My 8-year old Just Reminded Me…

Someone sent me this pic of me coaching my son this weekend and It prompted me to share a thought about criticism and feedback- clearly my 8-year old has got it down …

Taking constructive criticism can (most often will) help you succeed. Sometimes we may not want to ‘hear’ it or we don’t ‘ask’ for it … yet it can give us a new perspective and open our eyes to things we may have overlooked or never considered.

Whether it’s a peer review of our work or a coach sharing how to avoid a defensive double-team on the court ☺️- constructive criticism and feedback can help us grow.

Do you agree?

Fundamentals: Layup Footwork (no basketball)

Ready position to right hand layup, jumpin goff left foot and driving up the knee
Learn the proper fundamental footwork and mechanics for shooting a layup.

Goal: Master the fundamental footwork and mechanics for properly shooting a layup.

What You Do:

  1. Start in the ‘ready’ (triple-threat) position with no basketball.
  2. Right-hand layup: On coach’s signal, take a step with the right foot, then step with the left foot
  3. Drive your right knee up and jump off the left foot, making a shooting motion with your right hand
  4. Repeat until half court, then turn around and come back doing left-hand layup footwork
  5. Left-hand layup: On the coach’s signal, take a step with the left foot, then step with the right foot.
  6. Drive your left knee up and jump off the right foot, making shooting motions with your left hand.
  7. Repeat until baseline
Left hand and right-hand layup footwork.

The One Skill Young Basketball Players Must Have to Become Elite

“Coachabilty describes someone who wants to be coached. This manifests itself as someone who likes being challenged, loves learning, strives for more and more and then works tirelessly at what they’re taught.” – Coach Geno Auriemma

Yeah, I get it. When it comes to basketball we all want our child to be the highest jumper, the quickest and best athlete on the floor. After all, if our kids are going to make their middle-school team, that AAU select team, or start on Varsity at the local high school- they gotta be the best…right?

Here’s a little secret- While all those physical attributes (quickness, agility, strength) are advantages to excelling in basketball- there’s one aspect of the game that young basketball players must embrace to become elite.


Being coachable and being teachable go hand in hand. Go ahead and let that sink in. Coaches are teachers and players are students- basketball is the subject. As a coach/teacher we want to feel that our player/students care about what we say.

Coach Jenkins Tip: Parents. Please let the coach ….’coach.’

How do You Know if Your Athlete is Coachable?

There are three main traits that a player needs to possess to be considered coachable:

  • HUMILITY A player that has humility accepts and admits that there are things they do not know, and cannot do, within the sport of basketball. Further, the player is willing to concede when they cannot accomplish a certain task alone and are willing to allow the coach to help
  • SENSE OF PURPOSE A player who is willing to state their goals and demonstrate their motivation will typically be easier to reach through coaching.
  • FAITH Improvement or non-improvement as a player can only be determined after the player has been through the experience with you as the coach. A player that puts faith in you is forgoing the benefit of hindsight, understanding that sometimes things need to get worse before they get better. At the same time that you are seeking or imparting these characteristics to your players, you should also encourage players and their parents to seek the same in a prospective coach.

What Can You Do to Make Sure You are Coachable?

Teaching your young basketball athlete/s to be coachable is not easy- it’s not impossible either. There are many things that we can do, say and teach as parents to help in this effort. But would be shocked to know that it starts with YOU?!

Set an Example and Stop Speaking Poorly of Coaches…

Way too often I hear parents speaking poorly of coaches in front of their children. The next time your young athlete comes to you with a complaint about his or her coach, think twice before you undermine that coach. It may be hard, but trust me- it will be worth it.

How about you? What are you doing to help your athlete be more coachable? Please share in the comments below.

4 Steps for Great Team Defense from Coach Dick Bennett

Dick Bennett — who is best known around these parts as the creator of the “Pack Line” defense (and as Tony Bennett’s father) — has a simple four-step checklist for defense that I believe every coach would benefit from adopting.

As follows:

1. Get Back and Stop the Basketball

As we chat about all the time in these emails, transition defense is incredibly important for any team that wants to be competitive.

Get back first, and then man up.

While it can be better to quickly close down on the ball-handler in some situations, most of the time it’s better to put your first focus on protecting the hoop.

2. Eliminate Easy Baskets

If you lose because the opposition team knocks down a bunch of contested three-pointers and well-guarded layups, most coaches can live with that.

What we can’t live with is losing because we allowed EASY points.

> Layups

> Fast break points

> Wide open three-pointers

If your team can eliminate the “easy points” and force opposition players to shoot with a hand in their face, you’ll dramatically increase your chances of winning.

3. Keep the Ball Out of the Lane

This is where Mr. Bennett’s famous “Pack Line” defense came into play…

The strategy he employed was to instruct players one-pass away on defense to stay in the gaps instead of denying their opponent.

While this made it easier for the offense to pass around the perimeter, this defensive strategy made it very difficult to get dribble penetration.

Combined with great 1-on-1 defense, the offense is in for a tough night.

4. Bother Shooters

Last but not least…

Ensure every opposition shot attempt is contested.

This requires all 5 players to be locked indefensively.

If someone gets beat on the perimeter, help defense must be in the correct position to rotate quickly and trap or contest the shot.

Never allow them to get a clean look!

Five Spot Basketball Shooting Workout

Five Spot Shooting is one of the best all around shooting workouts developing players can utilize. In fact, if there’s ONE workout you ever use to become a good shooter- this would be it!

Five Spot Shooting is a progressive workout that covers every aspect of shooting from every spot on the court. It’s extremely thorough and ensures that you are getting in the right repetitions.

Additionally, it helps you develop distance control because you methodically move your way out from the basket. 

Why Five Spot Shooting? : 

Most players like to start outside and shoot shots they are not ready for (should not be shooting).  That is very counterproductive and one of the biggest mistakes that players make.

Five Spot Shooting workout forces the player to focus on fundamentals, shoot from the proper distance and progressively build their shots the right way.   

The Set up :

As shown in the diagram and shot chart below, you will be shooting from five different angles on the court (left baseline, right baseline, left wing, right wing, and middle). taking 50 total shots from each of the five angles.



You will begin on the left wing, setting up four feet from the basket (spot one in the diagram below). Take 10 shots from spot one, keeping track of how many you make out of 10. If you make at least six out of 10, you are able to progress back to spot two which is four feet back from spot one (eight feet from the basket).

However, if you fail to make at least six shots from spot one in round one, you are not able to move back to spot two. You must stay in spot one for round two. In round two you will again take 10 shots and keep track of how many you make.

Again, if you make at least six shots, you can move back to the next spot. Each new spot is four feet farther back from the previous spot.

The same continues for rounds three through five. Once you have completed round five you will have taken 50 total shots and you will then move to the next angle (ex: middle). After finishing all five angles you will have attempted 250 total shots from all court angles.

This drill is great because it requires players to master shooting from a certain distance before they can move back. Do not be disappointed if you do not make it back to the three-point line.

Most players will remain in spots 1-4 for the entire workout.

Five Spot Shooting keeps players within their appropriate range and provides them goals to achieve.

Feel free to use the following Shot Chart to record your progress!  

Download Shot Chart Here!




What Are the Odds of Competing in Men’s Professional Basketball?

When we survey NCAA student-athletes about their expectations of moving on to professional athletics careers, the results indicate surprising confidence in that possibility. The reality is that very few go pro.

On average only 1% of high school participants go on to play DI-DIII college basketball


Estimated probability of competing in men’s college basketball

High School Participants NCAA Participants Overall % HS to NCAA % HS to NCAA Division I % HS to NCAA Division II % HS to NCAA Division III
551,373 18,816 3.4% 1.0% 1.0% 1.4%


Sources: High school figures from the 2017-18 High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations; data from club teams not included. College numbers from the NCAA 2017-18 Sports Sponsorship and Participation Rates Report.


Estimated probability of competing in men’s professional basketball

NCAA Participants Approximate # Draft Eligible # Draft Picks # NCAA Drafted % NCAA to Major Pro % NCAA to Total Pro
18,816 4,181 60 52 1.2% 21.3%
  • NBA draft data from 2018.  There were 60 draft slots in that year and 52 went to NCAA players (seven others chosen were international players not attending U.S. colleges and one spent a season at a prep school).  Percentage NCAA to Major Pro calculated using the 52 NCAA selections. Since 2008, 11 international players have been drafted on average each year.


  • On 2018-19 opening day NBA rosters, former NCAA Division I players filled 83% of roster spots.  Two NBA players attended non-Division I colleges.  (Source: Jim Sukup, College Basketball News).


  • Data on other professional opportunities in men’s basketball were collected by NCAA staff with the assistance of Marek Wojtera from  Tracking 2018-19 international opportunities for the 2018 draft cohort, it was determined that an additional 839 former NCAA student-athletes played internationally, in the G-League or in the NBA as undrafted players (606 from Division I, 194 from Division II and 39 from Division III) after leaving college; this includes international players who attended NCAA institutions.  These numbers were combined with the NBA draftees to calculate an approximate NCAA to Total Professional opportunities figure (calculated as [52 + 839] / 4,181 = 21%).


  • We estimate that 4.2% of draft-eligible Division I players were chosen in the 2018 NBA draft (52 / 1,230).  However, in total, 53% of draft-eligible Division I players competed professionally (NBA, G-League or internationally) in their first year after leaving college (calculated as [52 + 606] / 1,230). Approximately 17% of draft-eligible players from the five Division I conferences with autonomous governance (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) were drafted by the NBA in 2018 (38 / 228), while 80% played professionally somewhere in their first year post-college (calculated as [38 + 144] / 228).


If you have the ambition to elevate your basketball career we can help.  EliteHoops located in Dallas, TX helps youth basketball players become the best they can be both on and off the court.

Why Young Basketball Players Should NOT Watch the NBA


Yesterday I read an interesting article by a man who says young players shouldn‘t watch the NBA.

And he backs this up with many solid points:

The NBA is chock-full of:

  • Poor sportsmanship
  • Yelling at referees
  • Technical fouls and ejections

And it’s not great for our young, impressionable youth to see these things on a nightly basis.

Especially when we’re doing our best to teach them the opposite…

  • Good sportsmanship
  • Controlling emotions
  • Respect for others

Repeating myself for emphasis:

It’s incredibly difficult to convince our youth players of the importance of these traits when the world’s best players — who are the idols and role models of the current generation — are doing the exact opposite of what we preach.

Watching them is undoubtedly going to have a negative influence.

He even points out how the commentators encourage these *dirty* acts during the game by saying things like:

“A good elbow to the midsection just sends a good message to your opponent.”

And while this may be accepted in the NBA where millions of dollars and world championships are on the line, it becomes a big problem when young players start to believe that it’s acceptable for their level.

Now, to be clear…

I’m not telling you to forbid your team from watching the best basketball players on the planet (NBA, of course). I watch a lot of it myself.

It’s just an interesting topic that I thought would interest you.

I’ll leave you to decide what to make of it.

*Originally shared via Coach Mac of the Championship Coaching Course May 2019

10 Tips for Sports Parents


1. Cheer for all players (even those on the other team!). Leave the coaching to the coaches.

2. Write down your goals for your child for this season. Talk to your child about these goals, as they likely are not the same as his or hers!

3. When setting goals with your child, remember to focus on both effort and outcome related goals. For example, a great effort goal in basketball is praising a player for their consistent effort to box out.

4. There are a lot of basketball organizations out there. Take the time to evaluate options for where your child might play. Talk to other parents whose kids have played in those organizations.

5. Resist the temptation to critique your child on the way home. Ask if your child wants to talk about the game. If the answer is “no,” respect that.

6. When your child is ready to talk…listen and be engaged! Reinforce your child’s self-worth with statements, like “I know you are disappointed with the loss, but one thing I like about you is you’re the type of person who bounces back and tries hard the next time.”

7. After observing practice or a game, be ready with truthful and specific praise. This might sound like, “I really liked how you hustled after the loose ball” or “I was proud of how you helped your teammate up after the foul.”

8. If issues arise, such as your child wanting more playing time, encourage your child to address this with the coach directly. “What can I do to get better and earn more playing time?”

9. Studies of world-class athletes in basketball and other team ball sports have demonstrated that top performing athletes often delayed single-sport specialization until age 16 or later. Thus, delaying specialization until this age range is recommended. Specialization in basketball prior to age 14 is discouraged.

10. At every possible turn, let your children know that you love them unconditionally, regardless of their athletic performance. After a game or practice instead of immediately telling your child everything they did wrong…. say these simple words, “I love watching you play.”  


Article via

The Best Ball Handling Drills for Youth Basketball Players

Two-Ball Dribbling

Over the last 7 years is the deficiency of ball handling skills in many youth basketball players.  A vast majority of youth players can dribble with their dominant (strong) hand, but not with their weak (off) hand. youth basketball performing ball handling drills

This ball handling drill forces kids to do two things:

1. Utilize the off (weak) hand

2. Challenge/Develop their coordination

If a player can dribble two basketballs at the same time, he/she will definitely be able to dribble one very well with either hand.

Intermediate: On the Move Two Ball Dribbling Drill – Same as stationary but now player moves with the ball. Begin walking in a straight line to half court and back using pounds or pistons.

Once mastered, increase the pace and begin to jog.  Only progress to full-speed ball handling when ready.  After the player can do this with ease, begin attempting the crossover, between the legs, and behind the back in a straight line.

ELITE: Players progress to a zig-zag pattern on the move with two basketball. Make sure to plant that outside foot and explode when changing directions. Players can continue to pick up the pace as their skills increase to challenge themselves.

Coaches Tip:   This ball handling drill is not meant to be performed at game speed. The focus should be on form and improvement. 


Want to Develop a Mentally Tough Young Athlete ?

One of the best compliments an athlete can receive is the label “mentally tough.” Mental toughness isn’t a quality people are born with.  Rather, it includes a set of learned attitudes and ways of viewing competitive situations in productive ways.

Coaches and parents are in an ideal position to help young athletes develop a healthy philosophy about achievement and an ability to tolerate setbacks when they occur.   Here are some specific attitudes that we communicate with our young athletes at JENKINS ELITE HOOPS, that you can use.

1. Sports should be fun.

Emphasize that sports and other activities in life are enjoyable for playing, whether you win or lose.

Athletes should be participating, first and foremost, to have fun.

Try to promote the enjoyment of many activities in and of themselves so that winning is not a condition for enjoyment.

2. Anything worth achieving is rarely easy.

It’s important to recognize that the process of achieving mastery is a long and difficult road. According to Vince Lombardi, the famous coach of the Green Bay Packers, “The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success.”

Becoming the best athlete one can be is not an achievement to be had merely for the asking.

Practice, practice, and still more practice is needed to master any sport.

3. Mistakes are a necessary part of learning anything well.

Very simply, if we don’t make mistakes, we probably won’t learn. John Wooden, legendary UCLA basketball coach, referred to mistakes as the “stepping stones to achievement.”

Emphasize to athletes that mistakes, rather than being things to avoid at all costs, are opportunities for performance enhancement. They give us the information we need to adjust and improve.

The only true mistake is a failure to learn from our experiences.

4. The effort is what counts.

Emphasize and praise effort as well as the outcome.

Communicate repeatedly to young athletes that all you ask is that they give total effort.

Through your actions and your words, show youngsters that they are just as important to you when trying and losing as when winning. If the maximum effort is acceptable to you, it can also become acceptable to young athletes.

Above all, don’t punish or withdraw love and approval when kids don’t perform up to expectations. Such punishment builds fear of failure.

5. Don’t confuse worth with performance.

Help youngsters to distinguish what they do from what they are. A valuable lesson for children to learn is that they should never identify their worth as people with any particular part of themselves, such as their competence in sports, their school performance, or their physical appearance.

You can further this process by demonstrating your own ability to accept kids unconditionally as people, even when you are communicating that you don’t approve of some behavior.

Show children that you can gracefully accept your own mistakes and failures. Show and tell them that as a fallible human being, you can accept the fact that, despite your best efforts, you are going to occasionally bungle things.

If children can learn to accept and like themselves, they will not unduly require the approval of others in order to feel worthwhile.

6. Pressure is something you put on yourself.

Help young athletes to see competitive situations as exciting self-challenges rather than as threats.

Emphasize that people can choose how to think about pressure situations.

The above attitudes will help to develop an outlook on the pressure that transforms it into a challenge and an opportunity to test themselves and to achieve something worthwhile.

7.   Respect Your Competition.

Some coaches and athletes think that proper motivation comes from anger or hatred for the opponent. That’s totally wrong!

Sports should promote sportsmanship and an appreciation that opponents, far from being the “enemy,” are fellow athletes who make it possible to compete.

Hatred can only breed stress and fear. In terms of emotional arousal, fear and anger are indistinguishable patterns of physiologic responses. Thus, the arousal of anger can become the arousal of fear if things begin to go badly during competition.