benefits and tips of 3 on 3 basketball

Five Benefits of Playing 3-on-3 Basketball

Twenty to thirty years ago, 3-on-3 basketball was extremely popular in the United States. I remember growing up and playing in multiple 3-on-3 basketball tournaments every year like Gus Macker and others, and they were always a ton of fun.

But then some time in the past 15 years or so, the popularity of 3-on-3 basketball began to decline, most likely due to the rise in popularity of AAU, which is the standard 5-on-5 basketball.

youth basketball 3 on 3 league charlotte ncHowever, in the last few years, 3-on-3 basketball has been making a bit of a comeback, especially with the support of USA Basketball and the Jr. NBA.

USA Basketball has been pushing 3-on-3 in part because in 2020 it’s going to be an official sport at the Olympics in Tokyo.

The Jr. NBA has even started youth 3-on-3 basketball leagues around the country that culminate with a national championship.

This year there will be Jr. NBA 3-on-3 leagues in Atlanta (GA), Walnut Creek (CA), New York, Salt Lake City (UT), Aurora (IL), Westfield (IN), Vancouver (WA), Oklahoma City (OK), Whippany (NJ), and we are hosting the 3-on-3 basketball league in Charlotte, NC!

Our Charlotte Jr. NBA 3-on-3 League will be held on Friday evenings from January 5th to February 9th at Carolina Courts Indian Trail and is for boys and girls from U10 to U13. You can find more information here!

Anyway, with 3-on-3 making a comeback in youth basketball, I thought it’d be a good idea to write a blog about some of the benefits of 3-on-3 basketball for young players.

It played a huge role in my development as a basketball player from youth to the pros, so I wanted to express the importance of 3-on-3 in this post.



Video on Ryan Schwieger Princeton University Basketball Player

Pro Skills Basketball Alumni: Ryan Schwieger of Princeton University

PSB alum Ryan Schwieger is this month’s alumni spotlight pick.

Ryan played high school ball at Weddington, a suburb of Charlotte, North Carolina and then moved on to Princeton where he is a freshman this year (2017-18).

So far this season, Ryan is averaging about 15 minutes per game for the Tigers, and you can follow his progress and stats here.

A bit more information on Ryan:

Before Princeton
Ranked as the No. 13 player in the Class of 2017 in North Carolina by … conference coaches’ pick 2016 and 2017 Southern Carolina Conference Player of the Year by the Monroe, N.C. Enquirer-Journal … named 2016 and 2017 Union County Player of the Year by … 2017 NCBCA all-state honoree … Charlotte Observer first-team all-region in 2017 … all-time leading scorer (1,405) and rebounder (675) in school history while also holding the school record for most points in a game (42) and a season (622) and racking up 29 double-doubles … helped Weddington win three conference titles during his career … averaged 21.4 points, nine rebounds and three assists as a senior, increasing his scoring and rebounding averages from 10.5 and 6.9 as a sophomore to 17.7 and 7.9 as a junior … selected to the 2017 North Carolina All-Star game as a member of the West team.

**Info from the Princeton Men’s Basketball website

We wish Ryan the best of luck this season!




Footwork Pivot Basketball Drill

This month’s youth basketball drill is the “footwork-line-pivot” drill. I got this drill from Coach Don Showalter of USA Basketball, and I first implemented it at the USA Basketball Youth Charlotte Boys Regional Camp that I directed back in August.

At that basketball camp, we did it very effectively with 100 kids in lines of 5-6 spread out along the sideline so it clearly works with large groups, or as seen in the video above from a basketball clinic I did with our PSB club team players in September, you can also do the drill using the free throw lines and elbows if you have a smaller group.

In this case, we had about 50-60 kids, and we used all 6 baskets and used both lane lines at each basket, so 12 lines total.

How to do the “Footwork-Line-Pivot” Drill:

#1 Players line up on the baseline and free throw lane line facing the elbow.

#2 Players dribble up the elbow with their outside hand and jump stop to triple threat at the elbow.

#3 Before the drill, the coach tells the players which kind of pivot they should do – left foot forward, left foot reverse, right foot forward, or right foot reverse – and players do that pivot at the elbow.

#4 Again before the drill, the coach tells the players which kind of pass they should do2-hand bounce, 2-hand chest, 1-hand side chest, or 1-hand side bounce – and players make that pass after the pivot.

Those are the basics of the drill, which sounds simple but for youth basketball players, the drill can get tricky because they have to focus on doing multiple things and following multiple instructions.

For example, dribble with outside hand, jump stop, triple threat, correct pivot, correct pass, etc.

Why this Basketball Drill is so Beneficial:

#1 It keeps players moving. Not a lot of standing around!

#2 Players work on dribbling, jump stops, triple threat, pivoting, passing, and following instructions.

#3 Doing multiple things at once or very quickly one right after the other.

When I first started doing this drill not all that long ago, I was amazed at how many players, especially older kids, struggled to pivot with either foot, specifically on reverse pivots!

There are also some good ways to make this drill even harder if you have a more advanced group or make a game out of it if you want to add in some competition simply by adding in a 2nd ball. But more video and explanation of this in an upcoming drill of the month.

Stay tuned!


learning to compete in basketball

Life Lessons in Basketball: Learning to Compete

When Pro Skills Basketball was first founded, Logan and I wanted to come up with an easy way for kids, parents and coaches to remember the values and skills we thought were most important for young players to learn.

From that, we developed the acronym F.O.C.U.S., which originally stood for Fun, Overcome, Concentration, Unity, and Sacrifice.

However, after being immersed in the youth basketball world for a few years year-round, full-time, we realized that perhaps the number one skill we were having to teach kids was toughness, and specifically, toughness in terms of competing and competition. Because of that, we decided to change the C in F.O.C.U.S. from “Concentrate” to “Compete”.

With that said, I realized that we never wrote a replacement blog post on this new skill of “Compete” in our F.O.C.U.S. acronym, so this is what I wanted to address in this blog post.

Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not like we necessarily think that “Competing” is more important that “Concentrating”, which you can read about what we mean by that in our previous blog post. It’s just that over the past 6 years, we’ve found ourselves constantly trying to figure out how to help our kids be more competitive, how to help them understand that they need to compete as hard as they can in everything they do, on or off the court.



Basketball Socks: An Evolution

This is the first installment of a new series of blogs from PSB that will focus on the many clothing fashions and styles within basketball, starting with socks.

We only tackle truly profound topics here on the Pro Skills Basketball blog! With our world famous blog on NBA hairstyles setting the way, this blog series is destined to go viral! Ok, not really, but hopefully some youngsters will get a sense of what it was like “back in the day”, as us old timers say!

For those of us that have played basketball since we were young if you were anything like my friends and I (please hope that you weren’t!), socks were arguably the most important part of your style on the court.

If your sock game was messed up, you might as well commit social suicide. But I will not be starting with my era. Instead, I will choose some of my favorite styles of basketball socks and work my way to present day. Let’s take a closer, more scientific look at these styles and see if we can’t figure out what in the world was going on!

The 1950’s Baggy Socks

As the name indicates, something back in the 1950’s lead basketball players to believe that loose-fitting, baggy socks were the way to go. If you’ve ever seen the movie Hoosiers (and if you haven’t, please close this blog and force yourself to sit silently in1950 baggy basketball socks a corner for 10 minutes. That’s your punishment!

You may have wondered what was going on with this sock choice.

Did the loose, flapping cloth feel good around their ankles?

Did players enjoy the feeling of their socks sliding around in their shoes?

Were players laughed at that didn’t go along with this style?

“Hey guys, look at Ernest! Look how tight his socks are! What a fream!”. If I were a real sports or fashion journalist, I would dedicate some time to interviewing an older hooper. But I’m not, so I won’t. I will resign myself to always wondering what these primitive basketball players were thinking.

Interesting fact: As we will see in the next couple of segments, the baggy socks-tight shorts trend completely reverses itself in the coming decades. Fascinating!

The 1970’s Tube Socks

Sometime between the 1970’s and 1950’s players decided to use that extra surface area of baggy basketball socks to cover their hairy shin bones. Maybe it helped keep their calf muscles warm?

1970 basketball tube socks

Maybe, it’s where they kept their cigarettes?

Maybe, it was just groovy?

One thing is for sure, the tube socks were the precursor to the trend of covering bare skin. Bare skin is soooo out right now! Well, maybe it isn’t…I don’t know. But fast forwarding to the 2010’s and the rise of the Taliban-inspired full-leg tights, I can’t help but wonder if it all started with tube socks in the 1970’s. 

Personally, I’m a big fan of the tube socks. Striped or solid white, for me the higher the better! This trend seems to have lasted to some extent through the mid-80’s, until we see a complete reversal of sock direction. More below.

Interesting Fact: The high sock trend loses steam in the late 80’s early 90’s, until being resuscitated by players like Glenn Robinson in the late 90’s. Fortunately the same can not be said about the 1950’s baggy socks!

The 1990’s Ankle Socks

This was my heyday. By the time I was in middle school, the high socks of the 70’s and 80’s were long gone. Our goal was to fool people into thinking that we were playing sockless basketball. Showing your socks was totally uncool!

We would even go to the extreme of rolling down our socks over our heels and forcing the abundance of cloth into our shoes.

Would the socks eventually bundle up inside our shoes?

For sure!

Was it extremely uncomfortable and distracting in a game?

You bet!

Did we get blisters?

Occasionally. But, we looked good. Look good, play good. That was our motto.

There was an added bonus to the low sock fashion…it showed off our non-existent, twig-like calf muscles. If I were so inclined, I could make the argument that our ankle sock trend directly led to the male obsession with our calf muscles, thus leading guys to get calf implants, thus the downfall of humanity. But that might be a little extreme.

1990 basketball ankle socksInteresting fact: I often, correctly or not, give credit to the great Shawn Kemp for starting the low sock/ankle sock trend.

If you haven’t seen them, please do yourself a favor and watch some of Shawn’s best dunks. Not hard to imagine why every kid wanted to be like him!

The 2010’s No Rules Socks

It’s hard to imagine what took us so long, but after some 50 or 60 years basketball players finally had enough of the white socks. Baggy or tight, low or high, white socks finally became played out over the last few years….is the term “played out” played out? I fully admit that I am no longer cool.

With the introduction of the Nike Elite basketball socks the entire game changed! No colors were off limits. No design was out of bounds. Sock length was no longer important. It has been total mayhem ever since!

Young kids can not get enough of the bright pink or neon green socks. Socks now come with full-blown pictures.

Pictures of what, you ask?

It doesn’t matter!

Dollar bills. Galaxies. Animals. Superheroes. There is no limit!! There are no rules! That’s the beauty of it. Everything is cool! evolution of basketball socksIt’s fun to think about what Norman Dale (seriously, watch Hoosiers!) would think about the calf-high emoji socks today’s kids wear.

I tend to think he would not be a fan. In the meantime, check out Stance for more sock options!

Please leave us a comment on your favorite sock style or era. We would also be interested to hear where you think the future of basketball socks is going.

Maybe we’ll be playing in sweatpants in 10 years. Who knows!