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The Difference Between Skills Trainers & Player Development Coaches Is...

2 min read

By POINT 3 Alpha Kevin Mitchell

POINT 3 Alpha Kevin Mitchell

There are a couple different philosophies in the skills training industry. You have guys that say they’re skills trainers, and then some people who say they are player development guys. And there is a tug of war back and forth.

Here's my take: if you have a ball and you’re teaching, whether you’re a skills trainer or you are doing player development, the ultimate goal is to increase that person’s basketball skills so they can develop as a basketball player. I think the two things are synonymous. 


Part of the challenge within the training industry is that there haven’t really been clear definitions on who does what or what defines a skills trainer or a pro skills trainer. When you talk about a skills trainer, some skills trainers will only teach one or two things. They may teach you how to shoot or how to dribble. And then you have a player development coach where they’ll teach you a combination of everything that is involved with basketball. But whether you are doing one or the other, you are trying to create opportunities for them to play at grade school, high school, college and the professional level.

So when a person comes to you and says they want to train, you look to see if that person has a basketball foundation. Can they dribble, shoot, pass? Can they do game-specific things, things that will apply in a team concept or with a team philosophy?

I’ll ask players if they can dribble, and then we’ll get on the court and get into drills and they can only really dribble with their right hand. So if you can only dribble with your right hand, then you have deficiencies in your game and you can’t really dribble. So the correct answer is they can dribble with their right hand.




You need to be fundamentally sound whether you are executing a move with your right hand or left hand. So the steps I’ll go through:

  1. I’ll look at that player’s skillset.
  2. I’ll assess their strengths and deficiencies and build a program around that.

If they have trouble dribbling, then we will start with basic dribbling and working our way up to dribble combos and dribbling at game speed.

Based on what I assess and the feedback they gave me, I’ll take all of that to build a program for a player. Until a player gets comfortable in a tier of training, we will wait to move to the next level for a player.

I try to put a timetable on every phase of development, but the end goal is to help them grow as a basketball player. 

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