a 60 degree angle or 90 degrees?” I see comments such as “The optimal arc for a shot is 137 degrees, strive for that when you shoot,” and “Make sure your knees are directly over your toes and your back is at 90 degrees to your waist when you play defense.”

I don’t believe that is any way to play basketball. When I teach the game, as I have for 30 years and to thousands of players, I have learned that they will figure out what is best for them by themselves. Throw in too much technique, it gets harder, not easier. Too much science in this game of art makes it worse, not better. Computer analysis, hours of film study, statistical analysis does not, in my opinion, make better players.

It is not necessarily what you do that predicates success, but how you do whatever it is you do. Some of the best shooters in history (see Reggie Miller) have shots that look like they have never been on a basketball court. I defy you to teach someone how to shoot like Shawn Marion, but he is an NBA Champion. Give players the idea, the basic concepts and then give them confidence and encouragement, correct don’t criticize and enough repetitions, the players will figure it out. As they figure it out, they will gain confidence and will acquire a relaxed approach to their skills and the game. Once they have that, their enjoyment of playing and their enthusiasm will grow.

As a coach, it is not my job to get players to do what I want them to do. It is not my purpose to get them to fit some type of ideal. It is my intention to try to teach players to enjoy the game and allow them to become the best players they can be.

It remains to be seen how Rory McIlroy’s career will progress. But, if you watch him play, it is easy to understand how he has accomplished so much at such a young age. I believe using the same thoughts and philosophies in basketball can lead to similar results.

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

For more information on Don Kelbick, go to

Drillz and Skillz/Breakthrough Basketball “Attack and Counter” Skills Clinic in the Chicago Area

By Don Kelbick

Drillz and Skillz/Breakthrough Basketball “Attack and Counter” Skillz Clinic in Chicago Area

The Drillz and Skillz/Breakthrough Basketball “Attack and Counter” Skills Clinic held in Libertyville, Il (40 minutes outside of Chicago) is history and was a great success.

Held in the Libertyville Athletic Complex, the clinic welcomed 60 players and at least 2 dozen coaches for the weekend clinic. The Libertyville Athletic Complex is an unbelievable facility. Indoors it houses a fitness center, boxing center, 2 soccer fields, multiple volleyball courts and too many basketball courts to count. We used 12 baskets to work out 60 players.

Friday we started with footwork and looked at it from several different angles. A good 3 hour evening workout that introduced the footwork and the mentality that have worked so well in improving players. The rest of the weekend was spent applying that footwork and mentality to basketball situations.

On Saturday, we worked on shooting, coming off screens and ball screens. Sunday was the day for post drills, fast break drills, ball handling and a few games of 1 on 1. All in all players took between 800-1000 shots for the weekend.

The players were extremely hard workers and were great to work with. Players continue to amaze me. When they give themselves to you, it is incredible how quickly they improve.

Not lost in the shuffle were the coaches. Many of them came to watch  but when I invited them to come on the court and help out, many of them did so. The weekend could not have been a success without them.

I am looking forward to the next clinic.

For more information on Don Kelbick, go to

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Drillz and Skillz/Breakthrough Basketball Skillz Clinic in Ironwood, Mich

By Don Kelbick


Luther Wright H. S. and coach Tom Mott in Ironwood, Michigan hosted a Don Kelbick Drillz and Skillz/Breakthrough Basketball skills clinic on July 22-24.

Over 65 players and coaches attended the intense 3 day workout. Footwork, position play, shooting, fast break were all topics that were covered.

A unique challenge presented itself when the hosting facility provided 2 gyms on different floors. The challenge was not in running the clinic or getting the players from place to place, it was whether I still had the stamina to run up and down 30 stairs at least 2 dozen times each day. I am happy to report I still do.

Ironwood is located at the entrance to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, about 15 miles from Lake Superior. Participants came from as far away as Washington, DC and were treated to nonstop basketball for 3 days.

Participants’ ages ranged from 11-17 and consisted of both girls and boys. One of the unique aspects of the Drillz and Skillz clinics is that it can accommodate such a diversity in participants without sacrificing the ability to teach and learn the game.

For more information on Don Kelbick, visit