Jim in the Gym Archives

July 2024








 The last 6 MVPs in the NBA are European and-or foreign born.  The top 2 selections this year (2024) in the NBA draft are from France and Australia.  Multiple other Top 20 picks are foreign born.

What the heck is going on?

It used to bother me a LOT that many of the best players were coming from overseas.  After all, we invented basketball, it is a great American game.  It still irks me, but it is outside my control (See the Mindset Traning)  However it is clearly within my control to communicate with the parents and the coaches.

Basketball is the most highly skilled game of all  (Coach Izzo:  “Skills defeat athleticism.”)  Skills are built in 1 way and 1 way only:  repetition.   Competing before a player-team has sharp skills is like driving a vehicle without sufficient preparation.  The vehicle will go forward, but a crash is likely coming soon.

Parents: see the media below.  Choose skill development, conditioning and mental toughness training OVER competition until a clear skill set has been developed and tested.  Players without really sharp skills have a limited shelf life.

Related Media:

  1. NBA Coach discusses Youth Basketball: 2:42
  2. Kobe discusses AAU
  3. Traveling makes no sense
  4. Gino discusses the correct ratio of SKILLS vs COMPETITION

June 2024

Practice-to-game ratio

When a test approaches, you study.  If you want to do well, you study a LOT.  One thing you won’t do is take test after test after test to actually prepare for the test that matters.  That’s nuts!

Yet with youth sports in this country, many programs play more games than they practice.   This makes no sense from a competitive growth perspective but makes infinitely good sense for the organizers, who make a bundle on the games, the fees, the gear.

A correct practice-to-game ratio should be at a minimum 4 to 1.   Ideally it’s closer to 6 to 1.   Skills are NOT built in games, but in practice. Parents, the most powerful word in Youth Sports is NO.

Related Video

  1. Kobe discusses travel ball  
  2. Traveling makes no sense
  3. Gino discusses this ratio

May 2024

Go to the beach…

Summer approaches. Basics families live in West Michigan, pretty near Lake Michigan. Take it from someone who did NOT grow up in this spectacular place. NEVER EVER EVER travel away from the lake in the summer time, especially on weekends. Your son or daughter can improve just as much if not MORESO by staying put, working on their skills and then do what kids do naturally.  Go play in the sand! 

Related Videos

  1. Go to the Beach in Michigan
  2. In the summer, GET A JOB

April 2024


It is a well known stat that roughly 1% of HS players go on to play in college (that is 1 in 100).  And the % of these players who get ANY FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE is a fraction again of that 1 %.

In other words, really, REALLY slim.

So a HS athlete’s team experience essentially is over by age 17-18 for almost all of these kids.

All the supposedly “elite” teams and “exposure” tourneys are manipulative of the parents.  They are little more than a  well-oiled pocket lining for the organizers, since 99% of these kids will not play past 12th grade.  

RELATED: The Underwear Olympis 2:30


March 2024

Travel Teams

At Basics we do not believe in travel teams at all, at any level in any sport.  We understand this is counter to the way youth sports is conducted, where travel teams are often thought to be the most competitive.

There is nothing further from the truth.

Briefly, players improve by working on their SKILL, their CONDITION and their MENTAL TOUGHNESS.  Games are merely a benchmark of skill.  Games do NOT create skill, they reveal skill.  Travel teams are a waste of time, energy, effort and money.  Avoid them. 

RELATED:  Condi Rice Commission on NCAA Mens Basketball.

RELATED:  Basics video on Travel Teams

February 2024  

I have always wanted to communicate brief, cogent thoughts on Youth Sports.  I have been working on a book on that topic.  It may morph into a Parent Handbook, a guide to navigating the many facets of youth sports.

Parents are ALWAYS welcome to call with any questions. I believe that your youth sports choices are among the most important you will make for your kids. 

Today’s topic is pre-existing!  Go to our Candid Shots library of video logs that address many important topics.  Travel Sports, Try outs, Basketball’s MOST IMPORTANT SKILL DRILL, Youth tournaments, Normal Improvement and many other topics of interest.