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Category Archives for Basketball Tips

5 Basketball Training Tips

Training and conditioning is just as important as working on your shot in basketball.  The truth is that if you are not in shape you won’t have the physical capacity to use your skills to the highest degree.  Think about it; if you are out of breath are you as likely to make a three pointer or will it end up hitting the front of the rim?

1. Treat Your Body Right

Basketball training today looks a lot different than it did in the past.  I mean just take a look at a couple things related to Larry Bird’s living habits.  The dude literally put together his mother’s driveway even though he was a multimillionaire.  Not only that, but he injured his back in the process which effectively ended his career.  Can you image Lebron James building an driveway on his free time?

Now we are not saying that you shouldn’t be willing to do manual labor, but we are saying that you should make sure you are physically prepared to do any demanding task.

2. Nutrition Matters, A Lot

Larry Legend also had some poor eating habits during his playing career.

These days the best players in the world take care of their body in a way that past generations didn’t even consider.  Take a look at Lebron’s diet.  This guy takes inventory on everything that goes into his body, and for good reason.  Food is the fuel of the body.  If you are putting in a bunch of processed pizza pockets than you can be sure your body will not perform optimally.

For basketball players make sure you are getting a good deal of healthy fats, which can come from things like coconut oil, avocados, and nuts.  Do not eat too many carbs, and make sure to get plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables which have important vitamins and minerals to keep you feeling your best.

3. Focus On Functional Strength

In the old days guys would hit the bench press and just do rep after rep thinking this was going to prepare them for game time.

But if you want to be the best basketball player possible you need to work on strengthening the muscles most utilized in basketball.  This means your focus should be on building a solid core, meaning your abs, back, and hips.  Quads and hamstrings should be strengthen threw quick and explosive movement exercises like those in the Vert Shock Program.

Exercises that involved jumping and other types of interval training are always good for basketball players.

4. Meditate

Meditation has so many great properties that enhance athletic performance.  Mindfulness meditation helps to decrease anxiety allowing basketball players to focus in on the present moment.  This is incredibly powerful when you are in a late game situation and you are expected to rise up to the occasion.  If you have yourself mentally prepared for the moment then the moment won’t overwhelm you.

5. Have a Method to Your Practice

I see too many players when they practice not have any rhyme or reason for what they do.  They willy nilly take shots and slowly get their rebound and shot again, and again and again.

Have a plan for each practice session.  If you are working on dribbling make sure to have 5 or so drills that you can do at full speed.  If you notice you are a weaker shooter from a certain spot on the court then work on it!  If you need to work on passing and vision, then work on not telegraphing your passes.

Is The Vert Shock Program a Scam?

Want to Dunk?

Alright guys, one of the most popular things I get asked about is how to improve your vertical jump in the hopes of being able to dunk.  The truth is that we all want to be like our NBA heroes who seem to defy gravity as they levitate through the air with ease.  Don’t you want to do that?  Well, I know I do.

While you may want to dunk, not all of us can or will.  There are several players in the NBA who can’t dunk right now, so dunking is not a must have skill to play at the highest level.  At the same time having as high of a vertical jump as you possibly can help your game tremendously as you’ll be able to get more shots off over the extended arms of defenders.

How to Improve Your Vertical: Vert Shock?

Whether you can touch the rim and want to take your vertical to the next level so you can dunk, or if you just want a better vertical to improve your game the answer may lie in the Vert Shock Program.

Vert Shock is a vertical jumping program that was created by Adam Folker, a former division I collegiate basketball player who now plays professional basketball overseas.  The focus of the Vert Shock program is to use plyometric workouts at 100% explosive effort to build your fast twitch muscles fibers and optimize your central nervous system for jumping.

What is nice about the workouts in Vert Shock is that they can be done within the comfort of your home and do not require you go to a gym.  What is most important is that you do the workouts faithfully and totally commit to the 8 week long program.

There are plenty of testimonials on YouTube that show the positive results that users of the Vert Shock program have achieved.  While I’m always a bit weary of testimonials in general, I think you’ll find that the majority of these testimonials for Vert Shock appear authentic.

Here is one in particular that I feel is genuine.

You can definitely tell it is the same guy.  While there is no way to be 100% sure he wasn’t dogging it on the first part of video it does look like he was giving full effort.

Vert Shock Explained

Vert Shock Exercise Video

As I mentioned previously, Vert Shock was created by Adam Folker as a way for anyone to improve their vertical jumping ability by up to 9 to 15 inches. Within the program there are three main sections: Pre-Shock, Shock, and Post-Shock. Each of these phases has a specific goal and purpose all of which are designed to help you reach your vertical jumping goals.

There are also some valuable bonus materials that Adam includes in your Vert Shock purchase, which include articles on things that can hurt your vertical, as well as an advanced vertical training workout sheet that can be used after you complete the 8-week Vert Shock program.  FYI, the advanced vertical training workout does require gym equipment and you’ll likely need to go to the gym to perform the exercises.  For most the core Vert Shock program will suffice.

Phase 1: Pre-Shock

Vert Shock’s Pre-Shock Interface

The Pre-Shock phase of Vert Shock really gets things going as you’ll be doing many of the exercises that you’ll get familiar with over the 8-week period.  The goal of Pre-Shock is to begin building your fast-twitch muscle fibers while minimizing the risk of injury while your body adapts to the volume of jumping and explosive movements.

Another goal of the Pre-Shock phase is to build your core, which if yours has been neglected will be an important factor in creating a higher vertical jump.  You will be working out six of seven days during the Pre-Shock phase of Vert Shock.

After this week you may find that you have added a couple inches to your vertical, which is pretty damn cool for just one week of work.

Phase 2: Shock

Welcome to the bulk of the Vert Shock program.  The Shock phase consists of 6 weeks of workouts that follow a consistent format.  Generally you’ll have 4 to 5 days of working out and 2 to 3 days of recovery and rest.  To see optimum results you should follow the program specifically and do not workout on your recovery days.  Sore and fatigued muscles require rest so that they can rebuild and become stronger.

We have found that the main focus of the plyometric exercises is to do each one with maximum explosiveness.  Go 100% each time.  This is why the Vert Shock program gives you ample rest between sets.  They want you to be fully recovered so you can give the next set everything you got.

At the beginning, 4th week, and 8th week you will do a vertical test to see your results.  We recommend not testing it more than this or you may become discouraged if you don’t see the results that you are hoping for immediately.

Phase 3: Post-Shock

The final phase of the Vert Shock program is the Post-Shock phase.  This phase is pretty freaking intense as you will work out 6 of 7 days during the 1 week phase period.  By this point you should be much stronger in your core and lower body after having completed 7 weeks of Vert Shock.

Post-Shock will max you out so that once you get a chance to recover you will see the maximum amount of increase in your vertical possible.

Extra Features in Vert Shock

Vert Shock Bonuses

As part of the Vert Shock program you get a maintenance program that you do once a week after you have finished the Vert Shock program.  This maintenance program will help you keep your vertical jumping gains over the long-term so that you don’t lose what you worked hard to get.

You’ll also get short articles or “ebooks” on things that hurt your vertical jump, five secrets to jumping higher, and a nutrition tips sheet.  Nutrition in particular is an often overlooked factor in maximizing athletic performance, but it should be in the forefront of your mind as you progress through Vert Shock.

Probably the most valuable extra included in the Vert Shock program is the Complex Training Techniques “Ebook”.  This workout program offers vertical training technique using weights, and is best utilized after you’ve completed the 8 week Vert Shock course.  Having these complex training techniques allow you to go even further with your vertical training once you are done with the Vert Shock program.

Vert Shock Summary

Overall, Vert Shock is a valuable tool for anyone looking to increase their vertical.  The exercises and workouts are logically setup and work the muscle groups most needed in maximizing your jumping power.

Is Vert Shock a Scam?

While Vert Shock makes some bold marketing claims, it is not a scam.

Being that this is the question asked in the title of this article we feel we should address this thoroughly.  Vert Shock is not a scam.  It is a legit plyometric program that is designed to enhance your jumping.  If you do the program with maximum effort you will no doubt see improvements in your vertical jump.

That being said some of Vert Shock’s marketing and claims in their advertisements may be a bit over the top.  Not everyone who uses Vert Shock will be able to dunk.  The truth is that we all have different athletic limits and abilities.  For example, two people could both have a 20 inch vertical at the beginning of the program.  At the end one of Vert Shock, one participant’s vertical may have grown 15 inches and they can now jump 35 inches in the air.  On the flip side, the other participant may only gain 5 inches and now has a 25 inch vertical.  The first participant can now dunk, while the second participant can only touch the rim.

Our point here is that genetics matter.  Work hard and you will certainly see improvement, but don’t expect to be doing 360 jams and you’ll be less likely to be disappointed.  By increasing your vertical you will increase your performance on the court, period.  You’ll be more explosive and a better finisher when driving to the hoop, dunking or not.

How Much Does Vert Shock Cost?

The original price of Vert Shock was $200, which we feel is a bit expensive.  Thankfully, this price has been dropped to the much more reasonable $67.  At this price almost anyone who wants a quality program to improve their vertical jumping can afford to get Vert Shock.

What We Like About Vert Shock

  1. We really like that each of the workouts can done in your own home with just a couple pieces of gym equipment like step boxes, a foam roller, and a medicine ball.
  2. At $67, the Vert Shock program is a good value considering how much your vertical will improve.
  3. The videos of the exercise videos are in high-definition and crystal clear.
  4. The work load and time required for the Vert Shock program is reasonable.

What We Don’t Like

  1. Marketing is a little misleading, not everyone who takes the program will be able to dunk afterward (and that’s okay).
  2. Should offer more extensive advice on nutrition to give more guidance.

Final Word

We don’t have many bad things to say about Vert Shock.  We understand the concerns about it being a scam, but thankfully those are unfounded.  If you are on the fence about purchasing the program and want to increase your vertical, we say go for it.  You’ll no doubt improve your game.  And for those who can touch the rim, but can’t dunk, the Vert Shock program will more than likely get you dunking in 8 weeks.

Russell Westbrook’s Crazy Jam Defeats Rockets

It is no secret that Russell Westbrook has had to carry more of the load for the Oklahoma City Thunder this year.  With Kevin Durant making the infamous move to the Golden State Warriors, the Thunder are dependent on Westbrook to score more and take the undisputed lead role for the team.  Without Durant, it is hard to imagine Oklahoma City as anything more than a high seeded playoff team who will likely hit the showers after the first round comes to an end.

Still, that doesn’t mean that Westbrook doesn’t have some impressive tricks up his sleeve.  A prime example of what Westbrook is capable of happened last night against the Houston Rockets.  With the Thunder up three, the inbound pass went to Westbrook, and Westbrook went to work.  He drove to the lane and with a Rockets defender down low, Westbrook rose up and move the ball into his left hand as he seemingly hung in the air for about 14 minutes.  This all culminated in a Westbrook slam that is one of the year’s best so far.

We gotta say that we love the crazy animal that is Russell Westbrook.  That guy is a monster and goes all in every game. Seriously, just take a look at this guy’s face after he sticks the dagger in the Rockets.  That is the face of a madman. This dude would take a game versus a high school team like it was for the NBA championship.

So, here’s to Russell Westbrook.  Your best teammate abandoned you and yet you go in and play your heart out.  Nothing you can do but tip your hat and ask young hoopers around the country to play as hard as Russell.

If you haven’t seen the 1,543,432 replays of this dunk on Sports Center, well you are in look because we have posted it below.

Basketball is Important, But Not Life

21694833 - concept of stress of a businessman

Let’s get one thing straight.  I love the game of basketball.  I always have.  Since my childhood years I was drawn to the skill of shooting, and my desire to become the best basketball player I could be quickly developed into a raging fire.  As a youngster I practiced everyday, working on shooting, dribbling, passing, etc.  My sole love in life was the game.

And this was a mistake.

To often in our modern culture we expect ourselves and our children to give up everything for a single goal.  Children are expected to stop playing other sports so they can focus on only one.  In the past, kids participated many sports and other activities, I feel they benefited greatly from these varying experiences.  Basically, they were allowed to be kids.

Because my priorities were singularly focused on basketball, I became obsessed with it, and nothing short of excellence on the court was good enough.  As you can imagine this led to fairly unhappy life because I didn’t have any other way to value myself other than the basketball court.

It is funny, as a child and teenager I always dreamed of making a last second shot to win a game.  But the few times I was in this position I failed.  I didn’t have the confidence, I was anxious, and I had put all my perceived value in making the shot, which put an undue load of pressure on my shoulders.

Fast forward to being 30 years old and playing in my town’s adult recreation league.  In the very first game of the season I accomplished a goal that I desperately desired all those years ago: I made a game winning three.  And not just any game winning three, but a game winning three in double overtime.

And then a funnier thing happened.  Halfway through the season with my team down 2 points with under 10 seconds to go I made another game winning three.  Two game winners in a season!  My younger self only dreamed of such glory.

Both of these shots were pure as the driven snow.  Perfect release, no concern for failure, and neither bothered to touch the rim as they went through the hoop.  So what changed?  Why was I now able to make these clutch shots when as a teen I faltered?

It all comes down to priorities.  While my teen self was singularly focused on the game of basketball, at 30 years old this just was not the case any longer.  I had a home, a wife who was pregnant with our first born, and a successful business.  What I valued had changed, and because I didn’t put basketball on some sort of pedestal I was able to breakthrough.

The lesson here is that if you want to succeed in basketball you need to have other interests and ways to build self-confidence off the court.  Try not to tie your personal worth to how you perform.  It will only make you unhappy.  Instead, work hard at the game, enjoy the experience, and don’t put so much pressure on yourself.  Only when you have this figured out will you be able to breakthrough in a game when it matters the most.

You can’t force your light to shine, you have to let it happen.

The Role of the Basketball Parent

35447844 - image of young dad yelling at his son

As a school psychologist and a former youth basketball player, one of the most fascinating and frustrating aspects of youth sports is the intersection of parenting and coaching.  Many parents today have a difficult time understanding their role as parents of a youth athlete and the coach’s role of coaching the child.  What often happens in this situation is a parent damages their relationship with their child, and tears down the passion the child once had for the sport.

The reason I am fascinated by this topic is that my own father also struggled to understand the role the parent for youth athletes.  Often I’d find myself being torn down because of a lackluster basketball game, and inappropriately being put on a pedestal when I played well.   What resulted was me losing passion for the game, working less at it, and growing apart in my relationship with my father.

If you want to see an example of parents who have lost all sight of their role, I encourage you to watch the documentary Trophy Kids.   In fact, this program should be required watching for every parent who has a child playing sports.

So, here’s a message to all parents with youth athletes.  You are not their coach! It is not your place to tell them whatCa6Q9F4UkAEdFJp they did wrong, and what they did right.  It is also not your place to scream at coaches, refs, and other players during games.It is sickening to watch those of you guilty of this destroy your child’s confidence and destroy your relationship with them for the sake of your own selfish hopes and dreams.

Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, what should parents do for their children who play sports?  It is simple really.  What parents need to do for their children is to guide them.  If your child has a conflict offer them options and allow them to figure out how to solve their problem given the options they have.  If your child has a good or bad game, do not offer your judgement of the performance.  That is the coach’s role.  Instead, offer a level headed and supportive approach no matter what happened on the court.

By being the appropriate, supportive parent to your young athlete, they will be able to have ownership and develop their love for the game without it being forced upon them.  This is critical since ownership is one of the biggest motivators for the human psyche.

Giving your child the right parental support will lead to better outcomes in sports.  Allowing the coaches to coach, and allowing your child to evaluate their own performance will make them better players and more importantly better adults in the future.

3 Ways to Improve Your Rebounding

While points is the most overrated statistic in basketball, rebounding is one of the most underrated.  Having a beast on the boards allows teams to minimize second and third scoring opportunities for opponents, and allow your team to get more possessions.  Rebounding on the surface appears to be a simple activity, jump up and grab the ball!  But the truth is that rebounding takes a lot of strength, skill, and intelligence.  Here are three great ways to improve your rebounding.

1. Predict Where the Ball Is Going

rodman-reboundWhen a shot is missed where it will land depends on where it hits the rim.  For example, if an opponent misses a shot taken on the right side of the court, the rebound is more likely to fall somewhere on the left side than the right side.  The best rebounders understand this principle and will position themselves where they think the rebound will go based on how the shot looks while it is in mid-air.

While this skill may seem simple it is very difficult to master.  But if you can master it you will find yourself in position for many rebounds.  To see this in action make sure to see some old rebounding clips from Dennis Rodman.  The Worm was the absolute best at predicting where the ball was going to go off the rim.

2. Learn to Box Out

boxing-out-300x244Ah, the fundamentals; often overlooked but they should never be forgotten.  If you find yourself at a high school basketball game there is always at least one parent, fan, or coach who seems to be yelling to his team to “box out” on every rebound.  Well, maybe they are on to something.  Boxing out simply keeps your opponent from being able to get the basketball on misses.  To box out, simply get in a defensive stance with your back facing the player you are going to box out.  Next, push them out from the hoop by using your lower body to push them away from the hoop.

3. Build Lower Body Strength

To box out properly and keep your opponent from beating you to the ball, it is important to build lower body strength.  Weaker players may have the technique to box out but struggle to keep their opponent behind them during the box out.  Building your lower body strength will help in other areas of basketball as well.  A few workouts that are good to build lower body strength include squats, lunges, and jump rope.  Put together a basketball ready body and your rebounding success will follow.

Five Best Strength Training Exercises for Basketball

1. Squats

An absolute must do strength training exercise for any aspiring basketball player, squats work the quads and core like few other exercises.  Squats will help to improve the durability of your joints and to help increase your vertical.  To take it to the next level use lighter dumbbells and explode out of the squat into a jump to make even bigger vertical jumping gains.  Try for 2 to 3 sets of 10 reps.

2. Power Cleans

To play basketball with strength you need a strong back.  Power cleans will build your back as well as your ham strings.  Being that the lower back is often a trouble spot for veteran basketballers, power cleans will keep you on the court longer.  3 sets of 10.

3. Pushups

The pushup is a classic exercise because of its simplicity and the fact it works so many muscles groups at the same time.  With basketball's focus of a strong core and legs, the pushup works on the former.  Not only that, but the pushup will give you a solid chest that is important when defending the post and rebounding.

4. Pullups

A great strength exercise for both arms and back, the pullup is another simple exercise than can be done in your home or at the gym.  We recommend doing a variety of grips and grip widths when doing the pullup to work different muscles.  

5. Lunges

Lunges are perfect for building those jumping muscles.  Use dumbbells to add some weight and consider a jumping variation for even a bigger challenge.  

3 Important Lessons of Basketball Wisdom

33474402_lComparing the way you play the game of basketball as an adult compared to how you played as a youth brings out some interesting insights.  Most of us during our youth playing days hope to be the star of the team, score the most points, and make the game winning shot.  While these desires may still hold true when playing the game as an adult, I feel that for myself the way I view success on the court is quiet different than how I used to view it.  Playing in a local adult men’s basketball league last winter really brought this to light.  As you grow up your priorities will hopefully change and this will often make you a better person and basketball player.  Today, I want to do something a bit different and offer three basic insights that can only be learned through years of playing basketball and becoming more mature as a person.

1. Good Decision Making Leads to Good Results

Watch the Spurs to See Good Decision-Making in Action.  Photo via Wikipedia.

Watch the Spurs to See Good Decision-Making in Action. Photo via Wikipedia.

Wow, that sounds almost too simple, right?  But when you really break it down following this tenant of basketball wisdom can be more difficult than it first appears.  Shot selection and passing is really where this lesson shines.  It is important to realize that great teams made up of great players are willing to pass up good shots to continue to move to ball to find a GREAT shot.  Just because you are open does not make the shot great.

To follow this tenant of good basketball I want you to think about the game in a different way.  If you are the type of player who keeps up with their individual stats during the game you should try to stop this habit.  It will ultimately impact how you make decision and give you a bias to try to score points on your own.  Instead, think of each decision as whether it is the best decision you can make for your team and whether that decision is increasing the likelihood that the possession will end up in a bucket.  This way you no longer worry about yourself and you try to focus your energy on great decision-making, which leads to becoming a more mature, better basketball player.

Learn more about good decision-making by watching Greg Popovich coached Spurs games.

2. Good Ball Movement Trumps Good Ball Handling

What I am saying here is not that ball handling is not important.  It most certainly is, however, trying to pull some And 1 mix-tape move on your opponent is more than likely just an opportunity to try and look cool.  This is not what wise (winning) basketball players do.  As you get a bit older (and a bit slower) you start to realize the true value of good ball movement.  The simple fact is the ball travels faster during a pass than any player can run while dribbling.  Quick passing breaks down a defense allowing for open scoring opportunities.

3. Points Per Game is the Most Overrated Statistic in Sports

My Man Can Score But Does Not Pass.

My Man Can Score But Does Not Pass.

Yes, I said sports.  As in all sports that are played at a professional level.  The old points per game statistic is so misleading and does not really offer an true insight on a player without further context.  Let’s take Kobe Bryant’s last game in the NBA as an example.  Kobe has always been a controversial player with his tendency to take very tough shots over utilizing his teammates through good, wise, basketball decision-making.  And boy was his last game so…..Kobe.  Kobe scored an on the surface amazing 60 points against the Utah Jazz.  However, when you dig a bit deeper you realize he took 50 shots to score this many points, and made 22 of those attempts.  This ends up being a shooting percentage of 44%.  While this is not a bad shooting percentage it is also not great.  Worse is the fact that many of the shots he missed could have ended up being better opportunities to his teammates if he were more willing to move the ball.

The truth is that you as a basketball player should take a more holistic view of your performance on the court.  How many assists did you have,  Did you make good decisions, etc.?  As far as shooting and scoring is concerned, be more apt to consider your shooting percentages than points per game.  This will allow you to see trends in your shooting/scoring performance and allow you to plug any leaks in your offensive scoring game.

Have any other basketball wisdom to share?  Comment below!

5 Tips for Short Basketball Players

When people think of basketball players they generally think tall.  But the fact is that many great players have been at least small in relation to their professional counterparts.  Steve Nash, Isiah Thomas, Muggsy Bogues, and Spud Webb come to mind when we think of small players who excelled at the highest level.  All these players have some things in common that made them effective NBA players despite being vertically challenged.  Let’s take a look at five things that you can do a small basketball player that will make you great!

1. Become a Master Dribbler

As a small basketball player you need to really master the art of dribbling.  You can see the benefit of skilled dribbling by watching clips of Steve Nash and more recently Stephen Curry.  It is amazing how each of these players can use their handle to bring the defense to its knees.  Work on drills where you dribble two basketballs simultaneously so that you when you are dribbling one in a game it feels like a breeze.

2. Be A Marksman

Being a great shooter for your team does a lot to ensure success.  When you are hitting threes it spreads the defense out allowing for lanes to open up for driving.  You can also rack up points in a hurry by having your jumper on point.  As a point guard you will likely be primarily a distributor to your teammates but being an offensive threat yourself will add another dimension to your skill set.

3. Enhance Your Basketball IQ

Great point guards are thinking point guards.  As a shorter player you will often have to out think your competition to better them.  Be crafty, smart, and unselfish and winning will follow.  It is important that you know how to attack man-to-man defenses and zones.  Watch for lanes to open up for drives to get layups or kick outs to your sharp shooters for open threes.

Also watch for how your defender is playing.  Are they playing off?  Are they playing you tight?  Then counteract appropriately and watch them get frustrated.  Steve Nash has outstanding basketball IQ.  We suggest you watch videos of him playing to gain an understanding of basketball IQ and how it can help you beat taller more athletic competition.

4. Learn to Shoot the Floater

As a shorter basketball player you need to be crafty to get shots off in traffic without being blocked by the bigs underneath the hoop.  One of the most effective and popular ways to do this is by shooter a floater.  This shot takes practice and skill to develop, but can make a huge difference in your game.

This shot will also force defenders to come of their man quicker when you drive allowing you to drop dimes by dumping off passes to your teammates in the lane.  Here’s a tutorial on the floater:

5. Get In Shape

You are going to need every advantage you can get when playing basketball and here is one that just requires hard work: get in shape.  If you can out run your opponents you will leave them gassed and eating your dust.  With greater stamina you can also get out in transition more often and with greater speed, which with the revolution of small ball is becoming a critical element to success in basketball.

So, get running, get lifting, and do cardio focused basketball drills that will take your conditioning to the next level.

 

Basketball Hoop Height For Every Age

Photo Credit: www.ccaleague.org

Photo Credit: www.ccaleague.org

Once you have purchased a basketball hoop for your home it is time to put it to good use.  Of course you could simply send your little basketball player out there without much direction and hope for the best, but if you want to maximize your child’s odds of becoming a good player and also to maximize their joy playing the game, it is important to go a step further.  One of the coolest features that are available on most modern hoops is that their height is adjustable.  The majority of adjustable hoops are able to change their height from 7 feet to 10 feet.

While many use the hoop lowering mechanism to pretend being their favorite high flying NBA player, it is not the only or most important use for adjusting height on a hoop. Having this feature on your portable or in ground basketball hoop allows young kids learning the game of basketball to shoot the basketball at a level that works for them given their limited strength and beginning development.  Often when children shoot on a regulation ten foot rim they quickly build bad habits in their shooting form because they end up having to “throw” the basketball at the hoop.  Because these bad habits take time to develop they become very ingrained and extremely difficult to break later down the road.  Unfortunately, most often it is children who have the touch and coordination to develop a great shootings stroke that suffer the most as they lack strength in their early years.  You can eliminate one major cause of bad form by following this hoop height recommendation chart:

Children Through 2nd Grade: 6-7 Feet

Use the lowest rim setting available on your hoop.  Typically this will be seven feet.  The main goal at this age is to get them acclimated to the game and to being building solid fundamentals.

Children Through 4th Grade: 8 Feet

Kids growing up through 4th grade will begin to gain a significant amount of strength and it may be tempting to put the hoop higher.  However, resist this temptation and put the hoop at 8 feet and allow a natural shot to continue to develop.

Children Through 5th Grade: 9 Feet

Another foot of hoop height at this point becomes appropriate as children are continuing to become stronger and have now progressed to having a repeatable shooting stroke.

Children Through 6th Grade: 10 Feet

Once your child has passed the 6th grade it is appropriate to have them begin shooting on the regulation 10 foot rim.  Early in this stage make sure the focus on shooting is from the free throw line distance and in.

If you follow this chart for your child or youth basketball team you are ensuring that proper shooting mechanics will develop, especially if you are following the five easy steps to shooting a basketball perfectly.  While nothing can guarantee the results you want and adjusting the hoop alone will not help a child get a good shot without some specific instruction, hoop adjustment is a critical component.  Let us know below any other things you do for your kid or team that you feel allows for them to build great fundamentals and mechanics in their basketball skills.