Jab Step Workout

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Workouts

The Jab Step is a very simple fundamental that can be used to create space or an advantage for the offensive player. The Jab Step should be short, violent, and in the direction of the defender’s foot that is closest to the offensive player. In order to maximize their versatility, offensive players must be able to jab with either foot.

Emphasis: Jab Step

General Instructions

For each shooting repetition, catch the ball on a hop and ready to shoot.
For each set, make 10 shots with 10 right foot jabs and 10 left foot jabs.


  • 10 pounds on each hand 2 sets
  • Shooting 5 feet away (catch on hop, always moving, bounce pass)
  • 10 pounds on each hand 2 sets
  • Shooting 10 feet away (catch on hop, always moving, bounce pass)
  • 10 pounds on each hand 2 sets
  • Shooting 15 feet away (catch on hop, always moving, bounce pass)
  • 10 pounds on each hand 2 sets
  • Elbow to Elbow Jab step Shot
  • 2 FTs (in a row)
  • 10 pounds on each hand 2 sets
  • Right Wing (15 feet) Jab step Shot
  • 2 Fts (in a row)
  • 10 pounds on each hand 2 sets
  • Left Wing (15 feet) Jab step Shot
  • 2 FTs (in a row)
  • 10 pounds on each hand 2 sets
  • Top of the Key Jab step Crossover step 2 Dribble Pull up (SMACKS)
  • 2 Fts (in a row)
  • 10 pounds on each hand 2 sets
  • Right Wing Jab step Crossover step 2 Dribble Pull up (SMACKS)
  • 2 Fts (in a row)
  • 10 pounds on each hand 2 sets
  • Left Wing Jab step Crossover step 2 Dribble Pull up (SMACKS)
  • 2 Fts (in a row)

10000 reps makes something a habit.

This workout will generate a minimum 420 reps at the pound dribble, 200 catches on a hop, 120 reps at your jab step, and you’ll make a minimum of 200 shots. Repeat this workout 100 times to master the jab step.

Confidence is Up To You

This entry is part 28 of 28 in the series Leadership

Confidence is one of those words players and coaches throw around all the time.

“He is confident in his ability to defend.”

“She is confident in her ability to score.”

“He has confidence in passing.”

“She has confidence in her ball handling.”

That word confidence is so fickle and so relative to the situation. There is so much context that surrounds whether someone is confident. Would Steph Curry be confident on an episode of The Voice?  Would Alicia Keys be confident in Game 7 of the Finals?  I don’t think there’s much argument, that a fish out of water isn’t going to be very confident. These are, of course, extreme examples, but they illustrate one point.

I think we see confidence levels vary all the time in sports based on the environment. Some players or teams play with different levels of confidence, based on the opponent. In some cases, weather can impact confidence levels. I would argue that players or teams whose confidence is affected by these outside influences aren’t truly confident.

What makes anyone confident? The reason Tom Brady is confident in the last second drive at the Super Bowl is the same reason Sergio Garcia is confident on the last hole of the Master’s. They didn’t just wake up one day with confidence. Their coach didn’t give it to them. They weren’t just born with it. There isn’t a magic confidence pill. They worked really hard to become confident.

I’ve been asked a few times in the last month about how I instill confidence in my players. I’m pretty sure that I’ve never made any player confident. I believe that players make themselves confident. I’m not good enough to give my players confidence. Coaches can put players in situations to help them gain confidence. We can help players understand what true confidence is and what it takes to become confident. I can help players figure out why they might not be confident and what they can do to change it. However, f they want confidence, they have develop it.

Confidence is a like any muscle. The only way to help it grow is to work at it. You can’t just watch other confident people. You can’t just talk about it. If you want to be a confident chef, get in the kitchen and cook. If you want to be a confident player, get in the gym and play.

In a world of entitlement and instant gratification, there are a lot of unconfident people. It’s a vicious cycle that we find ourselves in. We see confidence and we like it. We think we can just go get buy it, or that it’s someone else’s job to give it to us. Then we find 100 excuses why we aren’t confident which reinforces our behavior and makes us even less confident. If you want to be confident, put in the time and the effort. At some point, you’ll be confident and you won’t even have to pretend.



Holding Players and Ourselves Accountable

This entry is part 27 of 28 in the series Leadership

Coach Geno Aurriema’s comments regarding body language and holding players accountable in a recent press conference have been played, replayed, tweeted, and retweeted thousands of times. As coaches, we understand exactly what he’s saying. We agree with what he says. We might even play it over and over just to hear someone of his status say what we’ve been saying for years.

I believe, the difference between him and most of us is that he really does what he says and he applies it every single day. He really doesn’t care if he loses. (Nevermind they have won 108 straight games as of this post.) He cares that his players act the right way and think the right way all the time, regardless of the consequences. If he loses his job for holding players accountable, at least he knows he’s done the right thing regardless of the result.

There is a sentence that is very interesting in his comments. I think it can get overlooked, but to me it is the most important part of what he said.

At 1:37  “….other coaches might say well you can do that because you’ve got 3 other All Americans…”

I don’t think he would care how many All Americans he has on his roster. Most of us don’t coach All Americans, which means most of us don’t coach against All Americans either. Yet most of us worry about too much about winning and we let players get away with things that they shouldn’t get away with.

How many of us would be willing to sit our best player knowing we would lose?  Would we be willing to sit our starting five if necessary? What are our fears of holding players accountable?  Do we feel like we don’t have the support of our administration? Are we afraid that they might be mad at us or turn against us? Are we afraid of a phone call from a parent or a booster? Do we fear of the consequences of sitting our “best player”? If we sit our best player, we might lose. When we lose, we lose our jobs. We’ve worked so hard to get where we are. If we get fired, we will have a hard time finding another opportunity.

The problem is that if we don’t hold our players accountable, we will probably lose even more.

In today’s society, coaching is not getting any easier. Instant gratification, entitlement, and laziness are just a few of the obstacles we must fight daily. Maybe we are just as much a part of the problem because we enable and empower athletes to have these qualities. If we don’t hold them accountable, no one else will. We can’t expect them to hold each other accountable. The hardest part about coaching is holding ourselves accountable to what we know is right. The next hardest part is doing the same for those that we coach. It’s not easy to do, but it’s not easy to win 108 straight games either.



This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Workouts

SMACKS is an acronym that I like to use for teaching players how to play when they have the ball. Every time a player attempts to score, it can be broken down into each of these 6 stages. When players learn to master each stage individually, they can start putting them together and become better players. SMACKS gives me a way to help teach offensive players in a progression that is easy for them to remember.

S = Setup

M = Move

A = Attack Dribble

C = Crossover Step

K = Kill Dribble

S = Score

The setup is what the player do before they make a move. The setup is probably the most overlooked part of SMACKS. When a player is making a move off the dribble, this is learning to change speeds and levels to freeze the defender. If the player is making the move off the catch, it is learning how to prepare their feet and bodies to make their move without being off-balance or traveling. Players who forget this step often make moves that are ineffective. Players must always learn to set up the move before they make it. In many cases, this setup is not complicated or difficult. The setup can be as simple as playing just a bit slower to make a good read so that they can make the proper move.

The move is probably the most popular part of SMACKS that coaches teach and that players work on. Players always want to work on or learn a new move. The move can include a change of speed, change of level, and/or a change of direction. While the move might be the “flashiest” part of SMACKS, the other parts are just as important to a successful scoring opportunity against the highest levels of competition.

Once the offensive player makes the move, the player must attack the advantage that they gained. This piece of SMACKS is critical to maximizing the advantage that the player gained. The attack dribble must create as much space as possible away from the defender. As a result, a poor attack dribble ruins even the best “move” because it allows defenders to recover and make any scoring opportunity more challenging.

The attack dribble’s partner is a crossover step. The crossover step increases explosiveness and protects the ball from the defender. Many times, this footwork is often overlooked, but mastery of the crossover step can help lesser athletes gain an advantage. Poor footwork by even good athletes can make them less efficient, effective, and easier to defend.

The kill dribble follows the attack dribble in situations where the player needs more than one dribble to score. In some situations, the attack dribble can lead to a scoring opportunity. Although at higher levels of basketball, players must have a variety of finishes in their arsenal. The kill dribble helps players get their feet set for whatever attempted finish they need to use.

The score refers to the different finishes that a player can learn to use. This could be a jump shot, floater, Euro step, pro hop or any number of other finishes that exist in the game of basketball.

Individual Workout #3: Euro step

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Workouts
The individual workout in this post covers SMACKS with a Euro step finish. This workout chooses to work on the crossover between the legs move, but any move could be substituted for this workout. Whether it is workout # 1 or workout #1000, we will continue to emphasize failure with each workout while at the same time breaking down individual skills into their pieces and putting them back together. Repetition and mastery of the basics are most important to improvement and mastery of more advanced skills. In addition, this workout includes jump rope sessions between each drill in order to increase agility and conditioning.
Move Breakdown
Pound, cross, thru, pass to wall (LH & RH)

Jump rope (30 seconds)

Pound, 2 cross, 2 thru, pass to wall (LH & RH)

Jump rope (30 seconds)

Pound, 3 cross, 3 thru, pass to wall (LH & RH)
Jump rope (30 seconds)
Euro breakdown
Lane line break down for inside hand finish for euro: (ONE step, from first two hash marks LH & RH)
Jump rope (1 minute)
Euro-step inside hand finish:(TWO steps, from first two hash marks on both sides LH & RH)
Jump rope (1 minute)
Kill to Euro Step and finish (from first two hash marks on both sides LH & RH)
Jump rope (1 minute)
SMACKS Breakdown
Attack dribble, cross step, scoop cone reset (10 reps LH & RH)
Attack dribble, cross step, scoop cone, kill, stack cone reset (10 reps LH & RH)
Pound, cross, thru, attack dribble, cross step, kill dribble, Euro step without finish (5 reps LH & RH)
Pound, cross, thru, attack dribble, cross step, kill dribble, Euro step, finish (10 reps LH & RH)

Give like the Sun

This entry is part 26 of 28 in the series Leadership

The Sun

The Sun burns to give us light and life every day. If you are too close to the Sun, you will burn up. Get too far away from the Sun and you will freeze. How amazing is it that we are just far enough away from the Sun to have life? According to scientists, the Sun is going to burn out in a few (thousand or million or billion) years. It will be difficult for us to exist without it. Do we recognize our dependence on the Sun?  Are we thankful for what it does for us, or do we complain that it is too hot or too bright? Or even worse, do we just take it for granted?

Furthermore, take the Sun out of our galaxy. Would you even notice it? Of course, it depends on your perspective. The few billion people on Earth would notice it, if we even had time to notice. If we are in one of the other few hundred billion galaxies looking at the Milky Way (based on this visualization from NC State), the absence of the Sun wouldn’t even make a Twitter post.

I try to be like the Sun for others. I hope to encourage them with hope and love. However, I’m sure that I burn too brightly for some people. I know I don’t burn bright enough for everyone, but I want to burn brighter. When I am not on this Earth anymore, most people won’t know that I existed in the first place. Just like when the Sun burns out, other solar systems and galaxies won’t miss our Sun. However, just like the Sun has a purpose to give life to us, I believe we are meant to be the Sun for others.

Just like Maya Angelou’s famous words…

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Remember though, there’s a difference between us and the Sun. The Sun has nothing giving it life. The Sun doesn’t have any help to serve its purpose. It is a good thing that the sun is strong enough to give us life without much help. While we might not be able to extend each other’s lives, we can help each other while we’re here. We can pour into each other and we can help each other help others. We can be the Sun for others and we can give hope and love to others. The Sun doesn’t ask for anything in return. It just burns. It just gives us life. Most importantly, how much better would this world be if we gave to others in the same way the Sun gives to us?