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Basketball Basics launches Tuesday!!

The FAST basketball family is proud to announce that we have a new program launching called Basketball Basics. The program is for 1st through 3rd graders who are interested in learning the fundamentals of basketball in a positive, encouraging, and competitive environment. We will have current High School FAST Elite players demonstrating during these clinics. This will be an exciting and knowledge packed clinic. 

  • Days: Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday 
  • Time: 4pm-5pm 

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Club season has arrived!

The Spring/Summer club season has arrived. This always brings back memories from when I played on the circuit and how special a time it was. The competition was fierce on the court but off the court I can still remember the laughter, jokes, and funny moments that we shared. Our team consisted of a starting 5 that went on to become starters in the Pac-10. Erica Mashia- USC, Jamie Redd- UW, Jennie Leander- Cal, Sonya Curtis-Oregon, and myself at Arizona. We had 4 other teammates that also played at some level in college as well.  Our team had exceptional talent but what made us special and what I remember the most was how unselfish, yet competitive the girls were. 

The biggest challenge during AAU/Club ball is being able to gel with new teammates, figure out your role, and still stand out in front of the many college coaches who will be watching at the NCAA viewing tournaments. Be careful to not get caught up in the hype of the recruiting process and the pressure it brings. If you stay true to your principles as a person first you will do fine. If you don't know what that looks like, here are a few questions you should be asking yourself: Does my attitude and play reflect a team first mentality? Do I look my coach in the eye when they are speaking with me? What do I look like when I've made a mistake? Do I make an impact when I step on floor? Impact is measured in several ways, not just points and rebounds. Setting great screens, making the extra pass, bringing energy and passion when your teammate makes a great play. All impactful moments in a game. There are no stats for those things but they stand out and showcase who you are as a person, not just a player. 

Being able to forge a role for yourself can be the hardest hurdle when you join a team that is at the elite level. Finding your role and competing for playing time is a pre-cursor to what you will encounter should you get a Division 1 scholarship. Don't let anyone fool you into thinking that getting your scholarship means you have made it because they are painting a false picture of reality. When you get to the Division 1 level, you are joining a team that consists of girls who were the best on their elite club teams. When you step foot on campus for the first time, whether you are conditioning, playing pick-up, or going through individual workout sessions you have to be ready to compete all the time. If you don't, you might as well find yourself a comfortable spot on the bench when the season starts. I guarantee you there is a girl on your squad who is going to take your minutes because she is going to compete every chance she has to secure her spot in the rotation. That may sound harsh but it is reality. 

Being unselfish and competing is a fine balance but if you can figure that out, you will be on your way to a successful Spring/Summer season. 

Intangibles of a Div. 1 player

You want to play for an Elite team, to play on Varsity, to get a Division 1 scholarship? Coach Auriemma lists out 5 traits he looks for in this interview and they have nothing to do with making buckets!

  1. Plays their butt off every possession?
  2. Are they unselfish?
  3. Are they a great teammate?
  4. Are they the kind of person I want at my house for dinner?
  5. Are they the kind of kid who will go to class all the time?

Best reply by Coach Auriemma in response to- How do you coach effort, to get an All-American to dive on a loose ball?

 "Well if you don't do it, I will find someone else who will." Coach Geno Auriemma

Average is Easy

As the AAU/Club Spring and Summer Season kicks off, there's a lot of excitement and buzz about the level of young talent in the state of Oregon and SW Washington. Our FAST program continues to grow and evolve. We have a lot of new faces on both the boys and girls side along with a strong foundation of returning players. People ask, what is FAST's philosophy? At FAST we place our focus and emphasis on fundamentals and developing the total athlete. As our program continues to grow, the competition gets more fierce. The players who have bought in and committed to the skill clinics are making remarkable progress. As a program, we will not throw a bunch of teams together and play a ton of tournaments and call ourselves an elite program. The skill development and focus on fundamentals is especially missing on the girls side. Last year I watched an elite level tournament and saw a lot of bad basketball in between some amazing and competitive games. The most glaring thing was the lack of fundamentals, creativity, and basketball IQ. The "old school" in me cringes when I see kids who don't have the basics down and then look at their travel schedule in the programs and see how many games they will be playing, it's ridiculous. How can you possibly be okay with playing in so many high level tournaments and travel nationally if you don't have the skills to compete and dominate locally? Whatever dream some of these coaches are selling, it's a good one. 

To truly be elite, it's going to take a lot of work. Average is easy... great is really hard. It takes commitment, dedication, and focus. And it's not playing in a bunch of games at a young age. The skill development takes consistency and passion to conquer your every weakness. A good friend Henry Barrera said to me, "too much, too fast, won't last". This resonates with me so much because in our microwave society, everyone wants success yesterday. This is not real life. The people who I admire who are the most successful, have the strongest work ethic, unquenchable passion, incredible focus, and consistently work on their craft. This might sound funny but it's a choice to be average in your fundamentals... it's actually really easy. Don't practice your ball handling everyday and you will be a great average ball handler. Being an unstoppable ball handler takes countless repetitions in the gym. Stationary ball handling, open court ball handling, one on one ball handling, etc. The mind and the muscles will not work together to execute a move in a game situation if you don't put in the time and work beforehand.

As a program we require a minimum of two days a week of skill clinics. The players we see who make the progress the fastest are taking those two days of skill clinic work and working the other 4-5 days on their own so that the next time they come into the gym, they are ready to soak in the next progression of a move or skill we are working on. Working on your fundamentals is not glamorous but when you start to see progress, it becomes addictive. I was at the #StrongerTeamHuddle conference last weekend and Alan Stein said in reference to players who complain about working out... "It's not mandatory but neither is playing time". AMEN!!

If you truly want to be elite, evaluate your goals and how you are going to execute your process to achieve them. Remember, average is easy... being great is strategic, focused, and consistent practice. 

 

 

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introducing Halle Wright

The 4A conference in Oregon doesn't usually get a lot of media attention but there's a player that should be on everyone's radar. Her name is Halle Wright, she's 6' and plays for Cascade High School. This season she was the POY for her conference (that would be the Oregon West conference for you 6A folks). Wright was the only unanimous 1st Team All-Tournament selection and the only freshman selected for the All-Tournament team. The 4A All-State selections haven't been released yet but it would be a shocker if Wright was not a 1st Team All-State selection as well. Halle Wright will be turning heads this Spring/Summer playing for FAST Elite, all the while putting Aumsville, OR on the map. Check out the video below of Halle going against high school boys from Henry Barrera's clinic he put on last night at West Linn High School. 

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What's your read?

One of the main components that we work on at FBA is learning how to ascertain the correct read and the counter to the read when you are on offense. What I see consistently that hinders the development of this key skill is a) kids do not play enough one on one basketball b) no one is breaking down the "why" behind the drills c) kids are not transferring the drill work without defense into live settings. The combination of the three statements above create what I call drill All-Americans. If a player does not know how to catch, square up to the basket, and attack their defender to create a play, then they are pretty much a wall flower player who will not make much impact on the court. Personally as a player, I would find this type of basketball boring. One of the biggest joys of basketball is the ability to make plays by being able to create situations where there is some kind of disadvantage for the defense. Players who can do this, without a "play" being run for them are the most valuable players a coach can have. Creating an environment that teaches a player the fundamentals (footwork, balance, tempo) of doing a move without defense, then adding in defense and enforcing the player to use the exact move they just learned but allowing them to adjust to the defense is key to being able to transfer the move to a live situation. If you have seen one of our clinics, you will see us work on this in some aspect, in every session. Engaging the brain/thought process into why the kids are executing moves is just as vital to actually teaching them physically how to pull the move off. 

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life of a legend

There's a good article on Diana Taurasi (click to read) in the NYTimes, that shows the life of one of the greatest players to ever play point guard, men or women. The article leaves you with a mixture of  inspiration and sadness... inspired that a woman can make $1.5m to play basketball, sad because she has to do it in Russia. I can say that I've never had a chance to see one of her games in Russia and that's a travesty. We get small glimpses of these women when they play in the WNBA for the Summer, but we are robbed of their prime, in what should be a real basketball season. Maybe someday... someday it will be different in the USA. 

 

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Girls 16U and 17U Open Tryouts

Tonight at the 212 courts, it promises to be a collection of some of the most athletically talented and explosive girls players in the Portland, Metro area. The 17U Elite team will be meeting for the first time, as well as open tryouts for both the 16U and 17U teams. We have two unanimous 1st Team All-Tournament selections- Halle Wright and Bendu Yeaney joining the #FAST crew. There will be a skill clinic at 7pm followed by the tryout / scrimmage session at 8pm. Let the greatness begin!! #FASTFAMILY 

WL Boys win 3rd Straight title

Very proud #FASTFamily was on hand to watch several #FAST players participate last week. West Linn captured it's third consecutive state title. Equally impressive for #FAST was four out of the five 1st team All-Tournament team consisted of #FAST players. 

First Team Payton Pritchard, 11, West Linn (unanimous) Anthony Mathis, 12, West Linn (unanimous) Eli Lininger, 12, South Eugene (unanimous) Malcolm Porter, 11, Jesuit (unanimous) Connor Fohn, 12, South Salem 

  Not even a two handed- hand check could stop Payton Pritchard from leading WL to their 3rd straight 6A title. 

Not even a two handed- hand check could stop Payton Pritchard from leading WL to their 3rd straight 6A title.