Skill Development - Randy Shanklin & the LA Lakers

I have been fortunate enough to play professional basketball on three different continents. I remain in contact with several people still involved on the professional level and the one thing that remains consistent for success at that level is the topic of skill development. For the past three years I have been stressing the importance of skill development for our junior and senior players. My advice has reached a small percentage of our active players, but for the most part it has fallen on deaf ears. Unfortunately most of our players and parents believe that their skills are being fully developed in their two training sessions with their teams; nothing could be further from the truth. Team training sessions are generally based around teamwork and group development even though there is some individual work being accomplished.

When you watch the top players in the world and the wonderful skills they possess, it's easy to believe that they must have learned them from complicated drills that shape and build superior athletes. Not true. The drills might be a little more specific to their abilities, but nothing that our juniors and seniors couldn't accomplish. I can assure you of this because I use actual drills that NBA and other professional players use to develop their skills. I have had a few parents remove their children from my skills sessions because they thought the drills would be "more advanced". If there are drills that are more advanced than those that professional athletes use, then I'd love to know where those parents saw them. 

In this video you will see the best professional basketball team in the NBA (my Los Angeles Lakers) at their pre-season training camp. The star of the video is regarded as "the best player on the entire planet" at the moment (Kobe Bryant). You will notice that the players are doing the drills at less than game pace. This is because they are into training camp and their bodies are worth millions of dollars and can't risk that nagging injuries that come with pre-season training. What you are not seeing is the hours of individual drills they complete as well as the other second session of their two-a-day training sessions and their possible pre-season game that night. For your growth as a player who has not had as many repetitions as the professionals, I suggest you execute your drills at game speed repetitively so your skills can be called upon as second nature. It WILL NOT benefit you to execute the drills at the pace you see here. 

Enjoy this short video and I encourage you to find the extra time to improve your skills. 

Randy Shanklin

Director of Basketball


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