No Weaknesses

You have two choices; either you get rid of your weaknesses, or you don’t show them.

Don’t allow the coach to notice any flaws in your game, and if you can’t help it, make sure you do whatever you can to make up for it.

For example, if you’re a good at finishing with your right hand, but you have a hard time finishing with your left, you should be practicing for hours every day until you can finish with both hands.

If you don’t have enough time to get rid of your weakness, make sure you show off your strengths in order to prevent the coach from noticing your weakness.

Make sure you can do all the basics (layups with both hands, dribble with both hands under pressure, play defense, and play team basketball.)

Master A Skill (Your Strengths)

If you want to guarantee a spot on the basketball team, you need to be a necessity to your coach.

Master one skill and make sure you show it off during tryouts and practice.

Everybody has a skill that they’re naturally talented at. If you don’t have a natural talent, you need to develop a skill that will set you apart from everybody else. Whatever skill you decide to develop, make sure you master that skill.

Find out what type of players the coach likes, and become one of the top players in that niche.

Your niche is simply a specific aspect of the game of basketball that you excel at.

Examples from the NBA:

  • Stephen Curry = Lights Out Shooter
  • Rajon Rondo = Excellent ball handler and passer
  • Carmelo Anthony= Excellent shooter, and all-around scorer
  • Dwight Howard = Excellent shot-blocker, rebounder, and low post scorer

Train Like A Basketball Elite

Do you want to get rid of your weaknesses and develop your own niche?

Stop training like everybody else. In order to be the best, you have to do what nobody else is doing.

You need to give yourself the edge. No, I’m not talking about drugs, I’m talking about training like the Basketball Elite. Turn your weaknesses into strengths, and make your strengths even stronger.

The Platform Jump

This exercise is simple, and will allow you to test your own abilities before making any large advances, which will be the key to your own safety. For this exercise, you will need some type of platform that is completely stable and will not tip, such as a platform at your local gym, a park bench, a rock ledge, or some other platform that you can find in your local area. Stand with your feet about four inches from the ledge or platform that you will be working with, with your feet slightly apart. Squat down to prepare for your jump, making sure that you maintain good back posture, and do not begin slouching. Note, if you do begin slouching during these exercises, you will be building the wrong muscles, putting emphasis on muscles that you need to support your body, rather than jump. From here, spring up off of your feet, and land gently on the platform or ledge you have in front of you. Repeat this 10 to 15 times, rest for 30 seconds, then complete three more sets of this movement.

Altitude Drops

This exercise allows your joints to become used to pressure being forced on them quickly. Using a box or platform that is about 20% higher than your normal vertical jump, stand on top of the platform with your knees bent. From this position, simply jump off the platform, landing on the balls of your feet and allow your legs to absorb the impact. Doing this a few times between sets is great, but can become dangerous if it is done too frequently, as your joints need time to build up to withstand pressure.


Normal squats do not use any weight, but in order to be able to exert more power through your legs to increase your jump height, it is important that you do begin using weight. This is much easier if you have someone to spot you, or if you have some type of weight set that allows you to complete squats with the weights provided. Do keep in mind that when completing your squats, it is incredibly important that your knees do not pass your toes, that your back remains straight, and that the weight is held by your thighs and calves, as well as your core. These are all of the necessary parts that you will be building up in order to increase your vertical jump. If you perform squats incorrectly, they will not help you in any way, and may actually end up hurting you in the long run by damaging your muscles and joints.

There are many more exercises out there that involve the use of plyometrics to increase your core and leg strength, so don’t be afraid to look for other ideas to increase the strength of your legs. Use your own mind as well to think of ways that you could increase your leg strength, even if the ways you come up with are as simply as taking the stairs every day instead of the elevator. Every little bit counts when you’re increasing your vertical jump!

These volleyball drills will help form the basis for all future drills. The first one is a simple toss and pass. Have your players pair up and stand about 5 feet apart, facing each other. One person has the volleyball. Have that person toss the ball to their partner, in a slight arc. The other player will then pass the ball back to the first player. Have them repeat this 10 times, then switch positions, having the tosser become the passer and vice versus. The object is to have the passers execute as perfect a pass as possible. Go down the line, watching each pair, and correcting any mistakes that you may be seeing. You can also use this same volleyball drill set up to work on setting. Have one person toss the ball into the air, while the other player sets it back. Again, you will be working on form and accuracy only.

For this next set of beginning volleyball drills, have your players standing facing a wall. The first drill to run is a wall hitting drill. Pick a spot on the wall and have your players toss the ball to them selves and hit it at the wall, aiming for the spot that was picked. While hitting that spot is important, the main thrust of this drill is to work on arm movement. You will again want to ensure that you correct any mistakes being made. While looking for mistakes, be sure to watch for small ones too, as these can compound themselves in later drills. The other wall drill is a wall block. Have your players start in the blocking position in front of a wall. They will then jump and reach as high as they can, in essence blocking the wall. They will then land in a blocking position. One of the main aims for this drill is to ensure that the players do not drag their hands down the wall, in essence, touching the net on their way down from a block. Watch closely to ensure that your players maintain good form throughout the move. These wall volleyball drills are also intended to show your players that there are things that they can work on alone, outside of practice. Anything that your players can do to help them become better players is what you should stress to them.

Wall Hitting
For those who have yet to develop their skills with passing the balls with their hands, hitting a specific spot on the wall is going to be a challenge. You can draw a circle, hang a cloth, or mentally picture a spot on the wall to hit, and bounce the ball off the wall. This drill will help you to not only work on hitting the ball with your fingers, but will help you get just the right angle as well.

Toss and Pass
This drill needs two people standing face to face. One person throws the ball to the other person, and they pass it back and forth. Practice passing with your hands and fingers, as well as hitting the ball with the forearms. This will help to improve both accuracy and the ability to gauge the power needed to set or pass the ball.

Wall Blocks
Many beginners have a hard time blocking the ball without hitting the net. This drill basically involves you jumping straight up and touching a spot on the wall with your hands, but without any part of your arms touching the wall. Make sure to use good form for your block, and it will help to improve your ability to block without hitting the net.

Line Passing
This volleyball drill requires a lot of people, at least 4 to a side. Have all the players line up in two lines facing each other, and have the first person pass the ball to the first person of the other line. Once the ball is passed, the passer runs to the back of the line. Continue this drill for at least 10 minutes to get all the players accustomed to quickly hitting the ball and moving.

Volleyball Drills: Three Types of Volleyball Drills
Now that you have gotten some of the beginner volleyball training out of the way, it is important that you understand the three types of volleyball drills for the more advanced players:

1: Strategic, Tactical, and Systematic
These volleyball training exercises focus on working together as a team, using tactics and strategy to outthink the players on the other team. The drills usually involve a combination of skills used during the game, and they use each player’s individual skills to improve the team as a whole. Try these drills:

Two vs Six
Sounds unfair, but pitting two players against six will help the players to learn about playing defensively as well as working together effectively.

One vs One
Have one player take each side of the net, and have them volley off against each other in a limited space. They can only hit the ball once with their forearms, and this will help them to work on their stamina, running speed, and ball placement.

Two on Two
Divide the team into smaller teams of two players, and pit them against each other. The team that wins stays playing until they lose, and the teams change after each loss. All of these drills will help your team work together and understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

2: Movement and Skill Specific
These volleyball training drills work on specific skills and movements that each player needs to develop, such as serving, diving, blocking, setting, and spiking. All of these drills just go through the motions of developing the skills, and they are usually the beginner exercises (see above). A few more movement and skill specific drills to try include:

Progressive Serving
Line up all the players in two lines at the back of the court, and have them serve to each other. The person who serves the ball runs to the back of the line on the opposite side of the court.

Setting Drills
Place a player on each side of the net, and have them set the ball to each other over the net. This helps improve accuracy and height estimation.

Spiking Practice
Have two players on each side of the net, and have them take turns setting up and spiking the ball over the net.

3: Volleyball Conditioning
These volleyball drills are designed to improve your overall physical condition, thus helping to provide you with the strength and stamina for volleyball training. Here are a few drills for volleyball conditioning:

Consecutive Attacks
This drill helps to teach players how to attack the ball at every hit, no matter how tired they are. One person is placed to set the ball, and the hitter spikes as many balls as necessary until he has placed 10 spikes within the court boundaries.

Rotating Triangle
Set three players in a rough triangle on the court, and have them pass the ball to each other. Once the third player hits the ball, they all have to rotate to the next position without letting the ball touch the floor.

Pop Ups
Have each player lie on their belly on the floor, and make them jump to their feet and pass the ball when the whistle blows. This helps to improve the speed they can recover from a dive. These will focus more on speed, reflexes, strength, and stamina, all of which are needed in a game of volleyball.

Volleyball Drills: Volleyball Practice Tips
Are you getting into volleyball training doing volleyball drills? Here are some tips for you:

    • Warm Up – Failing to warm up causes sore and tired muscles the next day.
    • Practice Daily – Spend at least an hour practicing every day to see your skills improve greatly.
    • Repeat, Repeat – Repeating a drill helps your muscles to store the movement in the muscle memory, making it easier to perform without having to think about it.
    • Perfection Matters – Only by practicing the perfect movements will “practice make perfect”.
  • Study – Learn as much as you can about the mechanics of the human body, how you move, and how you have to think when playing the game.

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These excuses are used any time a league changes away from the adult-form of the game. Parents and coaches view sports from an adult mindset, rather than from the perspective of the child participating in the sport. However, when you factor skill, speed, size, strength and cognitive development, the small-sided games create more similar task constraints for youth players than the full-sided games.

In most youth sports, the majority of the players chase after the ball. Is that an adult form of the sport? Children do this because they lack higher order cognitive skills and the strength and skill to use the whole field or court. In basketball, presses work because young players cannot make a good 30-40-foot pass. This same defense would not work against stronger, more skilled adult players because the players understand spacing and can exploit the openings by making a strong pass over a large distance much faster than a defender can recover.

As a child, I started 11v11 soccer at seven years of age. We did not learn about teamwork or positioning – we learned to kick the ball as far as possible and hope that our fastest player could get to the ball and score. We never learned how to play the ball out of the back, how to interchange positions and more. We never had a left fullback sprinting the wing for a cross into the middle. We never played with the quick, short, one-touch passes popularized by F.C. Barcelona.

Consequently, nobody really developed the requisite skills to be a great player. We had fast players and some toughness, but not much skill (and we often won our league!). Our parent-coaches had never played soccer and did their best based on what made sense: we dribbled through cones, shot on goal and ran laps. When I drive by soccer fields today, I see the same practices.

JP Soccer, a youth league in Massachusetts, tired of the unskilled and tactically unaware players graduating from its league and blew up this model. Like a typical league, players practice one day per week and play a game on a second day. The league hires professional soccer trainers to work solely on technical skills with the players during the practice. On game day, the players join teams and play games without adult interference: no parent-coaches, no officials.

The league sets up fields of different sizes. One field might be long and narrow, while another field would be short and wide. The director assigns teams based on the order in which players arrive on a particular day. The first four players who arrive form one team and play the second four players to arrive. All games are played 4v4. After 15-20 minutes, the director switches the teams to different fields to play different opponents with different field constraints.

JP Soccer solved many problems plaguing most youth leagues: unequal teams, blowouts, playing time, individual involvement, inexperienced coaches, and more. Teams switch weekly so nobody loses or wins all of his games. Fifteen-minute games mean few blowouts. The limited number of players and space means everyone touches the ball and plenty of goals are scored. Professional coaches eliminate the need for inexperienced coaches – the league pays professional coaches to run skill sessions rather than paying officials to officiate 11v11 games.

Somehow, despite alleviating many problems associated with youth sports, many criticize the league because 4v4 soccer is not a real sport!

When I played, we arrived one hour before the game to ensure that nobody was late. We sat around, watched another game, stretched, ran some laps and listened to some pre-game talk. Finally, we took the field, kicked the ball around and eventually the game started. One game was drawn out to a three-hour event. JP Soccer eliminates the pretenses and gets straight to the playing. Do children enjoy the warm-ups and pre-game talks or the actual playing? What helps a player improve: running laps or playing with the ball?

Bert van Lingen in Coaching Soccer: The Official Coaching Book of the Dutch Soccer Association describes 4v4 as the optimal game for youth players, an assertion supported by a recent study commissioned by Manchester United and published by Rick Fenoglio from the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Manchester Metropolitan University. 4v4 is the smallest possible game that maintains the integrity of the game.

Similarly, FIBA sponsored 3v3 basketball at the 2010 Youth Olympics, while 2v2 beach volleyball is an Olympic sport, yet many resist small-sided basketball and volleyball leagues. I learned volleyball by playing 2v2 on the beach and never took to 6v6 volleyball because of the reduced action and touches on the ball. Those touches in 2v2 or 3v3 are the reason why the games are better for developmental athletes.

Young players need the opportunity to use in games the skills that they practice. If a volleyball coach practices setting with his players because he feels that all players need to develop all skills, but the middle blocker never sets in games, will he focus in practice on the setting drills? Will he retain and transfer the skill? Worse, if the coach only teaches his setters how to set, what happens when the 10-year-old middle blocker is only six-feet tall as a high school junior and unable to play in the middle because of his 6’5 teammates?

If the player never learned the skill as a youth, he is unlikely to transfer to a new position. By concentrating on position-specific skills at a young age, the coach narrows the player’s development. By playing 2v2, where the player has to perform all the skills in every game, the player has a broad foundation of skills and can transfer the skills to different environments and tasks.

In the Boston Magazine article, Boston University head coach Jack Parker lamented that only three of his players were from Massachusetts compared to 15 a decade ago. “There are more recruitable players from the state of Texas and the state of California than from the state of Massachusetts,” Parker said. “That is unbelievable.” USA Hockey made a decision to focus on age-appropriate leagues that create task constraints more similar to those imposed on adult players despite the smaller playing surface and provide all players with more opportunities to perform the skills that separate the good players. JP Soccer, PBDL and USYVL made the same decision in soccer, basketball and volleyball.

Rather than concentrate on what is or is not real, parents should find leagues that give players more opportunities to perform with the ball and have fun. These will be the developmental experiences that lead to better skill levels and better performance when the players’ maturation level moves the players to the real game.