Elite is the most overused word in basketball

PART 1 of 2 – Most overused word in basketball: ELITE

Webster’s definition of Elite:
ELITE- a group of persons who by virtue of position or education, exercise much power or influence. The best, the crème de la crème. A person of tremendous power and influence.

I have been a Player Development Coach for over 19 years. I have been blessed to travel to date 45 countries, 5 continents, 47 states in the USA – that’s a lot of travel. When I travel, I love staying at Marriott’s. In my experience they are the BEST. When I first started my business, I was staying in motels with a  # or “Inn” after their name. Why? Because they were cheaper and not as nice. I could not afford to stay at a Marriott.

In life you get what you pay for, you reap what you sow! Eventually I was able to stay at Marriott’s. People that hire me have no problem paying a little more for a hotel because of the value I bring. Now, if you notice the picture on my hotel key, it says ELITE MEMBER. To become ELITE with Marriott you have to do the following:

1) Invest and spend TIME at their properties

2) Invest equity and your money in their properties     

3) Take care of their rooms, RESPECT their hotel and staff.

If you comply, show OBEDIENCE, you get REWARDED for your TIME and EFFORTS. Notice at the bottom of my key, the words “Marriott Rewards”. This means the more nights and money I spend with Marriott, the more “free stuff” I get. Everyone loves free stuff. I may get free food, drinks, hi speed internet or free rooms. It a beautiful thing.

So it dawned on me, what a great recipe for ELITE basketball players, coaches, or all athletes. So here is my advice if you truly want to be ELITE in basketball or any of your endeavors:


1) BE OKAY WITH STARTING AT THE BOTTOM AND OWN IT!
 – Drake has a great song about “Started at the Bottom now I’m HERE!” Everyone has a start. All great players started from the beginning. This is your chance to LEARN the game, the process, the RIGHT way. Learning the correct techniques at a young age is way more important than winning trophies. Developing the WILL to WORK is way more important than winning games. You are gonna struggle and it’s not gonna “feel good” all the time. So, embrace the process of starting out, learning, and growing. Being ELITE does not come quickly, you have to work your way up to “The Marriott.”

2) THE BYPRODUCT OF INVESTING TIME/EFFORT IS ELITE, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND
 – Being on an ELITE team does NOT make you elite. Wearing Nike, Adidas and Under Armour gear does not make you elite. It’s a great accomplishment, for sure. Please know that the shoe companies and scouts throw the word “elite” around because it’s good marketing, draws people in and sounds great on social media. They have a job to do, but they are not responsible for developing you. We, the coaches are responsible!  So DON’T listen to the coin phrase “ELITE“ unless you act like it and have a lifestyle of passionate time and effort into your craft! Playing in elite tournaments although are fun and can make you a better player if you learn from them, DOES NOT make you elite. Being invited to the elite camps is great, but you will never live up to the name unless you go to these events ready to LEARN, have your game broken down by great coaches, and take home in a notebook all you have learned. Time and ALL IN effort is the only chance you have to be elite, and even that might not be good enough. You have to do everything possible mentally and physically to even have a shot at being elite. You have to INVEST your PERSONAL TIME to get in that category of ELITE. It’s your TIME MANAGEMENT that helps you become ELITE. What do I mean by time? Here is a good formula many high school and College elite players use:

  1. OFF SEASON:
    Monday to Friday
    – 90 minutes skill each day
    – 45 minutes strength/conditioning each day
    – 60 minutes pickup: 5 on 5 basketball / 1 on 1 / 3 on 3
    (substitute film on some days)


That’s 3 to 3.5 hours a day working on your game. Some players go 4-5 hours.  You may also have team practices and games that counts if the games are structured and beneficial. Players have to be competing with you. Take Saturday and Sunday off. For every 6 weeks of work, take a 5 day vacation. Get away from ball.


  1. IN SEASON:
    – 30 minutes BEFORE practice get your REPS. What ever you may need from an individual perspective. Shots, finishes, defensive footwork, passing reps, etc
    – 30 minutes AFTER Practice. Free throws, get on the shooting machine to get some
    more shots. Play one on one with the best player on your team, or even the Coaches. My one on one games with my assistant high school coach at Hampton HS in Hampton VA were priceless. The JV Coach, David Blizzard “ate me up.”  Art Jones, my assistant varsity coach, killed me daily, BUT IT MADE ME BETTER. I invested my time and effort. We drew blood and tears. Instead of going right on Snapchat or Instagram, watch film of your play with a coach.
  2. GET TREATMENT! Ice your knees, take ice baths, stretch. Your body needs to be taken care of. Recovery is embraced by true ELITE players.

Part 2 of my blog on being Elite will be posted next week! Stay tuned!

Ganon Baker
Basketball Curriculum is

This new comprehensive basketball curriculum will change how people learn the game of basketball worldwide. It is perfect for players and coaches from the beginner all the way through to professionals. Not only do we show players how to train, but we show coaches and trainers how to teach!

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