Player development is about teaching players how to play the game and developing their skill set so that they can become a more effective player.
And everything you do has to translate.
It’s not just about doing a drill but doing something that the players will do in a game in their system and their program. I think good player development coaches - a lot of us - we do our homework before the workout. You don’t just get in the gym and put them through any workout. You have to know whom that player plays for and where he plays.
Here's a quick example video of me working with my son, Riley, who plays point guard.
Here are three key steps I always take before starting to work with a player.
1. Build a relationship with the player's coach and organization
If I develop a relationship with a player and work with him, I’m always going to try to go through that player’s coach and organization and establish a relationship with them. I’m an ally. I’m part of the process of that player getting better.
And that enables me to talk to his coaches. I want to call the college or high school coach up and ask them what they want me to work on.
It’s also a sign of respect. His team coach wants to know what guys are working with his players. It’s all about relationships.
Develop relationships with coaches in the organization he plays. It’s crucial. You need to reach out to the coaches or the staff. You are looking to them for advice. I want to ask the head or assistant coach what they want the player to work. Do we need to work on the player’s post game or perimeter game? Where is he playing, what is he doing in the team’s system?
2. Get As Much Data as You Can
You can pull up so much data to see where guys in the NBA and college get their catches, their shots, what type of movement they use in their in the offense…
I want my drills to be a reflection of where the player gets his cuts and movements in his team’s offense. If he’s getting catches in certain areas, we want to do drills in those spots.
1. Watch film of the player
2. Collect all the data (stats, etc.) you can
3. Build that relationship with the players’ coaches!
3. Devise Workouts That Mimic Game Situations for the Player
Once you have the data and the relationships to make sure you know what you’re focused on helping the player accomplish, devise those workouts so that the player is doing the movements and motions he’d be doing in a game.
He runs the floor and sets drag screens, so in the workout we’ll work on his pick and pop. Stretch four skills. If off of the team’s early offense they reverse the ball for him and he screens away, then have him work on that. Have him work on reversing the ball and setting a screen and slipping or spacing. So I just try to simulate movements and pattern that will be right in the spot of the court they play for their team.