Daily Vitamins – the daily nourishment that your game needs

Skill development requires a devotion to habits that create precision. Skill is developed through repetition and a blend of learning and reflection. The seed of every habit is a tiny, single decision.

We should be engaging in reflection after a game. By reexamining what occurred during the game once we are outside of it, our workouts acquire an element of intentionality and purposefulness.

It is paramount that players work on specific game movements and positional concepts to enhance their development. Increase the return on your investment by working on shots that most often show up in the games. Watch a game at your age level and evaluate shot selection + quality.

How many shots were stationary off the catch? Off lateral slides rotating on the perimeter? Straight line cuts? Uphill or downhill movements? How many dribbles took place before the shot? How many were assisted vs self-created?

Why invest your off-season workouts to situations + shots that present themselves infrequently?

At Just Hoops, we believe firmly in devoting your time on skills that translate to live play situations. Player have access to our 250 Shot Daily Vitamin tracking sheet so they can make progress in game shots from game spots with individualized precision in mind. The 250 shots are broken down into form shooting, catch + shoot, lateral slides, 1-dribble pull-ups, and free throws. With creating shots off the dribble, we believe the most effective ways to set up your drive is utilizing your shot fake and jabs while attacking a closeout.

Develop a shooting routine that is intentional and work on it consistently. Enter the gym with a plan, be purposeful, and stay committed to the task through the ups and downs. Hold yourself accountable to a new habit, and chase improvement rather than a number.

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Dealing Hope

WHAT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE POINT GUARD? – Sherri Coale, Oklahoma Women’s Basketball Head Coach

“Deal Hope!”

  • When you go negative, it gets better 0% of the time.

When a player messes up = they look around

  • “the most important 3 seconds.”
  • Coaches/Teammates can:
    • Confirm they messed up or
    • Build them up
  • 3 Steps to get your teammate back to positive:
    • Acknowledge your teammate who is struggling
    • Interrupt your teammates negative thought process
    • Replace your teammates thought with a good & useful thought

*Comes down to you getting to know what works for your teammates & delivering that message to them.

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8/24 – Kobe Bryant Day

Lessons we can learn from The Mamba Mentality: How I Play


I had a constant craving, a yearning, to improve and be the best. I never needed any external forces to motivate me.

Over the years, my routine might have changed some, but my philosophy never did. If something has worked for other greats before you, and if something is working for you, why change it up and embrace some new fad? Stick with what works, even if it is unpopular.

Film study is all about detail. Some people enjoy looking at a watch; others are happier figuring out how the watch works.

I didn’t train only my body – I trained my mind, too. The only way I was able to pick up the details on the court, to be aware of the minutiae on the hardwood, was by training my mind to do that off the court and focusing on every detail in my daily life.

I always started off my routine close to the basket. I would start off short and work on my touch. Always. Always. Always

The Mamba Mentality isn’t about seeking a result – it’s more about the process of getting to that result. It’s about the journey and the approach. It’s a way of life.


Footwork is about efficiency. I needed to be able to get to my attack spots in one or two dribbles. The key was knowing how to move the defense with just my feet and my eyes and the positioning of my body, by knowing how to manipulate them left or right without having to put the ball on the floor.

During my early years in the NBA, I was surprised to learn that I took a different, more fundamental and serous, approach to footwork than a lot of players. A lot of players solely focused on improving off the dribble, but I also always placed added emphasis on playing off the catch. Only after mastering pivots – reverse pivots, inside reverse pivots, outside reverse pivots – did I work on the sexier between-the-legs, behind-the-backs, and crossovers.

God gave us two hands. Whether dribbling, pivoting, or spinning; it was important to me that I felt comfortable with either hand.

I never shied away from contact. Understanding the importance of contact and physicality is only half the battle. You have to love it, and I did.

When fundamentals are no longer fundamental. It’s weird, actually – fundamentals aren’t really fundamental anymore. A lot of players don’t understand the game or the importance of footwork, spacing. It’s to the point where if you know the basics, you have an advantage on the majority of players.

I took boxing out a big man as a personal challenge. You want to, obviously, establish a good base and get your body in front of the opposition. But you also want to make sure you get lower than their hips so you can move them and alter their positioning. If you try doing that at the shoulders, it won’t work because they are stronger at the top. When most players look at basketball, as a competition, they consider scoring and defending. In truth, even this little aspect – boxing out – is a competition within the competition.

All about footwork. Footwork on the court is comparable to the way you use your head while riding a motorcycle. If you want to turn left or right, you have to start by looking and leaning your weight, starting with your head, in that direction. It’s the same thing with your feet on the basketball court.

I built my game to have no holes. Yes, you might have known I preferred to go one way. That didn’t ultimately matter, because I could just as easily go the other way. Yeah, you might have also thought you knew my cadence and rhythm, except – I didn’t have one. I made a point to adjust the pace of my attack to throw defenders off. In essence, the more you thought you knew about my game, the harder it would actually be to guard me.

What separates great players from all-time great players is their ability to self-assess, diagnose weaknesses, and turn those flaws into strengths.

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Go Green!

Traffic Light clip art Free vector in Open office drawing svg ( .svg )  vector illustration graphic art design format format for free download  94.10KB

Your inner coach is someone who helps you out or breaks you down. Treat your inner coach like a traffic light:
Red = Negative Thought (“I can’t do this” or “I suck”)
Yellow = Wavering (“I don’t know if I can do this”)
Green = Positive Thought (“I got this”)

It’s human nature to doubt yourself when you are struggling. For most, our inner coach is quiet when things are good. It waits to show up & tell us when things are going bad. The goal should be to turn our inner coach into somebody who can guide us through the tough times by sending us messages that ensure our self-trust. Replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts and then trust them!

3 steps to getting back to positive once doubt & negativity creeps in:
Acknowledge the thought (“I can’t do this”)
Interrupt the thought
Replace the thought (“I can do this”)

Go Green! All-in with thoughts that contain self-trust.

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Decision Making – Ball-Screen Reads

3-man Ball-Screen action with the defense rotating out of the ball-side corner to take away the roll. The ball-handler coming off the ball-screen must:

1). Beat 1

2). Engage 2

3). See 3

Successful decision making is predicated on the ball-handlers ability to quickly “See 3” to counter the help-side rotations to hit the open player.

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Identifying the Last Finger on the Release of the Basketball

The placement of your last finger to touch the ball on your release will dictate the direction of the basketball. In order to be a good shooter…you must become a STRAIGHT shooter 1st!

Identify if either your index or middle finger is the last point of contact as you release your shot. This finger should be on the middle “stripe” of the ball. Your goal as a shooter is to get your hand to the middle of the basketball as early as possible so you can push through the center of the ball.

“Middle of the ball = middle of the rim.”

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How to Improve your Footwork – the Quick Hop

The Quick Hop is beneficial when the shooter is on the move. Pre-shot movement can be sliding laterally along the perimeter, uphill coming off an away screen or downhill off the dribble/curl.

With all footwork it is imperative that you do your work early. When the “Ball in the air = feet in the air.” Players will need to drive their toes into the ground on the catch.

The Quick Hop will assist your:
POP TIME (time elapsed from the catch to the release)

“The quality of your feet will determine the quality of your shot.”

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Inside the Huddle – What Really Matters

What can we learn from Coach McDermott (Creighton) & Coach Steele (Xavier)

  1. Defensive Communication Early is paramount
    -“Early, Loud & Often”
  2. SET YOUR FEET – Play off 2 in the paint
    -“Make decisions at our pace.”
    -“Do what the game tells us to do.”
  3. KYP – Know your Personnel
    -Who are you guarding? What do they do well?
  4. Rebound with 2!
  5. When the ball moves = WE SCORE
    -“When we dribble it, we are in trouble.”
  6. Disciplined Defense without fouling
    -KILLS = 3 Defensive Stops in a row
  7. “Don’t let switching paralyze you.”
    -“Set some / Slip some.” Keep the defense honest
  8. POSSESSION TOUGHNESS – Every Single Possession Matters
    -Poor shots lead to transition
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Injuries and Becoming Mentally Strong by Overseas Pro, Kellon Thomas

One of the toughest parts about sports are injuries. In a perfect world, no one would ever get injured but let’s be real, it’s a big part in sports today. In time of injuries, there are two options one can choose from:

  1. Feel sorry for themself and do nothing
  2. Embrace it and do everything they can to better the situation.

My advice would be to embrace it and control only the things you can control. When having a positive attitude during your time of an injury, can refocus your mind and make your time sitting out go a lot faster.

Just how you give 100% effort on the court, you must give the same energy in your rehab and recovery. Effective rehab leads to better and faster healing time to get back on the court. Eating right and making healthy decisions are also important during this time.

Even though it is tough, attitude plays a big part in the rehab process. Every day it’s a grind to rehab and sit out from practice and games. Even when you don’t feel like it, the best thing you can do during this time of sitting out is to challenge your mind. All Summer and preseason you get to train your body and work on your game physically. Use this time sitting out to watch game film, study plays, scout other teams and help yourself and teammates understand the game better from a different perspective.

In my playing career I’ve suffered two major injuries. A bone chip in my knee after my freshman year in college. This sidelined me for 7 months and missing a pivotal summer to progress and prove myself to my coaches. Another injury I had was an orbital bone fracture in my left eye during my junior season of my college career. This forced me to redshirt and miss the rest of the season. Both times during my injury I was upset and frustrated but I was given the same advice I just stated earlier. Remain patient, control what I can control and work on my mental state during this time.

Returning from both injuries, my stats, leadership, work ethic and role all increased because of how invested I was to my rehab, commitment to the team and to coming back stronger. So if going through an injury and having to miss time on the court, remember to use this time to work on areas of your game that you can control. Rehab to the best of your ability and become mentally strong through a tough time so when you do return, you’re better than ever.

Kellon Thomas

Just Hoops Coach and Professional Basketball Player

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