This week’s article features some skill development advice from Premier Player Development Coordinator and Elite Skills Coach, Mychal Martinez.
It’s important to have a plan in place when looking to develop and improve individual skills. Too many times, players and coaches enter a gym without a plan for their skill workouts and aimlessly drift through workouts not knowing if they’re truly improving. The four tips below will help players and coaches to not only create a specific plan for their skill development but also allow them to have tangible evidence of improvement!
List the Skills You Want to Improve
Start by listing EVERYTHING that you can possibly work on or would like to work on in the time you have available to improve your skills. This list can include things like improving your rhythm and timing on perimeter catches or improving your ability to get outside of hips off the dribble in a 1v1 attacking situation. Be specific!
Then, once you’ve completed this list, narrow the list down to three things that you want to improve on MOST. In most cases, you can only work on one to three things in a given amount of offseason time so take extra time to evaluate what it is that you will be doing specifically for YOUR PROGRAM OR TEAM in the upcoming season to get the most out of your workouts.
If you know you are going to be relied on as a shooter in your upcoming high school season because a senior shooter just graduated, then focusing on ball handling probably won’t help you improve on the role that you will be expected to fill.
Now that you’ve established three targeted areas of skill development, it’s time to list those skills in order of priority. Your goal is to accomplish these skills areas in the order that you prioritize them. An important question to ask yourself when deciding the order of priority is to ask yourself, “if I only accomplished priority number this offseason, would I be satisfied?” Resist the urge to jump around from priority to priority. Don’t move on until a priority is complete. It’s better to go narrow and deep into a specific skill then it is to go wide and shallow into several skills!
Monitor and Track Progress
Once you’ve prioritized your areas of improvement, identify goals for those priorities. Create a plan to monitor and track progress. For example, if you are prioritizing increasing your three-point shooting percentage, select a package of drills that track your makes and misses.
Once you’ve outlined how you will monitor and track progress and selected a package of drills to help you achieve your goals, begin to stat and chart your progress in each workout. Make sure to select a variety of drills that you can do on a daily basis and that are game-specific as well as harder drills that you can do periodically to “check-in” on your progress.
Don’t be afraid to adjust your plan if it is in the best interest of your development! If something isn’t working, change it. Don’t get boxed into one thing or another.