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The ultimate resource for applying evidence-based ideas in basketball

The ultimate resource for applying evidence-based ideas in basketball

Our Mission

To transform the basketball world by helping individuals and organisations make sense of an evidence-based approach

The Why

Transforming Basketball was founded in 2023 to share the independent research and practical application that Alex Sarama has been conducting since 2018 based on an ecological dynamics framework...

Transforming Basketball was founded in 2023 to share the independent research and practical application that Alex Sarama has been conducting since 2018 based on an ecological dynamics framework. The basketball world remains married to the status quo and hand-me-down methodologies. Transforming Basketball exists to shift this paradigm by highlighting how evidence-based ideas can impact every organisational department; including team development, player development, front office, athletic performance, physical therapy and more.

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The What

An ecological approach underpins the methodologies adopted by Transforming Basketball, utilising the design principles of a nonlinear pedagogy to apply a constraints-led approach...

An ecological approach underpins the methodologies adopted by Transforming Basketball, utilising the design principles of a nonlinear pedagogy to apply a constraints-led approach. Rather than viewing skills as techniques or patterns to be acquired and internalised, skill is viewed as an emergent property predicated around the relationship between the player and their environment. This challenges the validity of many of the most popular drills used within the basketball world, such as the three-man weave, spot shooting, zig zag drill, 5-on-0 and more. This has implications not just for coaches, but also how practitioners in other basketball roles fulfill their positions.

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The aim

The aim of Transforming Basketball is to help individuals and organisations make sense of skill acquisition research across a number of domains within the basketball landscape...

The aim of Transforming Basketball is to help individuals and organisations make sense of skill acquisition research across a number of domains within the basketball landscape. Transforming Basketball exists to break down the complexity of these ideas by bringing the theory to life in a highly practical manner. Through a plethora of Transforming resources available for practitioners at all levels of the game, the goal is to drastically reduce the dominance of the traditional approach within the basketball world.

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The Foundation

Transformational leadership exists as another foundational component of the Transforming approach. While knowledge of contemporary skill acquisition can create an optimal environment...

Transformational leadership exists as another foundational component of the Transforming approach. While knowledge of contemporary skill acquisition can create an optimal environment for developing skilled performers, this accounts for little if such knowledge is not complemented with transformational coaching. A large emphasis at Transforming Basketball is placed on creating engaging, inspirational and safe learning environments for players of all ages and abilities.

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The Future

When understood and applied correctly, evidence-based ideas have the potential to provide huge competitive advantages. Transforming Basketball methods have been adopted all over the globe...

When understood and applied correctly, evidence-based ideas have the potential to provide huge competitive advantages. Transforming Basketball methods have been adopted all over the globe, and at all levels of the game. Numerous clubs, national federations, professional, NBA and NCAA teams have engaged with Transforming Basketball methodologies. Revolutionise how the game is approached by joining our community today!

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our

team

our

pillars

Skill Acquisition

Transformational Leadership

Principles of Play

Player Development

Unified Approach

The field of skill acquisition, known as motor learning in North America, informs the methodologies used at Transforming Basketball. Traditionally, skill acquisition ideas have had little to no impact on sports practitioners.

Transforming Basketball aims to change this narrative by showcasing how critical it is for coaching and organisational approaches to be well-informed by evidence-based ideas. This enables players to effectively develop aligned with empirical evidence as opposed to relying on myths and unsubstantiated opinions. Embracing contemporary ideas means that organisations should be aware of concepts such as variability, representative learning design, purposeful manipulation of constraints, and more.

Transforming Basketball remains on the pulse of the latest research emerging within the skill acquisition community by placing these ideas into a practical context for basketball practitioners of all levels.

A key focus of Transforming Basketball is helping practitioners develop effective interpersonal behaviours and improving athlete experiences through adopting the tenets of transformational leadership.

A healthy environment with positive team dynamics sets the foundation for organisations to fully benefit from contemporary skill acquisition ideas. Transformational leadership focuses not just on performance, but the personal development of every individual within a team.

Transforming Basketball places an emphasis on helping practitioners embrace the concept of transformational leadership by providing players with autonomy, offering authentic support, and acknowledging the players’ feelings and concerns. This differs greatly to the transactional leadership styles which dominate the basketball industry. Research has indicated that a transformational approach is correlated with positive psychosocial outcomes, including enhanced athlete satisfaction, effort, motivation, and group cohesion.

The game of basketball does not occur within a stabilised inner vacuum, but rather a chaotic, complex and ever-changing environment. Within this environment, teams may adopt various principles of play.

Rather than viewing offense and defense through the lens of attempting to control every possession, Transforming Basketball advocates for a principles of play based approach at every level of basketball. As opposed to focussing on rigid game models such as continuity offenses, fixed sets and automatic rules, Transforming Basketball presents the case for conceptual defensive and offensive principles that align with an ecological dynamics rationale.

Creative analogies and the CLA are used to shape such principles, developing players that can be adaptive performers in any environment. Principles of play provide a framework for practitioners in any role to shape their approach, as well as ensuring that player development occurs within the context of how players play within 5-on-5. This means shifting away from many of the rehearsal-based drills that form a key part of the traditional approach within basketball.

Developing dexterity is a key part of Transforming Basketball’s player development approach. As defined by Nikolai Bernstein, dexterity is the ability of a player “to find a motor solution for any external solution.”

This requires players to exhibit functionality within a variety of basketball skills by passing, finishing, shooting and ultimately moving in several different ways. This is the opposite to attempting to engrain fundamentals, hoping that taught techniques can be applied by players at the ‘right’ moment within the game. An essential component of the Transforming approach is centered around identifying the specific rate limiters relative to each player that prevent them from exhibiting functionality within different areas of the game.

Rate limiters can be targeted specifically through the application of a constraints-led approach and differential learning. Strategic variability is embraced throughout this process as opposed to reducing variability through decontextualised ‘on-air’ reps or creating generic variability through games-based approaches. In the words of Professor Keith Davids, players cannot adapt to an environment they don’t inhabit.

The prevalence of organisational silos at all levels of basketball leads to player development not being optimised to its complete potential.

Siloed operating procedures arise when organisations operate with departments such as the front office, coaching staff, athletic performance, physical therapists, analytics team, sports scientists and other relevant staff members working independently as opposed to in close coordination.

Through adopting shared theoretical frameworks to view the game, organisations can ascend out of siloed thinking and adopt highly unified organisational approaches. Professor Martyn Rothwell’s ideas on the Department of Methodology have been highly influential in shaping our ideas within this area.

The prevalence of organisational silos at all levels of basketball leads to player development not being optimised to its complete potential.

Siloed operating procedures arise when organisations operate with departments such as the front office, coaching staff, athletic performance, physical therapists, analytics team, sports scientists and other relevant staff members working independently as opposed to in close coordination.

Through adopting shared theoretical frameworks to view the game, organisations can ascend out of siloed thinking and adopt highly unified organisational approaches. Professor Martyn Rothwell’s ideas on the Department of Methodology have been highly influential in shaping our ideas within this area.

Skill Acquisition

The field of skill acquisition, known as motor learning in North America, informs the methodologies used at Transforming Basketball. Traditionally, skill acquisition ideas have had little to no impact on sports practitioners. Transforming Basketball aims to change this narrative by showcasing how critical it is for coaching and organisational approaches to be well-informed by evidence-based ideas. This enables players to effectively develop aligned with empirical evidence as opposed to relying on myths and unsubstantiated opinions. Embracing contemporary ideas means that organisations should be aware of concepts such as variability, representative learning design, purposeful manipulation of constraints, and more. Transforming Basketball remains on the pulse of the latest research emerging within the skill acquisition community by placing these ideas into a practical context for basketball practitioners of all levels.

Transformational Leadership

A key focus of Transforming Basketball is helping practitioners develop effective interpersonal behaviours and improving athlete experiences through adopting the tenets of transformational leadership. A healthy environment with positive team dynamics sets the foundation for organisations to fully benefit from contemporary skill acquisition ideas. Transformational leadership focuses not just on performance, but the personal development of every individual within a team. Transforming Basketball places an emphasis on helping practitioners embrace the concept of transformational leadership by providing players with autonomy, offering authentic support, and acknowledging the players’ feelings and concerns. This differs greatly to the transactional leadership styles which dominate the basketball industry. Research has indicated that a transformational approach is correlated with positive psychosocial outcomes, including enhanced athlete satisfaction, effort, motivation, and group cohesion.

Principles of Play

The game of basketball does not occur within a stabilised inner vacuum, but rather a chaotic, complex and ever-changing environment. Within this environment, teams may adopt various principles of play. Rather than viewing offense and defense through the lens of attempting to control every possession, Transforming Basketball advocates for a principles of play based approach at every level of basketball. As opposed to focussing on rigid game models such as continuity offenses, fixed sets and automatic rules, Transforming Basketball presents the case for conceptual defensive and offensive principles that align with an ecological dynamics rationale. Creative analogies and the CLA are used to shape such principles, developing players that can be adaptive performers in any environment. Principles of play provide a framework for practitioners in any role to shape their approach, as well as ensuring that player development occurs within the context of how players play within 5-on-5. This means shifting away from many of the rehearsal-based drills that form a key part of the traditional approach within basketball.

Player Development

Developing dexterity is a key part of Transforming Basketball’s player development approach. As defined by Nikolai Bernstein, dexterity is the ability of a player “to find a motor solution for any external solution.” This requires players to exhibit functionality within a variety of basketball skills by passing, finishing, shooting and ultimately moving in several different ways. This is the opposite to attempting to engrain fundamentals, hoping that taught techniques can be applied by players at the ‘right’ moment within the game. An essential component of the Transforming approach is centered around identifying the specific rate limiters relative to each player that prevent them from exhibiting functionality within different areas of the game. Rate limiters can be targeted specifically through the application of a constraints-led approach and differential learning. Strategic variability is embraced throughout this process as opposed to reducing variability through decontextualised ‘on-air’ reps or creating generic variability through games-based approaches. In the words of Professor Keith Davids, players cannot adapt to an environment they don’t inhabit.

Unified Approach

The prevalence of organisational silos at all levels of basketball leads to player development not being optimised to its complete potential. Siloed operating procedures arise when organisations operate with departments such as the front office, coaching staff, athletic performance, physical therapists, analytics team, sports scientists and other relevant staff members working independently as opposed to in close coordination. Through adopting shared theoretical frameworks to view the game, organisations can ascend out of siloed thinking and adopt highly unified organisational approaches. Professor Martyn Rothwell’s ideas on the Department of Methodology have been highly influential in shaping our ideas within this area.

Player Development

The field of skill acquisition, known as motor learning in North America, informs the methodologies used at Transforming Basketball. Traditionally, skill acquisition ideas have had little to no impact on sports practitioners.

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