In my training, I focus a lot on teaching players the fundamental concepts of body awareness. I’m big on body composition - how you use your body to control the ball - rather than always focusing on hand or footwork. I focus a lot on lower body strength, hip flexibility, and body mechanics.
I teach players about controlling your body, and the ball happens to come along with that. If I feel like a player’s feet and body are reacting well to my drills and concepts, then I can challenge them. If they can’t get down the footwork concepts, then they will have trouble advancing forward. So that’s why I have beginner to advanced level classes that teach those dynamics. If a player can’t lunge or lean correctly, it’s going to be hard for them to do moves at an advanced pace.
I start most workouts with 10-15 minutes of limited footwork. What I mean by limited footwork is small spaces using different mechanisms with your body and changing your positioning and footwork patterns. So it’s more of a speed and agility session with the ball. And then it goes into changing different heights of your body, the speed of your feet, and the speed of the ball.
I often do an hour of all ballhandling with no shots. Players need to understand they won’t get shots in games if they can’t move correctly. It gets them understanding the when, why, and how they are doing things.
For example, I will have a player in a stationary stance, teaching them body concepts without moving their feet. We focus on getting them a wide strong base, getting them into a squat position so they can feel that discomfort in their hips from being low for a long period of time. Once their body gets accustomed to that, they will be able to play defense for a longer period of time in that stance.
I try to have 95-100% on-task activity for a workout session. I don’t like any wasted time. If a player isn’t challenged throughout the session, they drift mentally, they drift physically, and they aren’t engaged. If they aren’t engaged in practice, they won’t be engaged in a game, and they will make mental mistakes.
To make sure my trainees don’t get bored, I change the concept and theme of every session I run. I never duplicate a workout. I think that’s why kids like coming here: there’s never a flat workout, they’re never getting anything twice in a row. There’s always something new.
If a player doesn’t respond to my information, I need to make changes. It’s all about the response I’m getting from the player. I read the eye contact, body language, and dialogue I have with the player. Based on the theme we are working on, I react to how the player is handling the instructions.
As a trainer you need to have people skills – you need to know your players. The environment of the session is very important. It needs to be positive, constructive, and cooperative as well.