By: Dylan Tehada
There are many aspects to the game of basketball outside of just being a competitive game that we play. Basketball has the ability to teach personal growth off the court, to bring people together, to be an escape from stressors in life, and can even be a way to simply get exercise. These aspects of basketball that go beyond the competitive nature of the sport can be discovered and integrated in daily life at any age no matter one’s experience or skill level.
Since the beginning of this year, UPB has been hosting adult training sessions every Sunday at 8AM to promote this idea that the lessons the game of basketball has to teach can be learned by anyone no matter their age or experience with the game.
Every Sunday at 8AM, our player development coaches and adult athletes wake up bright and early to get a one hour training session in at the facility. The training sessions are focused on basic fundamentals of the game such as ball handling, shooting mechanics and drills, and finishing at the basket. There is no required skill level or playing experience to participate as we seek to help athletes from all backgrounds elevate their game and show growth.
Mark Santander, a father of one of UPB’s athletes Kayden, has been joining the Adult Sessions regularly. Santander has been well acquainted with the UPB community and admires the impact the community has made on his son. One day while picking up his son from a training session, he noticed a flyer promoting adult training sessions and was intrigued by the idea of integrating weekly exercise in a fun way into his daily routine.
After seeing the promotion, he and his wife signed up for the training sessions right away and instantly became regulars every Sunday morning. Going to these training sessions not only allowed Santander and his wife to rediscover the fundamentals of the game of basketball and get weekly exercise, but more importantly brought his family closer together.
“[Playing basketball] is one of our common things that [my wife and I] like to do together, and now to be able to do that on the court with my wife since we [played] intramurals in college. It was kind of fun,” Santander said.
Throughout his time participating in the training sessions, Santander has learned a lot about the fundamentals of the game and even the mindset that must accompany the skills necessary to excel in the sport. Whether it be drills teaching different finishes and pull up jumpers or mental tips from Coach Joey teaching the mental fortitude necessary to thrive as a basketball player, Santander is grateful for all the lessons on the court and off the court that he is able to learn. In addition to the well-organized instruction of the coaches, he found the smaller class sizes to be particularly appealing for his own personal growth.
“We're a really small group even as a full class, I think it's small so that you can get that personalized attention that helps you understand the footwork and coordination needed for the drills,” Santander said.
Being able to play the game is one thing, but being able to talk about the game and be on the same page as fellow athletes is a whole other skill set that is important to basketball. The ability to learn the same skills from the same player development coaches as his son, provided Santander with the ability to speak the same language as his son and help support him in his basketball journey. He recommends this training session to any parent out there who seeks to put themselves in the shoes of their athlete and find new ways to support and communicate with them as they develop and elevate their game.
“You see what they're doing from the sidelines, but experiencing it yourself, puts a different perspective to the skills and drills that they're learning,” Santander said. “I think you can be more supportive when you see your child gets tired or maybe gets frustrated, then you can support them in other ways as well because you know how frustrating or difficult those skills can be.”
Here at UPB we strive to help athletes realize that their potential is unlimited no matter their experience or age. The game of basketball has so much to offer and we strive to teach those lessons and bring those off the court aspects to light through different types of training sessions.
Julius Randle has been the epitome of constant growth and improvement season after season since his debut in 2014. After an impressive 2022-2023 season with the Knicks averaging 25.1 points per game on 46% shooting, Randle seeks to continue building on last season’s success and contributing to a winning franchise. Although the start of the Knicks’ season has not gone exactly to plan, Randle has showcased his veteran poise and innate ability to continue elevating his game as the long NBA season treads on.