I have been giving private basketball sessions in Boston for the past four years. I have developed a training method called “The Basketball Edge,” based on the principles I learned from my own private coach, and incorporating the lessons I found most helpful as a college and professional player.
I enjoy working with players of all ages and levels, but I especially enjoy the challenge of coaching teenagers, because with them I can make the biggest difference in their game and lives. The key to teaching teenagers is communication—reaching them where they live: it doesn’t matter how much you know if you can’t present it to them in ways they can immediately grasp.
Every kid is a natural-born learner, but teenagers, especially boys, can take a while to hit their stride when it comes to academics. I was that kind of high school student at first—I wasn’t even thinking about college, much less getting into a decent school. Basketball turned me on to learning and gave me an edge that made admission to a good school possible.
Sports is a great vehicle for discovering one’s potential as a learner. Once you learn that you can systematically set out to master something you care about—that you can learn to learn and gain the confidence, self-esteem, and rewards that come with discipline—then it’s just a short step to realizing you can succeed in any area of life you choose.
I was not a naturally gifted athlete, but I was willing to work hard at the game I loved and develop my skills, and I ended up having a great college career and an opportunity to play professionally with NBA players overseas. But it doesn’t matter what level you reach. What matters is developing yourself to the fullest extent of your ability. Having the opportunity to help kids do that with their basketball is for me, as a coach, a great joy and privilege.
High School Career: Three-year varsity starter at the most decorated boy’s basketball program in Massachusetts - Cambridge Rindge & Latin School; McDonald’s All-America nominee out of Massachusetts.
College Career: Three-year varsity starter at Bowdoin College; as a senior I helped lead my team to the best season in the college’s history, the league title game, and the second round of the NCAA tournament. I was named the team’s MVP and nominated an All-League, All-State, All-New England, and JSR All-American player.
Professional Career: Two years of professional basketball in Israel and Europe. Won the Israeli preseason national tournament and finished in 2nd place in the country’s top professional league, playing for world renown Hapoel Jerusalem. My teammates included six former NBA players and four Israeli national team members, as we also played against the highest level of international competition in the EuroCup League.
I like to start off stretching and talking with my students. I want to know where they are currently in their basketball, what their next step is, what their long term goals and dreams are. I want to know who their favorite players are, what they like about those players and their games. I then gear my sessions to engage my students’ greatest interests at that moment. By the end of the hour, I want them to feel an immediate, concrete improvement in their game.
Basketball, like most sports, is a game of seconds and inches. I can show you specifically how to gain those fractions of seconds and inches that will give you an edge. You don’t have to be the biggest, fastest, strongest, most athletic person to be a better, happier player. You just have to learn the correct skills and work at them. Right away you can be a better ball handler, passer, and defender. Right away, with the jab step, for instance, you can go past almost anyone. The jab is an angled step, not a long step, but a 12-inch, 45-degree step. Sell the jab to the defender, then rip the ball below the knee so that you’re already sweeping down into your move and you will generate maximum speed and power without any loss of time.
Everyone wants to be a better shooter: right away you can be a better shooter. 9/10ths of shooting is preparation, the actual shot is the easiest, least important part. Right away you can learn how to get open—running low into the shot with the target of your hands held high, powering up from the legs so that you catch and release in one continuous, fluid motion, maximizing force while minimizing time and wasted effort. With this solid base of preparation, right away you can shoot quicker from greater distance with improved accuracy. By the end the session, I like to see that smile of recognition, as you feel within yourself the satisfaction of knowing when you’ve got it right.