Newsletter 108 – 4 High-Caliber Plays From the 2014 NBA Finals Between The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs

By Joe Haefner

Attack The Lane With The Spurs Wheel Set

During the 2014 NBA Finals, the San Antonio Spurs were able get in the paint at will against the Miami Heat. This “Wheel” Set is designed to give your point guard a…

The Miami Heat’s “Ray Allen” Set

The defense is put in a no-win situation: either allow Ray Allen to get an outside shot or allow LeBron James to get an open driving lane. Neither situation bodes well for the opposing defense…

The San Antonio Spurs’ “Gate” Set

The San Antonio Spurs beat the Miami Heat in the 2014 NBA Finals due to their spectacular ball movement and phenomenal spacing. This play is an example of how the Spurs move the ball to get open shots…

Get A Wide Open Shot With The Spurs’ “Hammer” Set

The San Antonio Spurs have a signature play to get their best shooters wide open shots. It is called the hammer play because the post player sets a “hammer” backscreen for the shooter…

New Article: 3 Competitive 1-on-1 Basketball Drills To Improve Game Play

By Joe Haefner

Check out this new article that has 3 competitive 1-on-1 basketball drills. These are great for workouts and practices.

These drills are way better than your traditional 1-on-1 games played at the park. These games will actually make you better.

Should Youth Specialize In Sports?

By Joe Haefner

Specialization in youth sports is a common issue that many parents and coaches face today.

You certainly want what is best for your child. You’re also afraid that if you don’t specialize with your child, they will get left behind.

There are probably hundreds of questions circling your mind?

  • Will specialization give my child an advantage?
  • Will specialization cause burnout?
  • Does specialization help my child develop as an athlete? Or are there other options?
  • What sports should my child specialize in? Are there any?
  • At what age should specialization occur? 3rd Grade? 7th Grade? High School? College? Never?
  • Will this affect them in a positive or negative away emotionally as child and an adult?
  • How do I know if my child wants to specialize?
  • What if my child wants to specialize now? Will they burnout later?
  • Does specialization cause more injuries?
  • Socially, will it hurt my child if they don’t specialize?
  • What if specialization keeps my child out of trouble?
  • What is going spark motivation in my child to excel at sports?

I recently came across a research paper that does a very good job of citing studies and addressing many concerns regarding specializing.

If you’re serious about a healthy, physical and emotional development of your child, this is a must-read. There is only 4 pages of reading.


Here are a few key points in the article:

In “Adult Peak” (late specialization) sports (e.g., baseball, basketball, and track and field), specialization in childhood is not an essential antecedent for exceptional sport performance as an adult.(Hill, 1993)

For clarification, baseball, basketball, and track and field are not the only adult peak sports. They are just examples.

Little research exists to document the physiological effects of highly specialized, sport-specific training compared with diversified sport training. Considering the research that does exist, there is little direct evidence to suggest the endocrine, muscular, nervous, and cardiovascular systems benefit from early specialization. (Kaleth & Mikesky, 2010)

When athletes specialize, they may be more susceptible to specific overuse injuries. Excessive stress on ligaments and joints can result in long-term, and perhaps permanent, damage in children and adolescents (Baker, Cobley, & Fraser-Thomas, 2009).

Evidence suggest specializers experience higher levels of emotional exhaustion (Stracchan, Cote, & Deakin, 2009). Emotional exhaustion is reported to be a subcomponent of athlete burnout (Gould, 2010).

Also, I am biased on this topic, so please read the paper to make your own conclusion.

The bottom line is… what is best for your child emotionally, physically, and socially… Every situation is different and you need to make the best, educated decision that you can.

What are your thoughts and experiences?

Internationally Acclaimed Basketball Documentary – I Am Marvin Clark

By Joe Haefner

Coach Mac recently posted a great article The 35 Best Basketball Documentaries Ever on his coaching blog.

This motivated us to post about an inspiring, must-watch documentary that is close to Breakthrough Basketball and is still relatively unknown to the public.

The National Award-Winning and Internationally Acclaimed Basketball Documentary – I Am Marvin Clark shows what an organization (Mokan Elite), with the right approach to helping kids, can do for an individual like Marvin Clark.

Marvin survived extremely difficult circumstances and defeated the tremendous odds against him to excel on the court as a basketball player.  He also earned a basketball scholarship to Michigan State University.

Marvin is not only a great basketball player.  Those close to Marvin will also rave about his character.

You will also see Breakthrough’s very own Jim Huber and Troy Slavin involved in the documentary. You’ll see Jim coaching Marvin throughout the video.  You’ll hear the superb job Troy did with the narration.

Jim is the Director of Coach Development and a Camp Director for Breakthrough’s Youth Basketball Camps and Elite Guard Basketball Camps.

Troy Slavin is a Camp Director for our Kansas City Basketball Camps and is Creative Director for many aspects of Breakthrough Basketball.

It’s nice to see good things happen for good kids who deserve a shot at life.

Check out the great video!