Friday, December 6, 2013

New Training Video

Here is another great Green Room Training Video. I thought I would share with all of you. The workout included: Stephen Zimmerman: (7-0') #1 player in the country (2015) Chase Jeter: (6-11") #5 Rated player in the country (2015) Ray Smith: (6-7") #10 player in the region Marquese Chriss: (6-9") #60 Player in Country (2015)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

GRT Tip #3: Rondo Arms

You guys are going to love this little training tip.  Cost pennies to make and can elevate the functionality of your training/practices for your coaching staff.  Check out the video below.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My Company GSI is having a 25% BLACK FRIDAY SALE.  See details below.

Website is  For phone orders, call (707) 849-1212

Thursday, November 21, 2013

How the SIZE of the basketball/Height of Rim can affect shooting development

Now that I have a blog, I am sure I will be writing a lot in the near future about becoming a good shooter with my philosophies.  With that said, I think it is perfect to start with an area of development that very little people address - How the size of the basketball and height of rim and how it affects the development of becoming a good shooter.

Before I started working with my own children, I would have never thought the size of a ball and height of the rim would affect if someone can become a shooter or not. I always trained high school or college/pro players, who were naturally strong enough and had decent form.   However, there is no doubt it is the most important first parts for youths in becoming a consistent shooter.

Most people force their children to grow up too early.  We want them to mimic adult basketball players, act like them, play like them, dress like them, and use the same equipment. However, forcing them this way would be eliminating the important aspect of youth development - PROGRESSION PRINCIPLEThe Principle of Progression implies that there is an optimal level of overload that should be achieved, and an optimal time frame for this overload to occur. Overload should not be increased too slowly or improvement is unlikely. Overload that is increased too rapidly will result in injury or reduced outcomes.

If you go to any Youth CYO or even AAU league, you notice that by 5th grade (sometimes earlier) they have the boy's teams using a regular 29.5" basketball and playing on 10-foot rims.  In 3rd-4th grade, they have them using a 28.5" (woman's ball).  I recommend a player use a 27.5" basketball regardless of age until they have built a proper shooting base (tempo and form) that will allow them to progress to a 10-foot rim.   When my son was in 1st grade and until present 3rd grade, I forced him to play and shoot ONLY on a 9-foot rim (sometimes less) and with a 27.5" basketball.  I wanted him to learn proper technique, eliminating the bad habits that come with using a larger ball and higher rim.  When he would go to his CYO team, or Boys and Girls club team, they would use a larger ball.   Every kid (including my son) would be shooting with a two-handed push shop, usually from the side of their hip.  Their body would completely turn, as if they were trying to throw a pumpkin through the basket.  This goes against anything any of us learned about child development in relation to basketball shooting.  This would be like trying to teach a young person algebra before teaching them addition and subtraction.  Or having a young person learn how to play golf with adult size golf clubs.  It just doesn't make any sense.

This same concept applies to ball-handling.  Very recently I put a video up of my son Jayden performing a simple ball-handling drill (4-3-2-1-0 Drill).  That is a 27.5" ball in the video.  If I were to have him use a 28.5" ball, he wouldn't be able to do that drill. Why?  His hand size isn't large enough to control and dribble the larger ball with fluidity.  Can he still do it? Yeah, but he cannot control the ball with because of the maturity.  

I want players to have success when they are skill training.  If kids have success, they will continually want to get in the gym and train (Intrinsic Motivation).  If we (Coaches/parents) continually allow these leagues and coaches use improper equipment, we will have a negative counterproductive effect on these players.  Shooting a basketball is an art form and there are very few players that can really shoot as you move up the ranks.  Would this number be increased if proper child development were implemented in these leagues or by parents/coaches?  ABSOLUTELY! 

Lets quit worrying about how many wins and losses our 6-13 years olds are having in these leagues, and really give the proper resources to make them better players that will continue into high school and hopefully college.

Below are training videos for Jayden when he was 4-5 years of age, and another when he was 6-7 years of age.  Both videos he is using a 27.5" ball.   Going back, I probably should have had Jayden using a 26.5" basketball when he was 4 years of age.   Hopefully these videos will be used as motivation for your young players.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Part 2.......Continued……Strategies and Examples for Pre-Season Training

With our previous blog, we learned that skill trainers and body enhancement specialists must work together in developing the full athlete.  In this blog we will go into more detail for each of the disciplines during the pre-season or preparation phase.


AAU summer session is over and now high school coaches and trainers are excited to get their players back in the gym to get better.  Before you start your workouts, you need to make sure you provide your athletes with enough rest before the constant pounding of the pre-season.  Giving the players a week or two off is wise to allow their body muscles and joints to repair and recover.

Once you reach the pre-season, coaches/trainers need to focus on individual skill development, while limiting, if not eliminating open gym sessions.  At this point, players need to expand their skill set and do not need to play anymore games or practice learning new offensive sets or inbounds plays.   As I tell my clients, when you take and fail a math test, do you go back and re-take the test? Or do you go back and study what you did wrong and prepare for your next test? Basketball skill development isn’t any different than classroom learning.

Time management is crucial since players need to also incorporate body conditioning at this phase and school homework.  Coaches or trainers need to keep all of their workouts functional! Performing two-ball dribbling drills, or doing gimmick drills that make you look innovative but have no relevance to game-like situations should be eliminated.  For example, an area of development that players tend to over train is ball-handling.  There are only maybe 2 players on each team that handle the ball, however, there are thousands of gimmick ball-handling drills that coaches and trainers are spending the majority of their court time doing.

During this phase, coaches MUST place their players on shooting programs.  The key to basketball is putting the ball in the basket!!!  Therefore, the easiest way to build confidence and success for your players is to improve their shooting.  Set up a “Breakfast Club”, where players come before school to go through their shooting workouts, or an after school program, where the players come in with their partner and put up 200-300 shots before heading home to finish their homework.  Shooting programs do not have to be long.  Thirty minutes is plenty enough time to get up enough shots for improvement.  Have players find a consistent shooting partner that will motivate and push each other.  When I was a high school coach, Josh Akognon (Memphis Grizzlies) had Angelo Tsagarakis (French Pro B) to use each other as motivation to become master shooters.  They always shot before school and late at night while janitor was cleaning the gym and locker rooms.  It wasn’t a coincidence that both players made over 130 3-pointers their senior year in only 28 games.

An area of focus I recommend during this time that is relevant to the entire team is what I call “Secondary Finishing Series”, and “Finishing at the Rim Series”.  Secondary Finishing Series means what a player does once they beat their man with their initial primary move.  What does a player do once they are in the key area?  Teaching players secondary finishing moves like broad jumps, step overs, floaters, as well as concepts such as grounding your defender, goofy foot lay ups, will make them more confident and crafty in the key area.  Points are scored in the paint and getting to the free-throw line at a higher rate is the easiest way to increase your points per game total, as well as increasing the success for your team.

Also, players need to pick at least two areas they need improvement on and focus their skill court workouts around those two areas.  During this time, a player may want to work on a new “Go-To” triple threat move, or a new dribble attack move.  Players need to pick one or two moves in this situation and learn to master them.  It is okay only to have two moves.  As long as the player is efficient at those two moves, then that is all they will need.  Regardless of what moves they decide to use, make sure they are functional and efficient.  Below is a video of my “Unstoppable Offensive Skill Set Double DVD”, that does a great job in teaching this area and more (  Regardless, keep your moves simple.

(If you want to embed video here go to

Body Conditioning Training

The student-athletes are now approximately six to eight weeks out from practice starting.  With this being the case, maximal power output are the main goals of training.  Trainers and coaches should also incorporate more basketball-specific movements into the program, as well as an increased amount of speed, agility, and work capacity training.  As for weight training, more of an emphasis should be placed on main strength movements but not with too much volume.  Intensity can stay relatively high, but sets/time should be low.    Trainers need to understand that the players will need to find energy and time for shooting workouts, and maybe some sporadic open gyms.  Overtraining needs to be avoided.  Let’s take a look at some of the below components of Health-Related Fitness.

Anaerobic Conditioning
Anaerobic conditioning is exercise without the use of oxygen, or the point where Lactic Acid starts to accumulate in the muscles.  Your ability to recover quickly from this build up will have an enormous impact on player’s performance.  Basketball is a multi-sprint sport. In a game you'll be required to perform several successive sprints close to maximum speed on numerous occasions. Therefore, your conditioning workouts need to be functional and geared toward anaerobic conditioning.  Different types of short sprints, change of direction shuttle runs, defensive slides and crossover runs, and jumping, are examples.  However, do not over train anaerobic conditioning in substitute for basketball skill development.  Two sessions per week lasting a maximum of 30 minutes will do in order to reach peak fitness in time for the start of the competitive season.  Remember, your practices will also include heavy anaerobic conditioning, therefore you do not want to peak too soon.  The best coaches and trainers learn how to incorporate this area in their basketball court training (Hybrid Training).
Should aerobic running be implemented at all? No, aerobic exercise or running long distances use a different energy system than what you need for basketball.  Basketball is 85% ATP-PCr system and 15% Glycolytic.  In simple terms, basketball is a pure anaerobic sport, and long distance running should only be used as a base if at all.
Strength Conditioning
Developing maximum strength is something that can take up to 3 months, so continue maximal strength training into the late pre-season.  A lot of players start to eliminate lower body lifts during this time, which is a huge mistake. Strengthening your core and legs are a must in order to stay strong during the season but also to strengthen the knee joint to prevent injuries. 
About 4 weeks prior to the start of the in-season you can then exchange some of your strength sessions for plyometric training.  However, never overdo plyometric training!  Players will accumulate a lot of pounding on their ankle and knee joints throughout the season. Keep plyometric training to a minimum.  If there is an area of training that you had to leave out because of time, this would be the area I would recommend.
Speed, Agility, and Quickness (SAQ) Conditioning
As the competitive season draws closer, your basketball training program should place more and more emphasis on SAQ Training. Again your conditioning must be basketball specific and functional to the goals of your players or team.  To make it more interesting to your players, try to incorporate a basketball in your SAQ drills.   
Yes, you should perform all the drills at 100% but keep them short enough and allow enough recovery time in between so that form doesn't suffer. In my GRT program, I include all SAQ training in my regular court skill training work.  In this way, I am meeting my client’s needs during one workout, while not having to over train them in either area.  Remember, it is all about time management.
Flexibility Conditioning

Flexibility should NEVER be substituted. Players should always arrive early to finish their flexibility routine.  Flexibility also includes foam rolling, which will help heal the muscles and reduce “knots” in the fascia (layer surrounding muscle).  Foam rolling also increases oxygen flow to the muscle, hence reducing lactic acid and recovery.  If you ask any NBA player the one area they have to focus on each day to get through a workout – they will say REST and FLEXIBILITY.   Instead of just implementing the traditional areas, focus on hip and core flexibility.

Below is a video from my Green Room Training Program.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

School is starting. Do I focus my team’s time with a Body Enhancement Trainer or Skill Trainer?

Part 1 of 2...............

Today I was approached by a colleague that poised what I thought was a very important question. He said, “It is late August, basketball doesn’t start until November, but should I spend more time developing their bodies, or spend more time building their skills?”   I thought that was a wonderful question and would be the motivation for my first blog entry.

The answer to the question is based around the word Periodization.  The definition of Periodization is the process of structuring training into phases or systematic planning of athletic or physical training.  In order for athletes to develop, they need to plan their training in advanced in a meaningful, and manageable way. Therefore, the answer to my colleague’s question is you need to do both aspects, having both body and skill camps working together from a well thought out periodization plan.

I am going to break this blog into two parts.  Part 1 will include periodization and how different disciplines of training need to work together.  Part 2 will be going into more detail about the areas that should be focused on during the pre-season.

Now you mostly hear the word Periodization coming from Body Enhancement Specialists, however, Periodization also is vital when dealing with basketball court skill training as well. 

Before we talk about periodization, lets first dig into the roles of both the basketball skill trainer and the body enhancement specialists.  It is common and easy for parents, players and actual trainers to over think both of their roles.   The goal of a skill trainer is to better their client’s skills so you can put the ball into the basket at a higher rate.   The goal of a Sports Enhancement Specialists is to keep the client healthy for their upcoming season while also improving their speed, agility, strength, and quickness.  In a perfect situation, your body enhancement specialists and basketball skills trainer will be on the same page.  Designing their respective programs for the good of the athlete, depending on the time of year, as well as the outcome needed at that period of time.  Unfortunately, in a lot of situations you get both respective trainers trying to outdo one another’s importance, or monopolizing the little time each trainer has with the client.   University of CAL Berkeley Strength and Conditioning coach made a very simple statement at one of my Skill Training U events this past year.  He said, “My job is to make sure my players are healthy for practice and games for Coach Montgomery.  It is that simple.”

In no way am I trying to put forth that one discipline is more important than the other.  In my Green Room Training Program (GRT), I spearhead both the court training and body enhancement training because of a lack of synergy I had with my area trainers.  Regardless of your situation, you need to make sure that players are not overtraining just because a rival player/coach claims on twitter that they are working out 3x a day, 4 hours a day!  First of all they are lying, and second overtraining leads to major problems such as stress fractures, fatigue, burnout and decrease in performance results.  It is all about training smarter than your competition.   

Let’s look at another common example.  Let’s say a player has a heavy lower body workout with his body conditioning trainer on Mondays and Thursdays that includes a lot of jumping, resistance overload, and impact.  A skill development trainer NEEDS to ask them for their periodization workout schedule so that he/she can make sure that on those heavy legs days, a workout is cut short and includes mostly shooting.  It doesn’t mean you cannot go hard, but you are taking into account what the body has gone through (or will) that same day. Just this week, a promising player from my area of Northern California broke his leg for a second time, dunking while in warm ups.  I would hate to speculate the reasons on why that occurred, however, was his body fully prepared for the wear and tear coming back from his first injury?  Are you doing everything you can do in order to make sure your son/daughter, or players are spending time strengthening their body, as much as polishing their game situation skills?

As a skills trainer, I also want to make sure I warm them up properly, foam roll, and stretch the legs out before shooting to decrease lactic acid build up from previous leg workouts.   In this situation both trainers are working to one common goal, which is the best for increasing results for their client.

In Summary, coaches need to incorporate as much training as possible into their pre-season workouts without eliminating one from the other.  If this means they have to cut down on “open gym” to once a week, then that is what it will take (a whole other blog).  By managing the athlete’s time, while exposing them to as many training adaptations as possible, will lead to increases in performance and hopefully wins for your team.  In our second blog, I’ll take a more in depth look into periodization of both skill development and body conditioning for the pre-season.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

4-3-2-1-0 Ball-Handling Drill

The 4-3-2-1-0 Drill is a very simple, yet easy drill to utilize for your players.  It is great for all ages, while providing a challenge in completing the full cycle without making a mistake.  This is one of those drills where the player is working on their hand speed and coordination, without even knowing it since its a challenge.

You can watch Jayden (8 years old) perform the drill below.

After each number of side to side crossovers (start with 4), move the ball between the legs and behind the back/2 step crossover/rocker.  Then repeat side to side crossover side to side (move to 3 of them), then repeat with between the legs and behind the back/2 step crossover/rocker.  Then move to 2 side to side crossovers and continue till you get to zero.

Make sure to wear V-bands to increase overload (

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

GRT Tip #1 Ankle Pre-hab Exercises

Welcome to my first blog entry. Today I went ahead and made a video on how to prevent ankle injuries before they happen.  I have been using this for years with Josh Akognon and others.  It really strengthens the lower leg/ankle muscle in order to prevent future sprains.  The key is mimicking the action (turning the ankle) while in a controlled environment.  I hope you enjoy.

Since this is my new blog, please do pass along through email/facebook/twitter to as many people as you think would be interested.