Here is a personal story about a player who made a tremendous transformation. At first, it was doubtful that this player would even play high school varsity basketball. However, he did that and even ended up earning a college scholarship!
You're going to learn how this happened. That way, you can improve the skills, mentality, and decision making of the players that you coach and train!
What prompted this article is a recent question we received...
"In regards to Chris Oliver's Basketball Decision Training System and Don Kelbick's Attack and Counter Skill Development System, do you have a preference over one or the other?"
First off, that's a great question. And this story will help you better understand the approach we used.
I started working with a player named Nick in the 7th grade.
Well, to be frank, Nick wasn't very good. He was small. He wasn't very athletic. And he had an average skill set. At his current pace, he'd struggle to be a varsity high school player.
However, after getting to know Nick's situation, he had two great qualities. He was extremely hard working and coachable.
The next two years, we emphasized Attack & Counter skills and progressions. And his skill development was really good...
Skilled Player Looked Great In Practice But Struggled During Games
He looked great in practices and workouts. However, he really struggled during games! He struggled with assertiveness and with decision making. You might think that the combination of skill sessions and playing on teams would naturally help with this. However, for a number of reasons, it just wasn't.
At that point towards the end of Nick's freshman season, we did two things.
1 - We started using a ton of 1v1, 1v2, 2v1, and 2v2 drills!
If you've been a Breakthrough subscriber for awhile, this probably comes as no surprise to you.
This helps your players learn how to apply their technical skills (shooting, passing, dribbling, footwork) to game situations where they have to attack the defense.
So we invited players to work out with Nick. We invited tall players, quick players, players that were younger, and players that were older. We wanted him to learn how to attack players of all skill levels and sizes.
Since he was naturally timid, we didn't even worry about his choices on offense for about six months. We just emphasized being assertive on every possession and attacking immediately. We did not want to interfere with that process.
The phrase "Attack!" was said about ten thousand times.
The Secret Weapon For Developing Skills and Decision Making... Followed By the Kiss of Doom!
2 - We added Chris Oliver's Basketball Decision Training (BDT) drills to our workout sessions. Also, if you're alone with a player in a gym, these are extremely helpful. And anybody can do them... parent, guardian, coach, trainer, sibling, or friend!
You could definitely see the progress in the assertiveness, confidence, and the quicker decisions being made on the floor. He was actually starting to look like a player in games, not just practices!
However, at the start of Nick's sophomore basketball season, he received the kiss of doom in Kansas City high school basketball!
You see... if you're a sophomore and you're expected to be a major contributor to varsity basketball at some time, the coach almost always puts you on the JV team. However, Nick was placed on the sophomore team!
But it could have been a blessing in disguise. This allowed Nick to progress properly. He was gaining a ton of confidence and had multiple 20 point games. If you knew the Nick from even his freshman season, you would have been shocked!
The coaches even talked about moving him up to Junior Varsity midway through the season, but restrained because they didn't want to push the process. They knew his mentality and decision making needed the most work and they didn't want to hurt his confidence. Looking back, this was probably a really smart move on their part!
At that point, they were probably planning on using him as a JV player his junior season. They were probably hoping that he continued the current progress and turned in a varsity contributor as a senior.
The Big Jump Nobody Saw Coming: Straight to Varsity!
So the next offseason, we did the same thing. We emphasized a lot of Attack & Counter principles, BDT Drills, and 1v1, 1v2, 2v1, and 2v2 drills.
And the progress was amazing. As a junior, he skipped the JV team and went straight to varsity!
The varsity coach even said at the fall basketball league, "Nick, I don't know what the heck you're doing. But keep doing it! To be honest, I didn't think you'd ever play varsity basketball."
Relative to where Nick was last year, he had a great season. He was a main rotation player on the varsity team. He also had some games where he scored double digits against top teams in the state of Kansas. He played in one of the best leagues in the midwest.
However, there were underclassmen who still played more minutes.
Prior to Nick's senior year, I had moved to Florida so I couldn't train Nick anymore. But we were in luck, I knew a trainer named Rustin Dowd. You may have seen Rustin as a camp director at Breakthrough Basketball Camps. Rustin and I talked about what Nick needed to improve and continued down a similar path.
Lightning Struck Twice! All Conference and A College Scholarship!
The next year, Nick made tremendous progress again! He passed everybody on the team, even the underclassmen who played ahead of him. He was the best player on his team. He was all conference and earned a college scholarship to an NAIA school!
Last year, he played for the junior varsity as his college. And the coaches really liked what they saw...
After the season, the coach said it's likely he'll practice and play with the college varsity team!
Just a few years ago, I wasn't sure if he'd even play high school varsity basketball!
And what makes this story even more amazing, and maybe we should have led with this, Nick is just an average person. He's 6 feet tall. He weighs about 160 pounds. He isn't long. He isn't super athletic. He just worked his butt off!
The Skill Development Approach That Led To Nick's College Scholarship!
First and foremost, his hard work and character were the primary reasons he made a tremendous amount of progress! Without that, the training methods don't matter.
But here's the approach we took...
1 - We emphasized Kelbick's Attack & Counter Mentality and Skills especially the footwork and counters.
2 - We incorporated Oliver's Basketball Decision Training (BDT) Drills.
3 - We used a bunch of 1v1, 1v2, 2v2, and 2v2 drills.
And as you may have gathered, this answers the question at the beginning of this email.
"In regards to Chris Oliver's Basketball Decision Training System and Don Kelbick's Attack and Counter Skill Development System, do you have a preference over one or the other?".
My preference is to take bits and pieces of both Kelbick's Attack & Counter System and Oliver's Basketball Decision Training System.
However, you can strictly adhere to Attack & Counter teachings and have success. There are coaches who have done this.
You can strictly adhere to the Basketball Decision Training (BDT) teachings and have a success. There are coaches who have done this.
Like me, you can blend different parts of the systems to develop your own approach.
Want To Use Similar Training Methods To Nick?
You can use the same BDT drills and some great 1v1 drills for your own training with Chris Oliver's Basketball Decision Training video and ebook set. Also...
What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...