Elevate Your Game With Training Tips From HSBCAMPS: Form Shooting

The wait is over! Constantly hit up the last few weeks by young men and women eager to enhance their skills, I am proud to announce that our blog will now serve as a platform for weekly drills and training tips. These drills will not only challenge our network of young athletes, but encourage them to utilize and take advantage of every minute they spend on the court. Stop wasting time and start making a difference. Kicking off our “Elevate Your Game Training Series” I have decided to start with something basic yet effective; Form Shooting.

Be honest, when you step onto the court to work on your shot, the first place you go is the three point line? Maybe not every time but it has definitely happened more than once. I think I can safely say that everyone would like to be a good shooter but most people don’t know how. Shooting in my opinion, consists of three main components: form, repetition, and the biggest of the three is confidence. I remember speaking to a group of camp participants last year about Boston Celtic Ray Allen, and his incredibly poor performance in the NBA Finals a few years ago. He couldn’t buy a bucket. Although I am a huge Celtic hater (lol), my point was not to bash on Ray. Ray didn’t forget how to shoot (he is perhaps the best shooter to ever play the game). Rather he lost his confidence and as a shooter myself I know that all the practice in the world will be for nothing if you don’t have confidence.

Form Shooting was introduced to me as a high school player and something I worked on far into my collegiate and semi professional career. Although I was born with the ability to shoot the heck out of the basketball, I still found myself constantly working to improve. I would begin every workout with Form Shooting, standing no more than three feet from the basket to get my shot warm. Here’s how it works:

Form Shooting’s purpose is to train players to shoot with the correct form. Begin by standing 3 feet from the basket (spots are numbered 1-5 above). From each of the 5 spots:
1.) Make sure your feet are square to the rim and about shoulders width apart.
2.) Make sure your elbow is in and straight. Do not shoot with your elbow out.
3.) Bend your knees.
4.) Work on finishing high and holding your follow through, finishing every shot with your hand pointed at the basket.
DO NOT USE THE BACKBOARD and instead try and swish everything. Your goal is to make 5-10 shots from each of the 5 spots before moving on to the next. See how many shots it takes you to make 10.

Move back! From around 6 feet out, do the exact same thing. Make sure that you are still maintaining the correct form. Repetition is the key to this drill. You are training your body to break bad habits and shoot with proper form. If you would like to challenger yourself a little bit, make a consequence (push-ups or running) for every time you miss. For example set your goal at 7 makes. Every time you miss, do 3 push-ups. So if it takes you 15 tries to hit 7 shots, you would do 24 push-ups. Do the push-ups at the end before you move on to the next spot instead of stopping every time you miss.

Keep moving back! Every time you complete a round of 5 spots, move back a few more feet. Remember, only move back as far as you can while maintaining proper shooting form. If you find yourself struggling to maintain your form, go back to where you are comfortable shooting. TIPS: Your power as a shooter is in your legs. If you are missing short, it is most likely a result of not using your legs and trying to use your arms too much.

Form Shooting is great to do a couple times a week, and an excellent way to warm up your shot every time you arrive at the gym. You will begin to notice significant changes in your shot if you are doing this effectively and often. Your shooting percentage will improve, your form will improve, your confidence will go up, and if you have accepted my challenge and have made consequences for yourself, you will get stronger (from all the push-ups). Hope this is helpful, have fun with it, and stay tuned for more drills and training tips to come.

Always Have A Backup Plan

It’s been a little over a week since the final horn sounded in Houston. The 2011 NCAA Tournament was one of the best in history, filled with upsets, coaches rising to the occasion (Shaka), and a string of exciting finishes. Although the Championship game was quite disappointing (Yes, I was rooting for Butler), the most memorable part of the night for me came in a few post-game remarks by one of the games biggest stars. Reminded of this (in an article I just came across on CNNSI), I thought I would share with all of you, who may have missed it.

Over the past few months, Kemba Walker has become a household name. An incredibly gifted young man, Kemba single handedly led his team through a grueling Big East Tournament and then on to a National Championship title. Today, with little surprise, the junior guard announced his decision to forego his senior year and declare himself eligible for the upcoming NBA Draft. Despite a list of recent accolades and achievements on the court, it’s his off court accomplishment I find most impressive.

As I learned in Kemba’s post game interview, May 8, 2011 will be no ordinary day for the up and coming superstar. He will not only celebrate his 21st birthday but also attire cap and gown as a member of UCONN’s graduating class. Yes, that’s right Kemba is graduating and in just three years. I have had the privilege of being a college athlete and have close relationships with many of them, and I cannot imagine the time and dedication it would take to not only play an intense Big East schedule, but also graduate in just three years. This is something that many cannot accomplish in four, without playing a collegiate sport.

So let’s recap, Kemba is a Big East Champ, National Champ, a future NBA lottery pick, and now a soon to be college graduate. Amazing accomplishments you may be saying to yourself, and I’m sure that almost anyone would love to be Kemba right now, but how does this apply to you?

Every year at HSBCAMPS, we have the honor of working with hundreds of young men and women in search of their own dreams. Although it is my hope that all of them go on to become the next Lebron James, the reality is that’s probably not going to happen. That is why it is so important to ALWAYS HAVE A BACKUP PLAN!

The ability to play basketball even at the highest levels is a gift that can easily be taken away. One wrong step or one bad injury and your dream can quickly come to an end. What would you do? Where would you turn? This is why coaches, teachers, and parents constantly stress the importance of EDUCATION. Kemba is in elite company not just for graduating early but for graduating at all. Think of how many players, athletes, and young men and women limit their opportunities by not taking their schoolwork seriously. Make sure you are not that person and strive to be like Kemba and other collegiate athletes taking things seriously in the classroom. Congratulations and good luck Kemba on a long and bright career in the NBA. Maybe we can get you out to camp one day.

Why HSBCAMPS? New Page Added To HSBCAMPS.COM

Ever wonder what makes HSBCAMPS different than the rest? Check out our new Why HSBCAMPS page and learn more about America’s fastest growing youth basketball program.

Why HSBCAMPS?
HSBCAMPS was founded in 2007, as a small youth clinic, intended to encourage young athletes to fulfill their potential through a process of mentoring, motivating, and building confidence both on and off the basketball court. Just four years later, it’s America’s fastest growing youth basketball program and leader in bringing kids of all ages, incomes and abilities, face-to-face with the pros. Backed by a “Quality over Quantity” mentality, HSBCAMPS world-class collegiate and professional coaching staff offers every participant extensive basketball knowledge and instruction on all aspects of the game from intense one-on-one individualized training to various game specific and situational drills. These time-tested practices have allowed HSBCAMPS to quickly climb toward a status amongst the most “elite” basketball training programs in the country and in a very short period of time.

What’s Different About HSBCAMPS?
At HSBCAMPS, we focus on developing every young player who makes the commitment to attend one of our programs. Our individualized training approach allows our staff to connect and educate every player, regardless of their, gender, skill level or ability.

HSBCAMPS Highlights Include:

8:1 Player to Coach Ratio
15+ Hours of Individualized Skill Instruction
1-on-1 Training with Actual Pros
Lesson Plans & Evening Assignments
Intense Mental & Physical Training
In Depth & Personalized Player Evaluations

Why Are HSBCAMPS Sessions Coed?
HSBCAMPS mission is to provide every participant, male or female, with a world-class basketball camp experience. Our focus is on developing young basketball players and expanding mental and physical toughness. Although we do incorporate games and game specific training into our programs, participants spend much of the day engaged in individualized skill building sessions and small group instructional workouts. It is these practices and techniques that have allowed us to effectively train and combine both genders.

Why Does HSBCAMPS Take Such A Broad Age Range of Players?
At HSBCAMPS, we believe that everyone possesses leadership qualities and the ability to mentor younger generations. Just as our oldest group of participants looks up to our staff of collegiate and professional players and coaches, our younger campers look up to their elders as well. Though it is hard to remember that far back, all of our coaches including those in the NBA were at one point an elementary school player looking up to those ahead of them. Today they are “giving back”. Players of all ages and abilities can learn something from one another, whether it is initially recognized or not.

A Familiar Place

Yesterday morning I jumped in the car (my new home) and steered from Bend, Oregon towards Boise, Idaho, the next stop on my never-ending northwest tour. All kidding aside, I do love traveling to all of our various sites and enjoy all the new people that I have had a chance to meet. About half way through my drive, I was reminded of an event that took place nearly four years ago, and one that not many people know.

I am a firm believer that nothing happens by chance, and I have come to learn that the development and unimaginable success this program has achieved over the last several years was no accident. It all started nearly fours years ago, when I got in my car in Bend and headed east. Although I wasn’t heading to Boise, the road was still the same. I had just finished up a short stint with an IBL team and was returning to Sun Valley, ID, my childhood home for the summer. My father, insisting that my summer not consist of just working out and playing ball, told me I was more than welcome to spend a few months at home, but a summer job was a must. Not wanting to work in a restaurant, or the desk at a local gym, I contacted the Community School, where I had once been a student and asked if I could run a clinic out of their gym. Though they laughed a little at first, telling me that I would struggle to get anyone to show up, they were open to the idea and green lighted my request.

Recently becoming acquainted with Coach Keith Zalaski, the two of us ran a six-week clinic for boys and girls in the elementary, middle, and high school grades. The program was very well attended and just four years later, here we are. Back to the purpose of this post, I remember that drive several years ago because two things happened: Within a matter of minutes I received two phone calls, both of which came about 10 miles east of Burns, Oregon. The first was from Janelle Goddard at The Community School, confirming the usage of the gym. The second, was from the Idaho Mountain Express, a local newspaper wanting info on the spur of the moment program that I put together. The one question that I will always remember fumbling to answer when asked was; “What is your new program called?” I stuttered a little unsure of what to say, having been so preoccupied with organizing the thing, that I hadn’t even considered its name. Thinking for a few seconds, I replied, “Hot Shot Basketball Camp.”

Four years, hundreds of participants, and thousands of miles later, I find myself passing through that very spot where HSBCAMPS received its name. It is amazing to think back to all the successes, friendships, and lives of both players and coaches that have been impacted on this journey and all of those that lie ahead. Although the road is still long and we have many miles to go, it is well worth the time, and always fun to find myself back in a familiar place.

HSB Bracket Challenge – Put Your Skills to the Test

HSB Nation, do you have what it takes to break this years bracket?  Let’s find out.  Now that the seeding has finally been released, visit our group site at https://hsbcamps.mayhem.cbssports.com/e, and make your picks before games start on Tuesday.

Group password is HSBC11.  Winner of our bracket challenge will receive an HSBCAMPS gear package filled with all the latest HSBCAMPS apparel.  No purchase necessary to participate.  All you have to do to is visit https://hsbcamps.mayhem.cbssports.com/e and fill out your bracket.  Good luck and hope to see you in this years Bracket Challenge

Young Entrepreneurs Sync Up For Better Basketball Communities

In 2003, Carson Sofro & Ryan Girardot knew nothing of each other, let alone the businesses they would one-day command.  Sofro was half way through his freshman season at the University of Redlands in southern California, and Girardot, was an ambitious young teenager, flirting with the idea of running a start-up basketball league out of his driveway in Forney, Texas.  Today, they are the CEO’s of their own corporations, taking their respective basketball businesses to new heights.  Sofro’s HSBCAMPS, has quickly become America’s fastest growing youth basketball program and Girardot’s “Shamrock Basketball Association”, is the fastest growing youth and adult basketball league in Texas (with plans underway for national expansion).  When the two became aware of what the other was doing, a partnership was quickly formed.

“When Ryan found out that we were coming to Forney this summer, he immediately reached out and things took off from there,” explains Sofro.  “Being a young entrepreneur myself, I have a deep respect for what Ryan and his group are trying to do, and I think the feeling is mutual.”  The two groups will not only share a partnership, but they will share a new home at the brand new Forney Sports Center as well.  HSBCAMPS will host one of their nationally recognized youth basketball programs geared towards teaching and developing the fundamentals of basketball for boys and girls in elementary, middle and high school grades in June. “SBA”, will open their second league campaign at the Center around the same time.

I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Carson, who shares my same passion for youth basketball development.” Girardot shared.   “I am looking forward to building a partnership that will benefit both the older players in our league, and the younger players in HSB Camps, for many years to come.” For more information on both programs or to register for one of their events visit HSBCAMPS at www.hsbcamps.com or Shamrock Basketball Association (SBA) at www.sbabasketball.com.

Even The Best Get Better

Every once in a while, I’ll come across an article, video, or news story that I feel is relevant to share with the HSBCAMPS family on our various social and online outlets.  Today, I came across one in particular that really caught my attention and I felt worth sharing.

Though known by many for their various talents and abilities, (to a very small group in southern California), the trio of Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, and Russell Westbrook has come to be known as the “Saint Monica Three”.   Russell, an All-Star point guard, Love, a walking double-double, and Rose a leading candidate for this years MVP award, took their basketball game to new heights this off-season, working out six days a week inside the small gymnasium on St. Monica’s campus.  All three are having standout seasons, averaging career best numbers, and elevating themselves to an elite status amongst their peers in the NBA.

Now you may ask yourself why does this matter?  Well the answer to that question is simple.  Every summer HSBCAMPS trains, mentors, and develops hundreds of young basketball players fighting to achieve their own greatness.  We attempt to instill in our players, the reality of what it means to be the best, the importance of your work ethic and dedication, and that when you feel tired and burnt out, that is when you need to push even harder.  There are tens of millions, maybe even hundreds of millions (who knows) of basketball players all over the world, training, developing, and elevating their games at this very moment.  They are competing for a handful of spots with no guarantee of anything.   They are driven by the hope that one day they can sign that “big contract”, that “massive endorsement deal”, and say “I made it”.

Lee Jenkins story on CNNSI today, brings to light that as hard as you think you are working, the guys that are already where you want to be are working just as hard if not harder.  The “Saint Monica Three” were good players in the 2009-2010 season.  This year they are great players, pushing their teams, torching the record books, and perhaps leading an MVP race.  When I hear about the best working to get better, it motivates me because I know as a player I need to work that much harder.  If the guys who are in the NBA are working out 4 hours a day, I need to be working out 8 hours a day.  I need to shoot 100 shots to their 50.  I need to do everything I can to be seen and exceed those around me.

The real question then becomes not what I have to do, but whether I will do it?  As you read this and prepare for your own off-season, I want you to think about your own goals and aspirations, and how you plan to accomplish them.  How hard are you willing to work?  Are you ready to work harder than all the rest?  Do you really want it?  If you want something and you work for it anything is possible.   We just need to be realistic and recognize whether we truly put in the work to make that anything possible.

Link to Lee Jenkins Article:

https://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/lee_jenkins/03/03/derrick.rose/index.html?eref=sihp

Get To Know Your HSBCAMPS Personnel With Antoine Hood

At HSBCAMPS, we are kicking off a new series on our blog called “Know Your HSBCAMPS Personnel (KYHSBCP)”. KYHSBCP is an up close and personal look into the lives of the various professional and collegiate men and women that make up our All-Star staff. Beginning our series, I recently got a chance to catch up with Antoine Hood, a highly decorated Air Force Academy Grad, professional ball player, father, and now one of the newest members of the HSBCAMPS staff.

Antoine, why don’t you give our readers a little insight on how you got involved with HSBCAMPS?

I got involved with HSBCAMPS through many of my teammates, including HSB Director Carson Sofro, who I played with in Colorado in the NBADL.

Why do you think you are so passionate about helping others and make such an effort to give back?

I feel that everyone has a responsibility to give back to others because their gifts and talents come from Heaven in which they were never ours to not share with the world.

What are you looking forward to most about this upcoming summer with HSB?

I’m looking forward to seeing the development of each camper from the first day to the last, giving them the tools necessary to continue their basketball success.

Being someone who has played ball in many different arenas all over the world, what would you say is your most memorable basketball moment?

The first game I put on a Denver Nuggets uniform and ran through that tunnel hearing the fans screaming!!!! It was overwhelming to know that I had made it to a significant point in my basketball journey!!!

A lot of the participants in our program have favorite players and guys they look up to in the league.  Who would you say had the most influence on you as a young player?

I would have to say Reggie Miller because we have similar builds and he is so strong while playing the game with such passion and intensity every night!

We are always looking for good trivia questions to ask the kids for giveaways at camp. What’s your favorite movie?

Oh man! I’m just an avid movie watcher and there are too many good ones to count.

How about a favorite food?

Man these are tough. I’m a huge connoisseur of food and just love eating great tasting cuisine.

Favorite Color?

No favorite color either. I believe that each color is beautiful to the beholder.

Lucky Number?

I don’t actually believe in luck but rather that everyone is blessed!!!! Besides you make the number, the number doesn’t make you!!!

Do you have a favorite anything?

Basketball is my favorite sport, LOL!!!

Do you have any final thoughts or words of wisdom for all those kids working hard out there?

“No one knows their true potential, so let’s find it together”– Antoine Hood II

KYHSBCP With Antoine Hood – Click the link for a special video message from Antoine.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this first edition of the “Know Your HSBCAMPS Personnel” series featuring Antoine Hood. Stay tuned for the next chapter in the series when we go one-on-one with camp favorite Coach Tayron Thomas.


 

A Diamond In The Rough

It’s All-Star weekend 2011 and Los Angeles is buzzing.  At NBA Jam Session, agents, photographers, managers, entourages, and eager fans crowd every inch of open space, anxious to get a glimpse of the action.  At 6 feet 5 inches tall, Felipe Lopez is definitely not the tallest, the biggest, or even the most athletic person in attendance.  However, as his peers will quickly tell you, there is little doubt that he has one of the biggest hearts.  Once touted the best high school basketball player in the country, the Dominican Republic native and former NBA star has taken the spirit of “giving back” to a whole new level.  Selfless in every meaning of the word, Lopez has transitioned roles from player to mentor, teaching more than one hundred school aged children the game of basketball, without charging them a dime.  “Felipe is a flame,” explains HSBCAMPS Founder Carson Sofro; “A flame that will hopefully one day spread like wildfire throughout the entire NBA community.  He is a diamond in the rough.”

Felipe’s passion for others stems from his love for his son and desire to create opportunities that were absent during his own childhood.  Though for many, All-Star weekend is about parties and glamour, for Lopez, it’s all business.  Running from appearances and interviews, to clinics and events, the highlight of Felipe’s weekend is not the lights of Hollywood, but rather the faces of the hundreds of young people he gets to interact with.  He is utilizing the weekend lineup of events (with the help of some of his NBA friends), to raise money for his Foundation in New York, and work with HSBCAMPS Director Carson Sofro to further the nationally growing basketball initiatives reach, amongst the NBA’s elite. “The weekend has been great.  Between the NBA events, the Foundations progress, and reconnecting with HSB, it has all been very successful,” explains Lopez.  “I’m looking forward to getting home to the kids in New York and another amazing summer ahead on the road with my friends at HSBCAMPS.”

Sofro and Lopez first connected in 2010, at an HSBCAMPS summer session in Bend, Oregon and their friendship has grown ever since. “There were so many synergies between what Felipe is doing in New York, and what we are trying to do all over the country, that we quickly embraced each others strengths and formed a partnership,” shared Sofro.  “We are blessed to have been able to unite and share our visions both locally and nationally, but recognize there is still so much left to be done.”  Lopez will return to a reloaded HSBCAMPS staff in 2011, eager to continue the work that he started in 2010.  “It is great to get outside of the big cities and into the real heart of America,” explains Lopez.  “There are kids everywhere that need help and I am so glad for the success of my own foundation and the opportunity I have been given with HSBCAMPS.”

For more information on HSBCAMPS, Felipe Lopez, and the work they’re doing, visit https://www.new.hsbcamps.com.

“Between The Impossible & The Possible”

Although I find myself busier by the day, if there is one area that I try to focus most of my attention, it is on the kids and the lives that have been impacted by our program. HSBCAMPS has taken our staff and myself on an unimaginable journey to cities big and small, all the while connecting us with some amazing young people in pursuit of their own dreams and ambitions. I try as much as possible to stay in close contact with all of our kids via facebook and email, keeping up with how their seasons are going, sharing congratulations when they have a great game, or sometimes sending words of encouragement when things don’t seem to be going their way. As I sit down to write this entry tonight, I am privileged to write about a group of very special young people that I have had the honor to get to know these last few years.

The Wood River Valley, where I spent much of my young life, is not known for its basketball prowess. Though scattered with some very nice facilities, the game of basketball takes a big back seat to all of the various outdoor activities and other sports the valley has to offer. I will forever remember the looks of confusion I got from different people in the community when I told them I was going to start a basketball camp. All that aside, there’s an amazing group of young women, who have quickly put the game and their valley on high alert.

Wood River High School’s girls basketball team, is turning heads. Improving an impressive 17-7 record last year, the 19-2 Wolverine’s, just won the district tournament and captured only the third birth to state in the schools history with the #4 overall seed. The amazing Coach Mendy Benson, has her lady Wolverine’s running on all cylinders eager for Thursday’s opening match up against Mountain Home. On behalf of all of our coaches that have had the opportunity to work with HSBCAMPS participants KT, Cheyenne, Emmalie, Haylee, Hunter, and Favi, as well as the entire HSBCAMPS family, I would like to send these ladies a tremendous congratulations and wish them the best of luck this week. They are not just competing for a state title, but for all who have overcome adversity and worked hard to achieve greatness. We know that you will do us proud.

Ladies, your hard work and determination has lifted all of us and inspired further generations with the hope that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible.

Remember, if you have your own news or information you think we should share with the HSBCAMPS community, please feel free to let me know. In the words of famous baseball manager Tommy Lasorda; “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s (or woman’s) determination.”

**If you get a second please post a note and let these ladies know they have your support. I know they have mine. A special thanks to KT for keeping me posted throughout the tourney.