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Ask the Expert: Jumping Drills Help Shooting, Explosion

  • Date:
    Dec 19, 2014

Having played for and coached under legendary college basketball coach Rollie Massimino, Torrey Pines (Calif.) High School coach John Olive had the opportunity to learn from the best. A four-year starter at Villanova University under Massimino, Olive played a year-and-a-half with the NBA’s San Diego Clippers before injuries cut his playing career short. Olive went on to coach five seasons as an assistant at Villanova, Olive then became the head coach at Loyola Marymount University in California, where he was for five seasons before taking over at Torrey Pines in 1997. In addition to running a strong program at Torrey Pines, Olive was head coach for the 2009 USA Men’s Junior National Select Team at the Nike Hoop Summit. Currently, he serves as a member of the USA Basketball Men’s Developmental Committee.

• Catching Up With Coach Olive

Coach Olive took some time to answer questions that you submitted via Facebook and Twitter. Here are his responses: 

I’ve got a 14-year-old son that plays the point. What drills are best for improving his handle and explosion? -- Chris Eggleston

For explosion, I’m a big believer in jumping. Do jumping drills. Sometimes resistance jumping drills are excellent as well, with bands and things like that. I am against the mechanisms that stretch your Achilles to help you jump. Especially at a young age, you’re taking a chance on doing damage to the Achilles.

Most of our drills are done with two balls. Any of the typical ball-handling drills you’ve seen out there, but I always like to put a ball in each hand so you’re simultaneously working on your left and your right.


How do I improve my jump and my catch and shoot? Make them quicker? -- Ken Keneki 

Again, the jumping is important. Do a lot of jumping drills and resistance jumping drills. The catch-and-shoot part is drill work. You just have to put in tens of thousands of repetitions.

I was a very poor jump shooter when I was a high school player, yet when I made it in the NBA, my calling card was probably my jump shot. And it took hundreds of thousands of repetitions to find the rhythm that I was looking for. The easy answer -- but it’s a hard answer – is hundreds of thousands of repetitions, repetitions doing it the right way.


How do you improve your dunking ability? -- @AndreZamudio2 

I think that dunking is probably the most overrated skill for a young basketball player. The number of times that you’re going to need the dunk is miniscule compared to the number of times you’re going to need to need to make a correct pass or read the correct defense or handle the ball properly or knock a foul shot down.


What do coaches look for most when recruiting a player? Scoring abilities or hustle? -- @dd_putinwork21 

In high school we don’t recruit players, so I really don’t have to deal with that at my level. When I was a college coach, the first thing I looked for – and I would think that many college coaches are the same – is the overall basketball IQ of the athlete. How does he see the floor? How does he understand the game? How does he understand a situation that might be presenting itself at the time? The next thing I think coaches look for, or at least I’d look for, are physical skills and basketball skills. And I think they’re equal. Both of them have to be at a very high level for the position that the young man is attempting to play. Going down the line: How does he get along with his teammates? What kind of team member is he? How does he get along with his coach? Is he coachable? All of those things are important as well.


If I have a desire to play overseas and will do what I have to in order to do so, what will help me get over there? Also what training methods should I go about if I am not physically ready? -- Crestian Johnson

I don’t know a lot about the overseas professional leagues anymore, but my gut feeling tells me that it’s about winning. In all professional sports you have to win. The overseas teams are looking for people that are going to provide wins for them. I know that’s a very esoteric answer. What do you do to get a win? You’ve got to be mentally tough, because you might be in an environment you’re not comfortable with. You better be able to adapt because you might be playing with players that aren’t as athletic or talented as players you see here in this country.

As far as the physical skills, you really need to see a professional about that, have a professional evaluate where you are, what your goals are, to set up a program to help you get to where you want to get to physically.


What is your starting lineup for best player per position currently in the nba? -- @Rehan_Amir101 

Point Guard: Chris Paul

Shooting Guard: Klay Thompson

Small Forward: LeBron James

Power Forward: Blake Griffin

Center: Marc Gasol 


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