The Basketball Podcast: EP109 Joe Abunassar on Player Development

RELEASE DATE : 12/08/2020

In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, NBA trainer Joe Abunassar of Impact Basketball joins the Basketball Podcast to discuss basketball player development. He is one of the industry leaders in player development. 

Abunassar is the founder of Impact. Impact now has 3 locations as well as programs running in over a dozen foreign countries – and growing. Over 130 NBA Draft picks in the last 9 years have come through Impact as well as hundreds more undrafted free agents who have gone on to become professionals. Impact is the summer training home for NBA All-Stars, collegiate and high school All-Americans, and international stars alike.

Impact’s influence reaches around the world to all levels of basketball players, families, and coaches. NBA veterans Kyle Lowry, Myles Turner, Serge Ibaka and Kawhi Leonard and young stars Kristaps Porzings, Troy Brown Jr, and Kendrick Nunn lead the way as a few of Impact’s best known and successful clients.

Joe Abunassar

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Joe Abunassar Quotes:

“When I started . . I did not believe that guys . . were spending enough time really developing the overall player . . and my background in strength and conditioning [and] nutrition . . brought all that to light.”

“We spent a ton of time on the basketball skills, but we spent an equal amount of time making sure that their nutrition was right, making sure that they were taking care of their bodies, they were strong enough [and] they had great flexibility.”

“We tell young kids all the time, if you want to be a player, it’s a lot more than just getting drills together . . we talk about integrating everything . . we basically call it four pillars.”

“Four pillars [are] the basketball skills . . strength conditioning, speed, agility . . being the second. The third being the nutritional piece . . and then a fourth piece, which is critical, is the whole mental approach to both training and playing.”

“In high school, I think there’s a huge commitment to playing in . . leagues . . and not enough time is spent on getting your players better. “

“That player who go pushed out of the way in the semi-final game . . who needs to put on and extra five, eight pounds of muscle . . he spends the whole summer playing games and now next year he’s still getting pushed out of the way and you’re still losing the game.”

“Most parents . . can’t really distinguish what’s really important to train and not important to train . . my advice . . would be just keep it simple . . it’s shooting the ball . . handling the ball . . it’s limiting dribbles . . and I’ll come back to footwork.”

“We break the player down from the court backwards. So, if you watch a 6th grader play, and he’s having trouble dribbling or . . shooting the ball from distance . . that’s how you structure his or her drill work.”

“It’s a really interesting combination of continually making it reality and basketball, and then breaking it down from there, because there are certain things that players need to just work on one on zero.”

“You’d be surprised how excited kids are to come to practice when they think we’re going to get them better.”

“I think the really important thing is to be organized in the off-season, to write down some key areas of improvement.”

“If you look at any of my great pro players, they were all multi-sport . .I think there’s so much benefit to playing multiple sports as a young player.”

“I go . . watch kids working out all the time . . that 70, 60, 50 percent effort in workouts . . I just don’t get it . . it’s so changeable . . it’s something you can control.”

Joe Abunassar Selected Links from the Podcast:

Impact Basketball

Chauncey Billups

Kevin Garnett

Tayshaun Prince

Kyle Lowry

Memphis Grizzlies

Jerry West

Kawhi Leonard

LeBron James

Tommy Haas

Michael Wilson

Stanford University

Mark Verstegen


IMG Academy

Reggie Miller

Joe Abunassar Breakdown:

1:00 – Integrating Training
10:00 – Comfortable with the Ball
12:00 – Perfect Technique
14:30 – General Guidelines for Progressing Skill
18:00 – Selfish Time for Players
22:30 – Active Recovery
28:00 – NBA Off-Season
32:00 – Advice for Young Athletes
36:00 – Warm-Ups
40:00 – Static Stretching
42:00 – Player Habits
44:00 – Trusting the Data
46:00 – Maintaining Strength in Season
48:00 – Mental Skills
49:00 – Coping Teaching Strategies
51:00 – Conclusion

Joe Abunassar:



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