Misconceptions About Skill Development

Skill development is a big thing now. Go on Google and type in basketball skill development and you will find several coaches and businesses that specialize in skill development. You have different types of skill coaches. You have the coaches that are in your face and intense and then you have the coaches that are more laid back. Whatever type of coach you are or coach you train with they all have the same goal of making players better.

In this blog I will discuss some misconceptions out there about skill development. Now, understand that any type of skill development can lead to some type of improvement. These thoughts are based on what works for me and my program. You may not agree, but that's ok. Because if we all thought alike then the game wouldn't evolve.

  1. Go game speed on all drills. You hear it all the time. Coaches from all over the world have told players to go game speed to get the most out of the drill. This is true to a certain degree. If I'm working with a player that has never performed the drill or have not learned the technique properly then I don't have them go full speed. Players must slow down and learn the footwork or the skill before they go full speed. I want the player to be able to execute the move without having to think about what they are doing. Once they get to that stage then we go into full speed. If they are taught correctly and they spend time on their own perfecting the skill or technique, the learning curve will be shortened and they will be going full speed in no time.

  2. Learning a bunch of moves will get you better. I see this one all the time. Learn the newest Steph Curry move or the Derrick Rose crossover. If you are going to teach those 1 on 1 moves why not teach the DeAndre Jordan rebound move. I mean DeAndre Jordan is averaging a league leading 14.8 rebounds a game (when this article was written). I know why skill coaches like to use names of NBA players, because it engages the players. At the same time, if you are only teaching 1 on 1 moves from some of the best athletes in the world then you are not doing your job as a skill development coach. I say keep it simple and teach the skills players will most likely use in a game.

  3. You must do at least 20 minutes of ball handling drills every workout. This is a lot of ball handling to do in a 60 minute workout. I believe a few minutes of stationary work and a few minutes of ball handling on the move will suffice. When I work with players they have the ball in their hands a lot so they get additional ball handling work in other ways. If it's a small group then they will get time handling the ball against a live defender. To me there is no substitute for handling the ball vs a live defender.

  4. It's good to participate in large group workouts. I've seen and heard about skill coaches conducting workouts with a large number of players. I'm not talking about a skill coach being hired to work with a team or hosting a camp. I'm talking about skill workouts that take place on a regular basis with 12 to 15 players and only 1 coach. This can hurt the individual because they lose the ability to get some 1 on 1 attention. The key to good skill development is constant feedback. If the player or players cannot get feedback then how do they know they are improving or doing a skill correctly? With a group of 12 to 15 players there should at least be 2 coaches, 3 would be ideal. This also depends on your goals and skill level. When you have large groups with multiple skill levels and only 1 coach someone will suffer. Either the less skilled players will get the attention and the advanced players will suffer or the advanced skilled players will get the attention and the less skilled players will suffer.

These are some misconceptions that I believe people think you must have to get in a good skill development workout. Remember these tips are based the individual's skill level and goal. 

If you have any questions or comments about this article please leave them below or send an email to coachtj@nbnbball.com