Sunday, January 9, 2011

Picking Brian McCormick's Brain

This weekend I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Brian McCormick, who is coach, writer, researcher, etc in the field of basketball/athletic performance. It was a lot of fun to pick his brain about how to improve athletes especially basketball players. Brian has great prospective on how to develop players the right way from a young age through college and professional ranks using a long-term athletic development program.

Here are some highlights from our conversation that I wanted to share:

“Fast movements are hard to teach slowly”

Examples- Defensive shuffle, sprinting, olympic lifts. You can break these down as much as you want but in the end you really can’t demonstrate fast movements slowly. There can be good drills to emphasize certain parts but in the end it must come together as one fluent motion. That is why speed is a skill that takes a lot of time. Coaches who try to over-coach these movements can often end up giving incorrect cues (i.e.:step slide) or make the athletes think too much. Give a short explanation, a good demonstration and then let them player figure it out. The body is an amazing machine that will get it right over time with proper coaching and demonstration.

“Kids will often move the right way, it’s bad coaching that gives them bad habits.”

Coaching the youth is not easy. You must know when to back off and let them figure it out by themselves, and you also must know when a short cue or instruction will help them learn faster. A problem is that most youth coaches are parents who think they are the next Bobby Knight, who end up giving 15 commands for something as simple as a layup. The old cliché… I hear-I forget, I see- I remember, I do- I understand. Short instruction, a good example, and let them figure it out!


“Coaches are stubborn!”
There are a lot of coaches out there who still refuse to learn or improve their program. We talked about this with regards to the step slide vs the shuffle. You are a dinosaur if you still teach step slide. It makes NO sense. Even if you teach step slide your players will still naturally shuffle in games because it’s FASTER! Brian told me about numerous emails and convo’s of coaches taking it personally because “our program has been winning for years and we teach step slide.” Instead of “wow I can still improve my program even after all our success.” It’s not personal, just bizzzznesssss.

Check out Brian’s products and info at these site’s. - Articles and Blogs More articles - His products (all reasonably priced with GREAT info!)
To subscribe to his newsletter email with the title of Subscription.

The Other Side:
I'm also going to start another section of my blog called "The Other Side," to share something outside of athletic performance. It could be a music group, movie review, book review, story, article, etc. I always preach to kids to be well rounded and try new things other than their sports. So I will share things outside of my career that interest me as well.

The first thing I wanted to share is a video that gives you goosebumps, and some of you may even shed a couple tears. This guy makes me want to be a father sooner than later. A young man and his daughter sing a duet to "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetics. Incredible.


  1. I like this one people can tell you have many different sides to you. Keep it up!

  2. I wish there were more coaches like Brian out there..