#HoopTalk With Hays Myers: The Importance of Player Development

#HoopTalk With Hays Myers: The Importance of Player Development

We took time with Nevada Basketball Director of Player Development, Hays Myers, this week to discuss the importance of player development for college basketball player’s.

Meyers is entering his third year with Nevada and second as Director of Player Development. He was elevated to his current role after spending one season as a graduate assistant. Prior to arriving in Reno, Meyers was a student manager at LSU where he worked with Coach Musselman. 

Player development has become a huge focus in college and professional organizations across the country so we asked Meyers how we implement it here at Nevada…

Q: Today’s game has evolved from what it was in the 90’s and even early 2000’s. How important do you think player development is for college basketball players today? 

HM: I THINK THAT PLAYER DEVELOPMENT (ALONG WITH RECRUITING) ARE THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT ASPECTS IN COLLEGE BASKETBALL. AT THE END OF THE DAY IT IS ALL ABOUT THE PLAYERS ON THE COURT. THEY HAVE TO BE ABLE TO MAKE THE PLAYS NEEDED TO WIN GAMES. MOST KIDS TODAY NEED TO UNDERSTAND WHAT PLAYER DEVELOPMENT IS AS WELL IN ORDER FOR IT TO BE EFFECTIVE. IN TODAY'S CLIMATE EVERYTHING IS ABOUT INSTANT GRATIFICATION. THE PROBLEM WITH THAT IS PLAYER DEVELOPMENT IS THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF INSTANT GRATIFICATION. IT IS A PROCESS. THERE IS AN ARTICLE WRITTEN CALLED "WHY PRACTICE ACTUALLY MAKES PERFECT: HOW TO REWIRE YOUR BRAIN FOR BETTER PERFORMANCE." IN THIS ARTICLE IT TALKS ABOUT THE FUNCTIONALITY OF THE BRAIN AND HOW THE MORE YOU PRACTICE THE MORE YOUR BRAIN ACTUALLY GETS REWIRED TO PERFORM AT A HIGHER LEVEL. I WON’T GET INTO THE SCIENCE OF IT ALL BUT IT IS NATURAL BIOLOGICAL FUNCTION. IF A PLAYER THINKS THERE IS AN OVERNIGHT FIX TO THEIR GAME THEN THEY ARE WRONG. COACHES AND PLAYERS ALIKE ALSO NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT PLAYER DEVELOPMENT IS SPECIFIC TO EACH INDIVIDUAL AND IS BOTH ABOUT THE PHYSICAL ASPECT OF THE GAME AND THE MENTAL ASPECT OF THE GAME. I THINK TRAINING THE MIND TO PERFORM AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL IS EQUALLY AS IMPORTANT AS THE PHYSICAL ASPECT. NICK SABAN HAS A GREAT QUOTE IN WHICH HE DEFINES TOUGHNESS.... "WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BREAK YOU?" I THINK AS A PART OF YOUR DEVELOPMENT YOU HAVE TO FIND OUT WHAT IT TAKES TO BREAK YOU. WHEN YOU ARE BROKEN ALL YOUR PHYSICAL TOOLS ARE USELESS BECAUSE YOUR MIND IS NO LONGER THERE. 

Q: Off the court, how often do you utilize video breakdown with your players? What types of things do you look to show players through film?

HM: I BELIEVE THAT FILM STUDY IS ABSOLUTELY VITAL TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF PLAYERS AND A TEAM. KOBE BRYANT IS ONE OF THE MOST METICULOUS HUMAN BEINGS WHEN IT COMES TO FILM STUDY. HE HAS SAID BEFORE THAT IT COULD TAKE HIM UP TO 4.5 HOURS JUST TO WATCH ONE GAME BECAUSE OF ALL THE POSSIBILITIES ON DIFFERENT SITUATIONS THAT HE LOOKS FOR. THAT IS WHAT MADE HIM ELITE. ONCE HE GOT IN THE GAME HE KNEW EVERY POSSIBLE SCENARIO THAT COULD HAPPEN AND HOW TO COUNTER IT.  I THINK COLLEGE PLAYERS ALSO NEED HELP WITH THEIR FILM STUDY AND THAT IS WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO HAVE GOOD STAFF THAT PUTS IN THE TIME TO HELP DEVELOP PLAYERS THROUGH FILM.

Q: There are some players who are labeled as a specialty/utility player, such as a shooter (Kyle Korver) or defensive specialist (Tony Allen) and then there are players who have a well-rounded game and are good at multiple things. How do you approach player development with those who are identified as a utility type player?

HM: I THINK THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN PLAYER DEVELOPMENT IS TO MAKE SURE TO SHARPEN STRENGTHS. OBVIOUSLY, YOU WANT TO STRENGTHEN WEAKNESSES BUT IF YOU ARE A SHOOTER YOU DONT WANT TO WORK ON POST MOVES ALL DAY BECAUSE THAT IS NOT WHERE YOU ARE GOING TO GET YOUR SHOTS. I BY NO MEANS HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS, I CAN ONLY SAY WHAT I HAVE SEEN WORK AND THROUGH OTHERS. ONE OF MY FAVORITE PLAYER DEVELOPMENT COACHES IS PHIL BECKNER. I HAD THE PRIVELEDGE TO WATCH HIM WORK OUT DAMIEN LILLARD. THE SIMPLICITY OF THE WORKOUT AMAZED ME. YOU SEE ALL THESE PLAYERS USING ALL SORTS OF PROPS AND DOING 19 BETWEEN THE LEGS AND IT JUST ISNT GAME LIKE. PHIL DOES AN UNBLIEVEABLE JOB OF SIMPLIFYING AND WORKING ON DAMIEN'S SPECIFIC STRENGTHS. I THINK AT THE END OF THE DAY ITS ALL ABOUT HOW HARD A PLAYER WANTS TO WORK AND GET BETTER. IF THE PLAYER DOESNT WANT TO IMPROVE IT DOESNT MATTER WHAT YOU DO AS A COACH. IT HAS TO BE INTRISIC MOTIVATION TO BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE.  

We want to thank Hays for taking time out of his schedule to discuss player development and how we use it here at Nevada. 


DID YOU LIKE THIS ARTICLE? SHARE IT WITH YOUR FRIENDS:


Comments