Gaining Self-Confidence Is Result Of Hard Work, Repetition
Former NBA player Cory Alexander, who now coaches an AAU team in the Washington, D.C., area, has been involved with USA Basketball as both a player and coach.
Alexander, who was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in 1995 and played seven seasons in the NBA, won gold as a member of 1993 USA U21 World Championship and the USA U20 Championship teams. At just 19 years old, he was one of the youngest members of those teams. His most recent involvement with USA Basketball was as a court coach during the 2014 Junior National Team mini-camp in October. He was also a court coach this past summer for the 2014 USA Basketball Men's U17 World Championship Team training camp. In April, he served as an assistant coach for the 2014 USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Select Team that defeated the World Select Team to win the 2014 Nike Hoop Summit.
In addition to coaching his AAU team, Team Takeover, Alexander also runs the Cory Alexander Basketball School, where he works with kids from April through early November.
Coach Alexander took some time to answer questions that you submitted via Facebook and Twitter. Here are his responses:
How do you find confidence in yourself? -- Kyle Huang
Confidence is built by knowing that you've put the work into being successful at whatever you're doing. The more repetitions that you have doing something, the more confident you will be doing it when it matters the most.
I currently coach 4-8th graders, and struggle to find an offense that's simple enough for them to grasp but also will give them an idea of how to play in a structured offense in the future. I have a makeshift offense I've created but was wondering if you had any suggestions. -- Jr Hester
At an early age, I would recommend keeping your offense simple, such as using down screens on both sides of the court, and then incorporating additional action, such as double screens and staggered screens, with post feeds. Also, remember they're never too young to play pick and roll.
I'm a scoring point guard who likes to make plays for others. How do I balance that out evenly? – @iambear10
I was a scoring point guard, and the way that I was able to balance it was using my aggressiveness on the offensive end to make plays for others, once you've established that you can score, you get more attention from the opposing team's defense, which then allows your teammates to be open more often. At that point, it just becomes about making the right pass and the right play.
How does a coach develop his coaching philosophy? -- Stephanos Allen
I believe coaches develop their coaching philosophy based on what they're comfortable with teaching. That often comes through experience, but the most important part is to be able to get the players to buy in and execute what they're teaching. The best coaches adapt to a philosophy that fits the strength of the players on their team, which can change from year to year.
How can I improve my jump shot and become quicker? -- Donjuan Deezy
The best advice I can give for developing a jump shot is to begin with shooting one-handed form shots. Start close to the rim and work your way out. It allows you to keep your elbow in, and exaggerate your mechanics.
To develop quickness, you want to do agility drills, and become a better-conditioned athlete. Also, the greater your skill, the quicker you can become at performing that skill. As with everything, the more you do it correctly, the better you become at it, and the quicker/faster you can do it.
Any advise for a young coach? (17) -- Ben Riddle
The best advice I can give to a young coach is to find some experienced coaches and learn from them. Developing a healthy relationship with players is very important as well, but becoming an assistant to and learning from someone who has done it the "right way" is the first step to being successful as a coach. You can learn what "not to do" just as much as "what to do" from watching others.
How do you start training a player from nothing? Dribble, shot, fitness?? What's first and what's next? -- Erik C. Domínguez
I believe the first step to training a player at the most basic level is teaching them to do layups with both hands. It starts to develop coordination, as well as teaches them how to try something new in comparison to do what is comfortable for them. Next is ball handling, which can also be fitness, because I use ball handling for conditioning as well. Most of the time, if your players are willing to put in the work in both of these areas to improve, you've found someone that loves the game, and normally they become a sponge from that point.