“If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.” I’m sure we’ve all heard a form or iteration of that expression from a coach, parent, or teacher at some point in our lives.
From a basketball perspective, that philosophy could potentially prove to be challenging for young people around the world who are currently stuck inside as the COVID-19 global pandemic continues to be a threat to so many. Schools around the country are closed, as are gyms, workout facilities, and many public parks. These are places where young aspiring basketball players can workout and improve their craft. But for the time being at least, these outlets are no longer a reality.
On March 20th, the “Jr. NBA at Home” video series was launched, which is comprised of various basketball skills and drills led by NBA and WNBA players (as well as some coaches and former NBA legends). These drill/skill series videos are designed to be done individually and at home “to inspire youth around the world to stay active in a healthy and safe way.” Disconnected from teammates, coaches, trainers, or even a hoop, these training videos are available on YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram for kids to continue to practice the game of basketball.
Mohamed Bamba, D.J. Augustin, and Michael Carter-Williams have all led their own skills videos through the Jr. NBA at some point this month.
On April 6th, Bamba was the first player on the Magic to release a workout video, which focuses on the importance of ball-handling.
Bamba joked in the video about how his mom would yell at him when he was growing-up for dribbling a basketball indoors (with “people downstairs”), so he modeled how dribbling the ball through your legs can be modified to simply bringing the ball back-and-forth between your legs (and around your waist).
“Until we get our courts back, until we get out from being at home in quarantine, I think these are some go-to things (to work on)” Bamba said in the video.
As a father of two myself, I completely understand the vital importance of keeping kids active and moving during these unusual times. In fact, when I saw Bamba’s video in early April, I put my oldest daughter through the drill series that day.
the lockdown D on the in the background https://t.co/GPElAluwW0— Mo Bamba (@TheRealMoBamba) April 7, 2020
Magic starting point guard D.J. Augustin put out a video from his garage last week that focused heavily on dribbling. Augustin modeled a circuit that involved dribbling two basketballs at the same time while holding “a strong low-base” (dribbling low, alternating dribbles, and dribbling hi-low).
All you need is two basketballs and some space ‼️— Jr. NBA (@jrnba) April 16, 2020
Tag a friend to see of they can keep up with these drills led by @augustinDj14 from the @OrlandoMagic #JrNBAatHome #NBATogether pic.twitter.com/ekuFRk8IwW
Veteran guard Carter-Williams, along with NBA Skills trainer Jordan Lawley, launched an episode yesterday through Jr. NBA at Home in a longer-form content series that lasted 20 minutes.
Carter-Williams demonstrated in the video some multi-purpose drills (incorporating stretching and ball-handling), some through-the-legs and behind-the-back dribbling, some “pound-dribbles (left and right hand)”, and a grueling “push-pull, behind-the-back, and between-the leg” dribble-combination challenge.
“Some of the biggest things that I’ve learned is that - if you’re conditioned, if your ball-handling is tight (keep doing these things everyday), you’ll go into a game with more confidence,” an exhausted Carter-Williams said in the video between drills. “That’s something that I’ve learned playing seven years in the league. You can build your confidence just through your work on your skills. By the time you’re ready to go into the game, you’re ready to go.”
The Jr. NBA is the league’s global youth basketball program for boys and girls that teaches fundamental skills and core values of the game (such as teamwork, respect, determination, and community). The focus of the program is to grow and improve the youth basketball experience, offering a free online curriculum covering all facets of the game (practice plans, instructional videos, workout videos, etc.).
So far, the Jr. NBA at Home videos have been viewed by more than 57 million people (across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Tik Tok platforms).
Apparently, even some NBA players are watching the drills/skills videos. In a lighthearted exchange on Twitter, Orlando Magic starting shooting guard Evan Fournier tweeted at Bamba (presumably after watching Bamba’s video) “I know you’re not gassed from those (drills) bro?” To be fair, Bamba was breathing rather heavily.
“LMAO I may have put on some weight since I saw you. Not out of shape, but I’m sweating a lot more,” Bamba tweeted in response to Fournier.
Orlando Magic players have been doing some amazing things while NBA basketball has been suspended, both for arena workers as well as for the entire Orlando community.
It’s also really nice to see some Magic players committing their time to teaching the game of basketball to kids all over the world.
For more information about the Jr. NBA, visit www.jrNBA.com or www.NBATogether.com.