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Who Am I?

While searching for my DVD on youtube yesterday so I could provide a link in my free weekly newsletter, I found a review of the DVD from a blogger and I am still unsure what to make of the review.

At first, the blogger questioned my credentials because there was not an NBA star promoting the DVD.

Yep folks that is the Brian McCormick, coach of what? I get to watch footage of which awesome players in this DVD?

First, why do people believe a DVD produced by a big name is inherently better. From people I know who watch multiple DVD’s, there is an inverse relationship between star power and quality of the product: the bigger the star, the worse the DVD.

Second, there are companies who arrange star placement for products like DVD’s. Just because a star allows his name to be used in promotion does not mean the star knows anything about the product.

Next, he criticizes my background:

So what does Mr. Brian have? Some coaching in Sweden? A couple of degrees? Which player has he developed into greatness? If there was one, then I am sure we would have heard about him? What elite squad has he coached? Did he play in the NBA? Did he even play college ball? I am sure they would have mentioned any of that in his promotional information. Nope… nothing,

Well, some people were impressed when I was a Head Coach in a pro league when I was 25 years old! Apparently not the blogger. But, what does playing in college or the NBA have to do with teaching 10-12-year-olds how to handle the basketball?

As for players, apparently this blogger is only impressed with the NBA, but there are college and pro players who have trained with me and attended my camps and clinics. I just don’t shout their names all the time. And, I don’t train “names” for free just so I can use their name, like a lot of trainers.

Training NBA players requires a pre-existing relationship with a player or an agent. Agents usually control where a player trains.

Besides, there is almost nothing in common between training an NBA player and the progression of drills in my DVD.

I have watched workouts with NBA players, assisted with workouts with NBA players, am friends with guys who work with NBA players, advise trainers who work with NBA players and have subscribers on my newsletter who train NBA players. Trust me, it’s not that exciting.

Many trainers prefer working with younger players, but train NBA players because of the money. Sure, there is a challenge to training an NBA player, but it is a very different challenge (performance-based versus learning or development) than teaching a novice to make a change of direction move, which is essentially the subject of my DVD.

Next, he questioned my “stage presence:”

She immediately commented that she believed this guy must be reading directly from a script,

I did not have a script. I did almost all the voice work in a sound studio on the fly without any notes. It was very difficult. I did the last bit of work on a 2-hour layover in San Francisco after a flight from Beijing to SFO before a connecting flight to Sacramento. The voice work was done in 3 sessions. But, I assure you there was no script. Next time, I will have a script, as it is pretty hard to do it on the fly outside of the natural setting.

So, that was the “Bad.” I just got it. All the pictures in the post confused me. As for the good, he writes:

This DVD systematically builds the principles of Attack Ball Handling. He builds each move up from the ground, and then gives insight into why each move is helpful, and how it works. The thing I really liked about it was the way the moves where unlimited.

Since this was essentially the goal, I am glad to know that we succeeded.

I am a musician and he teaches basketball like it was jazz, instead of classical. He teaches you the chords and scales so you can create music, not how to read the chords and scales that someone else has already written.

This is a compliment, as this is exactly how I try to teach.

After playing with his wife, he writes:

I spent the first ten minutes going over some of the drills from the video, and then we played. She was better, and finally kind of got it. She finally understood what the whole, why you dribble one way or another way, was about. So the same person that thought Mr. Brian was a boring dude, actually enjoys playing basketball more because of him.

So the DVD fulfilled its mission. Hurray!

The ugly is that Brian doesn’t have a sweet gig yet, or the developed player that can help him get the exposure he needs. I am hoping that the next Jazz virtuoso of a basketball player finds Brian to be their mentor. Please, Please, Please, make this guy’s day. He reminds me of a young Press Maravich, and Press wouldn’t be remembered without the Pistol.

Hmm. Press Maravich? That’s lofty praise, especially based on one DVD. He sure changed his tune.

I know trainers who actively seek really good players. They practically recruit good players because these are the players that can give a trainer a rep. I don’t. I have a web site. If you call me and we can arrange a time, gym and price, I’ll train you. It does not matter to me who you are.

I trained a kid who became a DIII All-American. I started with him when he was the 4th string PG and on the Head Coach’s potential cut list. The other best player I have trained for an extended period of time started with me as a 7th grader; now he is a DI recruit.

I’ve worked with McDonald’s All-Americans and had them attend my clinics. But, I only talk about the kids I train over a long period of time. The kids in the DVD worked with me over the course of 2 years.

The important aspect of the review, I suppose, is that the blogger gave the DVD a chance, even though he did not think much of my credentials. And, the DVD speaks for itself. It’s a very good DVD and based entirely on the drills and progressions I do on a daily basis with players. I know the DVD is good because high school coaches have emailed me and asked me to do a similar DVD on all the skills.

The difference between my teaching (and my DVD) and others is that I use progressions, while most use drills. If someday a great player sees this and wants to train, great. But, I won’t treat him any differently than the kids in the DVD and I won’t hold my breath.

Unlike others, I don’t need an NBA player to validate my training. I have seen for myself the affects of long term training and I know what I can and cannot do and I work everyday to improve. If that’s enough to sell a DVD, great. If not, I’m not banking on getting rich off DVD sales, so it’s no big deal.

Really, you can spend your money on flash and hype elsewhere, or you can get substance. Either way, I’ll do what I do and be fine, whether I coach another pro team in Europe or a junior high school team around the corner.

Coaching is coaching and players are players. Everything else is hype, marketing and money, and I can’t be bothered by any of it.

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