I hope everyone is doing well and staying smart during this interesting time of life. It is amazing how abrupt the change on so many levels. From a personal standpoint, being forced to stay put has forced me to enjoy more time than ever to connect as a family and to reconnect on some big picture items. Personally and on the work front with Rowan and Crispin Basketball, I have been able to give a great deal of time and thought to things that are often pushed to the peripheral.

I have also seen our kids do the same. All the sudden there is this great deal of time that is placed into their laps. No more appointments, not even with School, but instead, margin. Space. A void. All of which they have the opportunity to fill.

From a creative standpoint, it can be a great gift to give to our kids (and one we rarely seem to want to give). For when there is a gap, there is naturally room to fill that gap. As parents and coaches, the tendency nowadays is to fill that gap ourselves. Don’t allow the player or child to fill it, because they won’t fill it well. Or so we think.

Oftentimes we are right, but this doesn’t mean we should fill it anyway. For the only want to learn how to fill it well is to fill it poorly (just like we did)! This break in the action of life is a great chance to learn how to fill that gap from a developmental perspective. As it relates to our kids developing in the game of basketball, here’s some guidance on giving good guidance.

I love the break we have in our daily grind of a schedule. It enables kids to become creative with their play, their time, and their development. Depending upon their age, they can do more or less with this time. But let’s start with middle school and high school and assume a kid wants to get better. What are some principles to guide them (and to guide you as you guide them)?

First, make a short list of what you want to improve upon.

Simple right? But so often neglected. What we tend to do is to make our own short list and to give it to our players and children. But this is mistake, because it fails to empower. It fails to give them the opportunity to own their own development. And this ownership is a 1000 times more important than we think. For if we own it, we will benefit more from it. We will work harder during it. We will last longer as well. So let them make the short list.

Second, find creative and consistent ways to work on the short list.

Let’s say the short list involves ball-handling, with a particular emphasize on double-moves (between-the-legs into immediate crossover for example). There are apps to use and YouTube videos. You can find creative ways to work in the driveway or the basement or wherever. Make a chart. Make a list. Do it your way. And find a way to do so consistently. For if you own it and are consistent and creative with it, you will improve much more efficiency. You will probably surprise yourselves.

Third, do not neglect the general or the big picture.

In your desire to improve, the specific is essential. I never worked with a trainer during my time as a player, but one thing I got right is that I always had a few specific things I wanted to master. And I didn’t move on to other things until I mastered those few things. But at the same time, I didn’t neglect everything else either. I did plenty of ‘general’ work. And, most importantly, plenty of play!

Beware of creating an unnecessary grind! This grind often comes from adult-directed workouts, but it can also flow from the individual himself or herself. Keep connecting the game in general. Play 1-on-1. Have fun with shooting games. Watch some old videos from a few years ago, so that you can see how much you have improved! Be sure to connect to the game on the emotional level. For although it’s improvement time, it’s always connection time as well. Connection with the game and with others (at least in your house!).

I’ll be posting some ideas here as the days/weeks more ahead. But that’s a good start. Enjoy the time! And enjoy the game together!

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