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Strength and Conditioning

Bigger Than Basketball – Alan Stein

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This past weekend I made a trip to Calgary, Alberta (Canada) for one of my Cutting Edge Clinics. Thanks to host Randy Peron of the Red Jackets, the clinic was a tremendous success… with 60+ kids and 20+ coaches in attendance.

As much as I enjoyed my workout with the players and my private Q & A with the coaches, the real highlight of the trip was being able to volunteer at a ‘Feed the Hungry’ shelter afterwards.  Led by Coach Peron, nearly 40 players/parents of Red Jacket Basketball (and myself of course) served hot meals to the less fortunate for 3 hours that Sunday afternoon.  I am proud to say we fed almost 600 people in that window.


As cliché as it may sound, it reminded me that life is so much bigger than basketball.

It was an unbelievably rewarding experience and one I will remember for the rest of my life.  I have not volunteered at a ‘soup kitchen’ since I was in college (and only did so then because it was required by one of my classes).

That is going to change.

I’ve already researched a few similar programs here in the DC area and I plan to make the time to volunteer.  Better yet, when my children are a little bit older, I plan to inspire them to come with me.

Volunteering at ‘Feed The Hungry’ really helped me re-focus my perspective.  I have an amazing life. I am healthy, happy and can’t remember a day that I didn’t eat 4 or 5 meals.  And while I’d like to believe I am a grateful person in general… spending an afternoon with folks who are much, much less fortunate really crystalized how lucky I am and how thankful I should be.

And as much as I enjoyed serving hot meals, I actually enjoyed interacting and talking with the folks that came in even more.  Helping put a smile on their faces really warmed my heart. I reaped every bit the benefit of that afternoon as the folks that came in.

I know that living here in the DC area, where homeless people are on (literally) every street corner, it’s easy to get numb to it. It’s easy for them to become invisible.

That’s what makes this one of the most powerful videos I have ever seen in my life:

And while I certainly don’t have the funds to give every homeless person my spare change, I do have the strength of character to ‘notice’ them, to look them in the eye as a fellow human being and to give them the courtesy of a kind word.

And while I am a busy guy, I am not too busy to make the time to volunteer once every few months to help the less fortunate.

Will you join me?

Always have an attitude of gratitude,

Alan Stein
Hardwood Hustle Blog

3 Keys to Success – Alan Stein

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I saw the following statement on Twitter and it really made me think:

Talent, luck and persistence – pick any two to achieve true success.

Hmmm… let’s take a look…


To some degree, what most people refer to as ‘talent’ is nothing more than passion.  If you love to do something… you will do it every chance you can.  And the more you do it, the better you get.  Now obviously there are several uncontrollable factors that determine someone’s ultimate talent and success on the basketball court (height, athleticism, etc.), but in many instances, talent comes from non-stop, obsessive and deliberate practice. I have never met a great shooter who didn’t put in the work… who didn’t makethousands and thousands of shots every week.  Being a ‘talented’ shooter is controllable.


There is no debate that Kevin Durant was born with numerous physical gifts. But so are a lot of people.  So how come KD is the NBA’s MVP, scoring leader and a perennial All-Star? Because KD has an unparalleled passion for basketball and he works on his craft every single day.  KD has made himself ‘talented.’

The same is true in coaching.  Who are the most ‘talented’ coaches? Coach K? Gregg Popovich? Billy Donovan? Doc Rivers? Do you have any idea how much time and effort those guys have put in to their coaching skill sets? They have worked relentlessly for decades to become ‘talented.’

Talent is the ability to make the most of what you have with where you are.


Honestly, I don’t believe in luck.  I think unsuccessful people use luck as an excuse. I believe luck is when preparation meets opportunity. Damn I love the quote.


So that means, in order to be lucky, you need to be well prepared when opportunity knocks.

Do you even know how to prepare?  Players, what do your daily workouts consist of?  Do you just jack up 300 shots or do you take game shots, from game spots, at game speeds?  Are you a shot taker or a shot maker? Do you practice stationary ball handling drills looking down at the ball or do you do drills on the move and force yourself to see the court (even though you may lose the ball initially)? Do you visualize a defender in front of you when making moves to the basket or do you just do the drill? Do you have a solid strength & conditioning foundation or do you just play pick-up? Equally important, are you a great teammate? Are you the type of player other players like to play with and coaches like to coach? Trust me… you’ll be a lot luckier if you are!

Coaches, do you just study the X’s and O’s or do you work on your leadership skills?  Do you put all of your focus on your out-of-bounds plays or do you spend time learning how to most effectively communicate with every member of your program? Do you reinforce great work habits with your players 365 days a year? Do you read, watch film and network with other coaches?

I realize many resources cost money… camps, clinics, DVDs, and trainers, which can be a limiting factor for some.  However there are numerous resources that don’t (like this blog or my Stronger Team YouTube channel). Find them. Use them.

If you want to be lucky, you need “to be in the right place at the right time.” Instead of waiting for that to happen, you need to make an effort to create real value in every place you go and every person you come in contact with.

When opportunity knocks, will you be prepared to answer?


This one is pretty obvious.  Don’t give up on anything you can’t go a day without thinking about.  Never quit. Keep practicing.  Keep working.  Most people think they are persistent, but in reality, they give up after a couple of “no’s” or a few minor failures.  Be too stubborn to quit.  Don’t be so pig-headed you won’t try to new approaches or make adjustments along the way… just don’t quit. Ever.


My twin sons, Luke & Jack, are 4 years old and my daughter Lyla is 2.  The 3 of them have an unyielding persistence. They don’t stop until they get what they want! They are relentless and they don’t take no for answer. While that has certainly caused me some grey hairs, I hope it is a quality they never out grow.  If they apply the same persistence to the game of basketball as they do to get ice cream for dessert, a Power Rangers figurine or watch an episode of Paw Patrol… they will indeed be McDonalds All-Americans in 2028!

Bottom line is this. If you want to be successful, on the court, or in anything in life:

Create your talent.

Make your own luck.

Never quit. 

Train hard, train smart and train consistently.

Alan Stein
Hardwood Hustle Blog

PS: The San Antonio Spurs organization… from R.C. Buford to Coach Pop to Big Timmy to the 15th man… epitomize the 3 keys to success discussed above.

Train With Purpose – Alan Stein

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Purpose [pur-puhs]


1. the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.

2. an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal.

3. determination; resoluteness.

Verb (used with object)

4. to set as an aim, intention, or goal for oneself.

5. to intend; design.

The above is an abbreviated definition of the word purpose from Dictonary.com.

“The reason for which something is done.”

If you want to be successful, on or off the court, there must be a distinct purpose to everything you do.Everything.

Without purpose, you will waste time, effort and (in many cases) money.

“Don’t confuse being busy with being productive.”

If you don’t have purpose, you aren’t being productive.

Ball Squat

Just because a drill looks cool, doesn’t mean it’s purposeful.

Just because a drill is hard, doesn’t mean it’s purposeful.

For example, the exercise pictured to the right has zero purpose.

Why am I bringing this up now?

To make sure you train with purpose this spring and summer!

What is the purpose of your off-season strength & conditioning program?

  • To reduce the occurrence and severity of injury (bulletproof your body)
  • To improve your movement efficiency so you can perform your skills at a higher level

Every exercise and drill you do should accomplish one, if not both, of these distinct purposes.

I have worked really hard to create a YouTube channel that is full of truly purposeful, basketball-specific training content:

I hope you spend some time combing through past videos and SUBSCRIBE below to make sure you don’t miss any future ones!

Train hard. Train smart. Train with purpose.

Alan Stein
Hardwood Hustle Blog

Losing Sucks – Alan Stein

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Losing sucks.

How is that for an opening line?

But seriously, losing really sucks.


I hated losing when I was a kid and it hasn’t changed now that I am an adult.  But losing is a part of life and it is certainly a part of basketball. Without exception, every time two teams take the court, one of them will lose.

And last night, we were that team.

We (DeMatha) got clobbered in our conference championship game.  While we certainly felt prepared and deserving of success entering the game… we did not play with the effort, toughness or execution required of champions.  We did not Finish Strong.

We simply had a bad night. That is not an excuse; it’s a fact. We did not play as well as we were capable of playing.  And our opponent did all of the little things that champions do.  They were clearly the better team last night.  They deserved to win.

While I am saddened we let a golden opportunity slip away, I am very proud of our team, the season we have had (27-4) and the character we showed in last night’s loss.

Remember, there are Teachable Moments in every aspect of basketball and every aspect of life.

How you handle defeat and how you carry yourself after a loss speaks volumes about who are you as a person. It reveals your true character… more so than winning does. Your true colors surface during adversity.

Don’t get it twisted, losing should hurt and you should feel disappointed. If it doesn’t hurt then it doesn’t matter, and if it doesn’t matter – why even play the game?

Losing2Allowing yourself to feel hurt and disappointed is OK.  Don’t hide from your feelings and emotions.  Sit in them for a short period of time. Embrace them. Then find a way to channel them into the fuel you need to get back to work.  Losing, like failure, is never permanent.

But losing is never an excuse to show poor sportsmanship, to make excuses or to be a bad teammate. Don’t ever let losing define you – as a player or as a person.

Learning how to lose with class is a very, very difficult skill… but it is an essential one.

Time to get back to work,

Alan Stein
Hardwood Hustle Blog

61 Traits of Great Coaches – Alan Stein

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I am eternally thankful to have learned from (and continue to learn from) so many great coaches. I am honored to be a part of the coaching fraternity.

Being a great coach takes the commitment to ‘work on your craft’ every day.

Below is a list of the 61 traits that great coaches model every day… on and off the court.

  1. Great coaches promote shared ownership and internal leadership. They create a ‘team’ attitude.
  2. Great coaches have their players keep a notebook with plays, motivational quotes, and facts about the program’s history.
  3. Great coaches are teachers at their most fundamental level.  They teach basketball; they teach life lessons.
  4. Great coaches love the game; respect the game.
  5. Great coaches work on their craft every day. They work on the X’s & O’s, strategy as well as on leadership.
  6. Great coaches establish roles on the team.  They clearly define these roles to everyone in the program.
  7. Great coaches objectively analyze a player’s strengths & weaknesses and find ways to utilize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses.
  8. Great coaches have high character.  They know they are in the business of leading by example and developing young men & women for life.
  9. Great coaches praise the behavior they want to see repeated and discipline the behavior the want to see eliminated.
  10. Great coaches don’t have ‘favorites.’ They care about all of their players and are objective when deciding roles and playing time.
  11. Great coaches treat every player fairly, but not equally. They know some players ‘need’ more than others.
  12. Great coaches get everyone on the team to accept their role and fulfill it to the best of their ability.
  13. Great coaches are always prepared. They study film, scouting reports, and design practice plans accordingly.
  14. Great coaches listen to their assistant coaches and to their players.  They don’t feel threatened and they welcome suggestions.
  15. Great coaches don’t over coach. They don’t talk to hear themselves talk; they talk to make a point, to teach, and to motivate.
  16. Great coaches coach in ‘bullet points’ during practice – they keep the action flowing! They keep instructions short and sweet.
  17. Great coaches coach players; not plays. They want players that know how to play the game, not just how to run a play.
  18. Great coaches know that basketball isn’t just about offense and defense. It’s also about effort and execution.
  19. Great coaches pay attention to detail. They know that everything regarding their program is important. Everything makes a difference.
  20. Great coaches make sure everything done in practice has a purpose. Every drill has value.
  21. Great coaches delegate to their assistant coaches and let them share the responsibility (and joy) of running a team.
  22. Great coaches compliment their players and assistants often and with sincerity (but only when deserved; not to ‘blow smoke’).
  23. Great coaches are the hardest workers in their program. They set the tone. They don’t let any player/coach outwork them.
  24. Great coaches are a spark of energy and enthusiasm.  They raise the level of everyone in their program, every day.
  25. Great coaches are mentally tough. They don’t get flustered.  They know their mental toughness trickles down to the entire program.
  26. Great coaches challenge their players and assistants… every day!  They don’t allow complacency.
  27. Great coaches are the face of their program. They welcome this and represent with pride and class.
  28. Great coaches have a clear, precise vision of what they want their team to become and accomplish.
  29. Great coaches learn what motivates each player on the team.  They find ways to light each player’s internal fire.
  30. Great coaches give trust and respect… and by doing so they earn trust and respect from everyone in their program.
  31. Great coaches are 100%, absolutely, positively committed to their team in every way possible.
  32. Great coaches create standards of excellence and hold their players and staff accountable.
  33. Great coaches know that you can’t win every game… but you can prepare (and try) to win every game.
  34. Great coaches set realistic, attainable goals and get everyone in the program to buy in and achieve them.
  35. Great coaches admit when they are wrong or make a mistake.  They are humble.
  36. Great coaches love to coach and have fun coaching… it is who they are!
  37. Great coaches are confident without being arrogant.  They believe in their team and in their preparation; but never assume they will win.
  38. Great coaches don’t worry so much about what their opponent is going to do; but instead focuses more on what their team is going to do.
  39. Great coaches know ‘it ain’t about me; it’s about them’ (referring to their players).
  40. Great coaches don’t coach for money or fame.  They may achieve money and fame; but that is not why they coach.
  41. Great coaches constantly make adjustments. They go into every practice and game with a plan and then adjust accordingly.
  42. Great coaches criticize the behavior or the play; not the person.  It’s never personal.
  43. Great coaches will help a player they coached decades ago.  Every former player is a part of their team.
  44. Great coaches lead by example and are excellent role models in every since of the word; on and off the court.
  45. Great coaches coach the players on their team they way they would want someone to coach their own son or daughter.
  46. Great coaches teach the fundamentals of the game… even at the highest of levels.
  47. Great coaches are active during practice and games. They don’t stand in one spot with their arms folded. They are fully engaged!
  48. Great coaches are authentic to who they are and to their own personality. They don’t try to coach like someone else.
  49. Great coaches are lifelong learners and true students of the game.  They read, watch, and listen to anything that will help them get better.
  50. Great coaches coach what they know and what works for their program.  They seek to learn what they don’t know.
  51. Great coaches know ‘it ain’t what I say that matters… it’s what they hear ’ (referring to their players).
  52. Great coaches listen for things they don’t want to hear and look for things they don’t want to see.
  53. Great coaches coach their current team to the best of their ability. They aren’t ever looking ahead to next year.
  54. Great coaches don’t allow themselves, their staff, or their players to get satisfied… no matter how successful they are.
  55. Great coaches call each player by name within the first 15 minutes of every practice.
  56. Great coaches know they get what they emphasize. They make sure they emphasize the right things!
  57. Great coaches impact and influence lives far behind the game of basketball. Basketball just happens to be their vehicle.
  58. Great coaches promote communication, toughness, and competitiveness in addition to fundamentals, X’s & O’s, and game strategy.
  59. Great coaches get the absolute maximum out of every player on their team and every assistant on their staff.
  60. Great coaches are innovators. They don’t just do things because ‘that’s how they’ve always been done.’ They create!
  61. Great coaches use basketball to create lifelong memories; on and off the court.

Are you up for the challenge? Are you ready to start being a great coach?

Alan Stein

Hardwood Hustle Blog


PS: During your holiday shopping, make sure you stop in the Apple store to check out 94Fifty’s revolutionary Bluetooth technology ball. It is the perfect gift for a serious player or coach.  Check out http://www.94Fifty.com to see what the hype is about!

8 Things You Can Learn from Jay Bilas – Alan Stein

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Alan Stein

The game of basketball has been very, very good to me.

I’ve met Dr. J and Michael Jordan.

I’ve spent time with Bobby Knight and Coach K.

I’ve done clinics from Brazil to Belgium.

I’ve work camps with LeBron and Kobe.

I’ve been (literally) livin’ the dream for well over a decade. It’s almost surreal.

And of all of the opportunities I’ve been afforded in my career, I rank yesterday (Wednesday, September 18, 2013), as one of the absolute best and most rewarding.

What happened yesterday?


I got to spend the day with the man who is the face of college basketball and an O.G. on Twitter… Jay Bilas.

I traveled with my crew (Adam Bradley & Mike Johnson of the Hardwood Hustle, Rich Czeslawski of Better Basketball and Jeremy Stein of the Stronger Team Nation) down to Charlotte to hang out at the Jay Bilas Estate to record a series of podcasts.

NOTE: The first Jay Bilas Hardwood Hustle Podcast will drop on Wednesday, September 25th. You can download and listen to all previous episodes at http://www.StrongerTeam.com/Podcasts or you can subscribe on iTunes. Make sure you follow @Hardwood_Hustle for all future updates and announcements!

Jay (and his lovely wife Wendy) rolled out the red carpet for us and was unbelievably gracious, hospitable and accommodating. He gave his bodyguard, maid, butler, masseuse, personal trainer, vocal coach and personal stylist the day off so we could keep things low key.

The goal of our Hardwood Hustle Podcast is to educate, entertain and engage.  After spending the day on Jay’s back porch, with mics on and cameras rolling, I am overwhelmingly confident the 3 episodes we recorded with The Bilastrator will do all 3.  We asked Jay a myriad of off-the-wall questions… all of which he answered candidly.  We had a blast!

I’ve known Jay for years and am honored to and privileged to call him a friend.  I admire and respect him as a father, a husband, a consummate professional and a straight up hustler.

Here are 8 things you can learn from Jay Bilas:


  1. Be humble. Jay often makes jokes (primarily on Twitter) to the contrary, but he is truly a down to earth, humble guy. He is respectful and classy.
  2. Be confident. Humility and confidence are not antonyms. Confidence stems from believing in yourself. Confidence is something that must be earned through working hard, smart and consistently.
  3. Be prepared. You should see the amount of work Jay puts into researching the players, coaches, and programs of the games he calls on ESPN. His attention detail is unparalleled.
  4. Be open. Jay has several strong opinions on issues like college athletes being compensated. Despite having such strong convictions, he is always open to hearing other people’s views.
  5. Be honest. Jay says what he means and he means what he says. He has no problem ‘keeping it real.’ A lot of folks on TV are merely puppets… they say what folks want to hear. Jay says what he believes.
  6. Be thankful. Jay is eternally thankful for all of the opportunities he’s had and for all of the people that have helped, impacted and influenced him.  He even thanked us for coming by to record the podcasts! Wow.
  7. Be good. Jay is the hardest workin’ man in show business and works relentlessly on his craft. Jay’s success isn’t an accident.
  8. Be gangsta. Jay counts $100’s on the table and $20’s on the floor. He’s got a house around his neck and a wrist on chill… and at any given time he’ll put a quarter-mill in your grill.

If you haven’t read his new book, Toughness, you are truly missing out. It is a powerful read. You need to pick up a copy ASAP.

And if you aren’t following @JayBilas on Twitter… oh never mind… you just don’t ‘get it.’

Respect the game,

Alan Stein
Hardwood Hustle Blog

– See more at: http://www.strongerteam.com/blog/#sthash.Cy7Yink1.dpuf

Exposure vs Getting Exposed – Alan Stein

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Posted on July 1, 2013 by Alan Stein • 25 Comments

In my last Hardwood Hustle post, I shared what I believe to be the 3 main problems with the youth basketball development model in the United States:

Too many games (and not enough development)

Too much focus on rankings and exposure

Too little emphasis on coaching education (primarily at the younger levels)

That last post focused on the issue of playing too many games. The response and support I received was phenomenal!

This post will focus on why winning, rankings and the incessant need for exposure are killing youth basketball development.

If a player’s goal is to earn a college scholarship to play basketball, then the only goal they should have is to be the best player they can possibly be entering their senior year in high school. What they are ranked as a 10 year old is irrelevant. How much exposure they get as high school freshman is immaterial. Their focus needs to be on development.

“It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish that matters most.”
That quote sums up my thoughts on the fixation with Player Rankings in youth and high school basketball. Too many players use rankings as a barometer of their value on the court, parents wear it like a badge of honor, and coaches use it to pump up their own prowess.

Kids should play basketball for 3 reasons:
1. They truly love the game
2. They can use it as vehicle for a free education
3. They can use it as a platform for unique life experiences

The Player Ranking cult is personified in news stories claiming a kid is the ‘best 10 year old player in the country.’

Exposure vs Getting Exposed
First off, how could you possibly claim a kid was the best 10-year-old unless you had seen every single 10-year-old play (and if you have, don’t you have anything better to do with your time)?

And what is the point of even trying to determine whom the best 10-year old is? Who does that benefit? What positive could possibly come of that?

Why would anyone want to burden a 10-year-old kid with the pressure of being ‘the best’?

Now, I am fine with naming All-American teams or even publicly ranking players right before their senior year in high school… but I believe in doing so as a way to recognize them for what they have already accomplished… not on hype and unrealistic expectations.  But even then it is a slippery slope, as success is never guaranteed.

Can you tell me what 2 things these 2 players have in common:
Shaheen Halloway and Kenny Gregory
-Both were the MVP of the McDonalds All-American game (Halloway in ’96 and Gregory in ’97)
-Both went undrafted in the NBA
-Publicized Internet Player Rankings are polluting youth basketball.

If a player is ranked really high, they often become complacent and get enabled by a swarm of vultures and hanger-on-ers who see this kid as their conduit to riches and fame. Everyone in his or her entourage becomes a ‘yes man’ and kisses their ass. How does that help their development and growth?

If a player is ranked low or not ranked at all, they often become frustrated and question the hard work they have already put in. Oftentimes they become selfish players in order to ‘Go for mine’ when playing in tournaments and events.

They focus more on proving their game than developing their game.

Please read the previous sentence again.

This selfish mentality happens to highly ranked players too… they know that if they don’t fill up the stat sheets then their ranking will suffer. The result is selfish play at most youth tournaments, AAU events high school games. Too much dribbling, awful shot selection, and no extra passes – the exact opposite of how the game is supposed to be played!

Exposure vs Getting Exposed 2

If you want real insight to the dangers of player rankings, I highly recommend you read George Dohrmann’s book Play Their Hearts Out.

Hand in hand with Player Rankings is the need for exposure. After all, you need exposure to get ranked, right? How can you get ranked if no one ever sees you play? I get a dozen emails a week from players and parents asking, ‘What is the best way for me to get exposure?’

My answer?
Become the best player and teammate you can be and the exposure will follow. If you can play, they will find you.

And for the record, most players who travel every weekend to gain exposure end up getting exposed instead. They end up shedding light on their weaknesses and deficiencies… that exact opposite of their goal!

Players, parents, and coaches… I challenge you not to get caught up in the Player Rankings. Focus on your development as a player. Focus on getting better every day. Focus on playing because you are passionate about the game and you want basketball to help you earn an education, make lifelong friends, and travel to new places. Focus on the purity of the game. If you do that, everything else will fall into place.

As the legendary Morgan Wootten used to say…

“Make sure you use basketball, don’t let it use you.”

If you agree that our culture is too caught up on rankings and exposure, please share this blog via the social media ‘share’ buttons in the left margin.  I appreciate you supporting the movement and helping me fight the good fight.

My next post, and the final post of this 3-part series, will share my thoughts on a standardized coaching certification.

Alan Stein

Hardwood Hustle Blog


PS: At the risk of sounding hypocritical, I support companies like Nike for hiring educated and experienced evaluators and scouts to rank players for internal purposes only. They use these rankings as a means to decide whom they will invite to their camps/academies as well as whom they will provide additional developmental opportunities to. Identifying the top high school talent in this regard serves a very positive purpose and is completely contrary to everything I mentioned above.

– See more at: http://www.strongerteam.com/2013/07/01/exposure-vs-getting-exposed/#sthash.A7QHChQC.dpuf

King of the Court – Alan Stein

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I may be off base on this, so please correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t think kids play much 1-on-1 anymore. I feel like if there aren’t uniforms, referees, in an air-conditioned gym and 10 players – kids just don’t play. That’s too bad, because playing 1-on-1 against someone who challenges you is an excellent way to develop your game and get in sick basketball shape.

But for it to be truly effective, it can’t be played in the typical fashion of:

  • Check the ball at the top of the key
  • Dribble like an And-1 Mix Tape audition
  • Jack up a BS shot

Playing that way won’t get you better, nor will it get you in shape.

Put these general rules in place to take your game to the next level:

  • Play 2′s and 3′s
  • Play to 7 from the same spot
  • Best of 5 series
  • Loser’s ball after each score 5 second shot clock (once ball is checked)
  • After the game-winning point is scored, player must make a FT. If they miss; the point doesn’t count.

Try these 6 Variations:

  1. Play from the top of the key and you only get one dribble
  2. Play from the wing and you can’t shoot 3’s and you can’t score in the paint
  3. Play from the elbow and you must score with your weak hand
  4. Play from midcourt and you must shoot from 3
  5. Play from the opposite free throw line and you only get 5 dribbles
  6. Play from the block and you aren’t allowed any dribbles

I warn you, these games are not easy. They can stifle even elite level players. But they will force you to work on all aspects of your game. They will force you to leave your comfort zone, both mentally and physically.

They will force you to get better.

That’s your #1 goal, right?

If you really want to take it to another level, play multiple games/series with multiple players and find out who is the King of the Court!

Please share this blog if you plan to give these a try this off-season.

Alan Stein Hardwood Hustle Blog http://www.About.me/AlanStein

How to Fuel for Performance – Alan Stein

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DeMatha 55, St. John’s 54. 2.1 seconds left. St. John’s had ball on their baseline. We were one stop away from advancing to the WCAC semi-finals. They threw the ball just shy of mid-court. One of our players went for the steal (and missed it). Their player calmly caught it, pivoted, took one hard dribble and fired a shot from just inside half-court.

Swish. Buzzer sounded. Ref signaled ‘basket good.’ Their team, staff and fans rushed the court.

Game over, 57-55

Those final 2 ticks of the clock summarized a very disappointing 2012-13 season.

But you know what?

The past is over… we need to learn from it.

The future is coming… we need to prepare for it.

The present is here… we need to live it.

Moving on…

Last week I had an unparalleled opportunity to spend 48 hours in Houston, Texas as a member of an exclusive Gatorade Sports Science Institute Basketball Task Force. It was an honor to take part and a thrill to meet and learn from some of the brightest minds on the planet regarding nutrition, hydration and performance enhancement.

I wanted to share some of the highlights of what I learned from the speakers:

· If you want to gain muscular size and/or muscular strength, you must consume adequate protein after your workouts.

· Your body can only use approximately 20 grams of quality protein in one meal, so taking in less is inadequate and taking in more is unnecessary for muscle growth.

· You should aim to take in 20 grams of quality protein every 4-5 hours for the 24 hours following your workout (with the first 30 minutes after you workout being the most important).

· Chocolate milk or an appropriate recovery shake are perfect for post workouts.

·Age appropriate strength training is extremely beneficial for youth and adolescents because the body’s connective tissue finishes developing by age 17 (NOTE: not muscle development, connective tissue development).

· As bodyweight increases (primarily in the form of body fat), the occurrence of injury increases.

· Proper nutrition isn’t just about fueling your body. It is also about fueling your mind. Can you make correct game speed decisions when you are fatigued? You can’t play if you can’t think.

· Nutritional success depends on your ability to plan ahead and prepare.

· “A proper diet can’t make an average player elite. But a poor diet can make an elite player average.”

· Recommend daily protein requirements for elite level athletes: 1.3-1.8 grams of protein per KG of bodyweight

· Dehydration impairs cognition and mental readiness.

· As little at 2% dehydration will (negatively) affect performance.

How do you know if you are dehydrated?

o You are thirsty

o Your urine is dark yellow

o You see a slight drop in normal body weight

Main causes of cramping:

o Fatigue

o Electrolyte deficiency

o Dehydration

· The most underrated recovery technique to aid in max performance is sleep!

· Teenagers need 9-10 hours of quality sleep (very few every get that).

Checklist for quality sleep:

o You fall asleep within 30 minutes

o You sleep through the night with minimal interruptions

o You feel refreshed upon waking up

How to get quality sleep:

o Keep your room cool, dark, and quiet

o Remove all electronics (computers, phones, TV’s, etc.)

o Have a consistent routine (certain bed time, etc.)

Naps are an excellent way to aid in rest and recovery:

o Do NOT nap within 2 hours of a game (you will feel groggy)

o Do NOT nap after 4pm (it will throw off that night’s sleep)

o Do NOT nap longer than 30-45 minutes

I hope you found these nuggets as helpful as I did. Just following the basics when it comes to proper nutrition, hydration and rest & recovery can play a huge role in your performance on the court.

Train hard. Fuel smart.

Alan Stein


PS: Here is a killer recipe from Keith Baar (@MuscleScience):

Peanut Butter Bars

1 cup Natural peanut butter

½ cup Crushed bananas

½ cup Honey

Pinch Salt

1 cup Whey protein powder (chocolate)

2 ½ cup Oats

1. Heat the peanut butter, crushed bananas, salt, and honey in a sauce pan

2. Add the protein powder and mix well

3. Add the oats and mix until combined

4. Press the mix into a pan with a spatula

5. Let cool, cut, and enjoy


The 24 E’s of Basketball Success – Alan Stein

By | Blog, Strength and Conditioning | No Comments

I spent the past decade traveling the globe to watch, learn from, and work with the best basketball players and coaches on the planet.

From King James to KD and Coach K to Coach Cal, here are 24 reasons the best are so successful:

They bring ENERGY and ENTHUSIASM to every workout, practice and game.

They give a tremendous EFFORT every time they take the floor.

No matter how accomplished they are, they never feel ENTITLED. They work hard to EARN their success every day.

They work with EFFICIENCY. They know that everything they do matters. They don’t waste time or energy.

They are EAGER to work, because they truly ENJOY the game. They arrive to workouts, practices and games EARLY.

They hold themselves to a very high standard and always push to EXCEED their own high EXPECTATIONS.

They remain poised in the heat of competition (they are never ERRATIC). They are extremely EFFECTIVE under pressure.

They EVALUATE themselves daily. They are EDUCATED students of the game.

They perform with precision. They EXECUTE every play as well as they can.

They don’t expect things to be EASY. They EMBRACE challenges and constantly push themselves out of their comfort zone. They always go the EXTRA mile.

They are confident in their abilities, but they always keep their EGO in check. They always feel they have more to prove. They are never content. They are never satisfied.

They show their EMOTION (passion) and ENGAGE and inspire those around them.

They set standards for themselves and for their team and they ENFORCE those standards daily.

They eat well, stay hydrated, get ample rest, train appropriately, and watch film so that they are EQUIPPED to perform with EXCELLENCE.

How many of these do YOU do?

Train hard. Eat smart. Get better.

Alan Stein