When it comes to my money, I don’t want anyone messing with it. How about you? I figured we’re on the same page. Here’s our public service announcement for the basketball parents around the world and our biased advice on where to allocate your hard earned money. Coaches and Basketball Trainers each serve a fantastic purpose in the life of your athlete, but timing is everything. As a Basketball Training company, you may wonder how we’ll be objective on this discussion. We won’t. As former college and professional level players and also high school and college level coaches, this article will help you navigate the basketball world and will help you set your child up for success.

We see it so often and it is disappointing and heartbreaking to see players not make a high school team or not get recruited to play in college. And all of this could have been avoided if parents and athletes knew what to do to ensure their success. The game of basketball has many moving parts and requires many different skills. The more mastery of certain skills that an athlete has, the more valuable he will be on a team. What we see so often is parents spending two to eight hundred dollars per month on travel teams, hotels, tournament fees, travel expenses and so on, without getting the results desired. There’s so much wasted time travelling when athletes could be in the gym training and parents could be relaxing at home. We want your athlete to be prepared to play basketball in high school or in college, depending on the goals of the player. We know that this is possible for all players who are set up for success and also do the necessary work.      

The Coach

A Coach’s purpose is to identify what kind of talent each player has, who will play what positions, and put their players in a position to succeed as a team. Their job is to choose what offenses and what defenses are suitable for the team and how they can maximize the talent of each individual. Most youth teams practice 1,2 or 3 times per week and have a game per week or tournament play. The coach needs to manage each practice well, in order to put all offenses, defenses, and out of bounds plays in for the team. Not only that, but also ensures that the offenses and defenses chosen are run correctly and are executed properly. They also must determine who is going to get playing time. Over the course of a 12 week or 16 week season, there is so much to teach and implement regarding team concepts, with so little time.    

The Basketball Trainer

A Basketball Trainer’s purpose is to identify the current skill set of the player, what position they currently play, and how they can maximize the player’s current ability and to bridge the gap between where the player is and where they want to be. Their job is to challenge the player, improve their skills (shooting, passing, dribbling, defense, footwork, etc.), and ensure they have all the skills necessary to compete at every level. Most serious basketball players, (serious defined as ambitions of college or professional level play) train 6 days per week, and are working on improving their strengths and getting rid of any weaknesses. The Basketball Trainer has the opportunity to develop a player specific plan to ensure that the time invested in training reaps the greatest reward. The player assessment combined with the basketball knowledge of the trainer is a winning combination. Not only are they aware of where the player is currently, but more importantly they know where the player can be when they put in the work and stay consistent.

Our Recommendation

Now that you know the differences between the two and what a coach provides compared to a basketball trainer, we hope it’s easier for you to make an informed decision. While team play is incredibly important, our recommendation is that players ages 7-17 should be focused on training and hiring a basketball trainer. As you can see, a basketball trainer requires a completely different skill set than coaching. It takes a trained eye to know what a player is doing wrong, teach them how to correct it, but have enough patience and knowledge to not discourage the player. Some of the best basketball trainers are those that played the game at the highest of levels and weren’t necessarily the most talented. I know it may be hard to imagine a professional basketball player as not the most talented but hear me out. There are players that didn’t have the most athleticism, weren’t the strongest, weren’t the fastest, but they knew what their strengths were and maximized them. These are the players that earned their stripes through grit and hard work and became some of the best trainers. Why? Because they had to study the game, the moves, every detail they could, to gain an advantage. You want a basketball trainer in your corner if you are ambitious and want to play in college or professionally. If your child is struggling in school, do you get them a tutor? Of course. If your child wants to play piano, do you find a teacher and get them lessons? Of course. If you want your child to learn teamwork, grit, determination, confidence, and develop a supreme work ethic, what do you do? You hire a basketball trainer… immediately.


Stay Relentless. Play the Optimum Way.

Article by Brandon Cochran

Co-Founder Optimum Basketball

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