I was 6’1 at the age of fourteen. Six foot one inches tall at 14, one of the tallest youth basketball players in my area. My dad was 6’8, my uncle (who played for the New York Knicks) 6’6 and another uncle who is 6’5. With those types of genes and my height as a basketball player I was on my way to becoming the next Shaquille O’Neal, or for this generation, Dwight Howard. I was working on post moves, boxing out, rebounding, blocking shots, drop steps and hook shots. But something happened… or didn’t. Two years later I peaked out at 6’3 and didn’t grow another inch. Here I am, spending most of my time working on post moves and playing with my back to the basket standing at 6’3. This was devastating. If I were to continue playing this beautiful game at a competitive level I only had two options. One, miraculously grow 6-8 more inches. Or two, learn to face the basket and play like a guard.
Since I couldn’t control my growth, I decided to change my game. I challenged my self and made the decision to play the guard position and be the best at it. I was always fascinated with guard play, but never got the change to play that position. All of my team coaches would tell me to stay in the post and be physical. Fortunately, I didn’t listen. I went home everyday and worked 2-3 hours on ball handling and dribbling. I watched countless hours of guards playing in the NBA. Back then we didn’t have trainers, so you had to learn by practice and watching other players. I enjoyed every minute of it. I was a point guard by the time I was a junior in high school. I later went on to play collegiate basketball, and professional basketball, as a point guard.
Because of my experience, I teach all players ball handling and dribbling first. 80% of my training time is spent on ball handling and dribbling. If you watch the NBA, the average guard stands 6’5. Most players will never see that height. Therefore, ball handling and dribbling is one of the most important skills to master as a basketball player. Rededicate yourself to being the best ball hander and dribbler that you can be no matter what position you play!