31 ways to make 2015 better than 2014

2014 is almost over. Crazy, just crazy! Where are our jetpacks and flying cars already???
No matter how this year went, there is always room for improvement right? Below check out the 31 ways you can make 2015 just a bit better. But first…

We’ve got tons and tons of offerings for you this Winter at BT Basketball. Check out all the tabs up top of this page. From first graders (Little Ballers and Holiday Clinic) to Middle Schoolers (Winter Sessions and Holiday Clinic) to High Schoolers (Insider Program), we have something for every age. We are excited to help you get STRONGER as the season goes on. Also visit out Videos page to check out some helpful tips for your skills and mentality. Here are a few of the new ones…

Ok let’s get to it! Please comment and add to this list!

-Smile more (with your friends, with your family, with yourself, with strangers. If nothing else, people will wonder why you’re smiling so much. Which will provide you with entertainment. Which will make you smile)
-Get outside more (even in the cold weather, go take a quick stroll. Something about nature and fresh air that clears a foggy head)
-Eat more fruits and veges
-Eat less crapola
-Drop the macho stuff and tell the people that you love, that you love them. Life is short
-Sleep better (aim for 7-8 hours of restful sleep. Kill the devices and start powering down the mind before bedtime)
-Be more grateful, appreciative and thankful (not just during the holidays)
-Look at things in more of a positive light (we all choose exactly how we react and see everything that happens. Certainly often easier to look at things in a negative light. Try the sunny side a little more often)
-Watch a movie that you know is incredibly inspiring to you
-Watch less garbage TV and listen to more kick a$$ tunes
-Do something for someone without any expectation whatsoever of something in return
-Over tip (even when the service doesn’t deserve it)
-Say hello to random people (this is normal for Southerners, yet foreign to most of us above the Mason Dixon line. I mean really, ever been to the south and everyone is so kind and friendly and we all think it’s so strange. Maybe we are the strange ones!)
-Take 5 deep breaths in a row
-Throw anyone that has a negative influence in your life overboard (without a raft or anything that will allow them to climb back into the boat of your mind)
-Challenge yourself in a way that only you will know if you completed said challenge (now go make it happen)
-Read more good stuff (doesn’t include People magazine. Take 10 minutes or so a day and read something educational, motivating, inspiring, or fun)
-Find something in the clutter of life that is yours and yours alone (something that makes you feel truly alive, that nobody can take from you)
-Cultivate that passion, and make a career out of it
-Laugh, a lot (at yourself, with others. Enjoy life, enjoy the people and situations in it)
-Reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to in ages
-Be a good friend
-No, be a great friend!
-Find something to be disciplined at, even for a short time (physical activity, food come to mind)
-Say please and thank you more often
-Give little regard to what others think of you
-Find out who you truly are and embrace it
-Go to a concert
-Give someone a hug (not a one handed bro hug. A full on, double armed, please let me go I can’t breath hug!)
-When you catch yourself saying to someone “I’m too busy”, honestly evaluate if you really are (ever seen the movie Yes Man?)
-Be committed to enjoying life more this year!

Here’s to finishing off 2014 strong and having the best year of your life in 2015! If you would be so kind, please share this with anyone you think may benefit!

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Studying isn’t just for school

Did you hear the news? That’s right, high schoolers, they moved up tryout dates one week this year. What does that mean? You have less time to prepare yourself. Fortunately, we are working hard here at BT Basketball to provide you with every opportunity to be ready to go come Day 1 of tryouts. Check out our Fall Skills Clinics (tab above), Teacher’s Convention Clinic (tab above) as well as a bunch of new videos (tab above, and…)

So let’s talk real quick. Just the word study gets me an eye roll from basically every player in our program. I get it, there’s plenty of studying that needs to get done for school that the thought of adding more to that is almost intolerable.


This is a different type of studying. Take regular school work. For most people, if they don’t study at all, they will end up with a poor grade. Sure, there are some people that don’t have to study and they still do well. Those are a rare breed. Most need to study and study well. Quick side note, what happens to the person who doesn’t need to study, but still does? They excel and dominate (keep that in mind). Studying is what helps you take your game to the ultimate next level, on the court or in the classroom. The more information that you can use in practical application, the better you become. Quite simple really.

Quick story. Back when I was in middle school, I idolized Jon Deeb, who was 5 years older than me and an outstanding point guard at Sparta HS. I wanted to do the things that he was doing. I wanted to wow crowds the way he did. I wanted to dribble, shoot, dominate in the same way. As I got into high school and he moved on to college, we became friends. I had already been studying his game in person, watching his every move. How he used his body, or his footwork, or his vision. I dissected every piece of his game.

But I needed more.

I knew his family recorded his high school games. So what did I do? Yep, I commandeered about 7 tapes. Still have those VHS tapes to this day (google it young folks). I immediately popped them in and began my work. I watched tape after tape after tape. Then I watched them again and again and again to the point where I knew what he was going to do before he did (at least on tape). I picked and chose aspects of his game that I thought I could incorporate into mine and took to the driveway to begin my own transformation. At times I felt like I was cheating. I had such valuable information at my fingertips. These tapes were pure gold for me.

I took this same principle and applied it directly to myself. I was fortunate to have a family that was willing to record each of my games in high school. After every game, win or loss, I would watch the tape of that night. What did I do wrong. Are they mental or physical mistakes. What can I improve upon. What did I do well that I can do better. Every game, dissecting each play, offensively and defensively. Looking for every edge on the competition. I wanted that edge. I NEEDED that edge.

Today it’s 1,000,000 times easier. Information is so simple to attain now. Whether it be YouTube, Google or any other number of avenues, information is right at your fingertips. The question, as always, is what will you decide to do with it. You are here, reading this, so the good news is that you are interested in learning. Just our site alone provides you with informational blogs, videos and more to help you get rolling. But don’t stop here. Find all the info you can and study it like your final grade depends on it.

Because it does.

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Are you willing to start over?

Bad habits sure are a pain in the you know what. On the court or off, they can seem insurmountable and unbreakable. What’s the best way to break a bad habit? Never form one. However, since we are all human and inevitably create them in our lives and our games, we have to ask ourselves one very important question. Once these habits have been formed, and once you recognize that they are there, wreaking havoc…

Are you willing to start over and do what it takes to break that bad habit and lay the foundation for a good one?

You answer to that question will help to determine your success as a player. Bad habits are easy to come by. Too much playground ball can lead to numerous aspects of your game becoming less effective. Jumpshot, defense, turnovers, just to name a few. They can be small, barely recognizable. Or glaring like a spotlight. Whatever they are, they are not allowing you to maximize your talent as a player. Let me tell you one habit that almost ruined my career as a shooter.

It was my sophomore year in high school, I was the starting point guard. For some reason that I’m still not sure of to this day, my shooting form starting becoming “off ” throughout the course of the season. Maybe I wasn’t yet strong enough, who knows. It wasn’t a lack of practice and repetition, as I attending every off season camp and diligently worked out all summer long. But here I was, instead of shooting the proper way, with the shooting window open (meaning taking the ball from my right hip directly up to over my right eye, then releasing), it was starting to close on me. I was now taking the ball across my body, so not only did I not have a clear view of the basket the entire time, but I also wasn’t releasing it from the proper point. Have you even seen Kevin Martin shoot (Rockets, Thunder, Wolves)? Think that, yet way less effective. My shooting didn’t tank completely, but it was enough to effect my percentage and it was clear to see on tape that it just wasn’t right.


So I had a decision to make.


I could go on with this new found improper shooting form. Or I could fix it. One option was easy, the other was hard. One option gave me limited long term success, the other removed all limits.

I immediately chose option #2. No, not hashtag 2, number 2 (keep up kids).

Once the season finished, I got to work. With what, you say? The most basic of the basic shooting drills.

Form shooting, naturally. I started 2 feet in front of the basket and slowly, monotonously, worked on transforming my bad habit into a good one. Every day, shot after shot after shot. I didn’t even take a full jumpshot for a few weeks. Simply every day, right in front of the basket, 2 feet, 4 feet, 6 feet. One hand form shooting, then adding the guide hand. Over and over and over again until that window stayed open. I reprogramed my brain in order to reprogram my body.

Sure, it was painstaking. Sure, it was frustrating at times, wondering why in the heck it got to that point in the first place. But you know what else is was?


And that’s all that matters. Results. There are results, and then there are MAXIMUM results. It’s our choice as players to decide what we want.

Every player will get results by playing or working on their game. But the ones that are willing to analyze their games honestly, and then fix the bad habits, big or small, will be the ones that squeeze every last ounce out of the talent that was given to them.


The great news? After that off season of fixing my busted shot, I’ve never had to fix it again. I also gained some added benefits that I didn’t expect. I proved to myself once again that if I put in the work, gains would come. There was nothing but upside physically and mentally. It gave me the edge to know that if something became broken in my game in the future, I could fix it. There is nothing that can replace that. It gives you the confidence of an animal. When you know that you are not really truly willing to put in the work that it takes, there is always a hesitancy in the back on your mind. Hesitancy does not breed the ultimate confidence you will need to dominate.

So, are you willing to start over? What’s waiting for you on the other side is more exciting than you can imagine.



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Open your mouth!

It is the ultimate young people paradox. How many times, at each age level and both genders, do I have to tell players to quiet down while the coaches are talking. Fairly often (until the suicide runs start). How many times, at each level and both genders, do I have to tell players to speak MORE while on the court during gameplay? Based on the initial statement, you would think the answer would be zero. Since they enjoy speaking to each other so much, this would be a piece of cake. Right? Wrong! It is often like pulling teeth to get proper communication. So the ultimate paradox… speaking when not supposed to, not speaking when you need to. Why is this so important? Let me explain.

But first, we’ve released a few new videos lately (with more to come). Once you finish reading this, it will be right there waiting for you. We also just started our Fall Skills Clinics. With 6 more to go, there is plenty of time to get registered and prepare yourself for the season that is hurling towards us at the speed of light. Just click on the above link for Fall Clinics and get on board. Now where were we…

Communication is important in every relationship, and the sport of basketball is no different. You have a relationship with your teammates, coaches, and even the ball itself. Without clear, open lines, every possession suffers. When possessions suffer, final scores suffer.

What are some of the scenarios where communication is vital?

  • Substitutions – making sure the player coming off the floor tells the player entering the game who he/she is guarding. This responsibility lies on both players. Saying that he didn’t tell me does not fly. There’s nothing lazier than coming into the game and giving up an easy bucket only because you don’t know who you are supposed to be guarding.
  • Defensive screens. The type of communication here will depend on how your coach plays screens. I am a big believer at the youth level of NOT switching. Rather, teach the kids how to hedge, fight through, recover. This is more complicated and requires tons of talk. But it also teaches kids a more advanced way to play the game. Switching at an early age all the time just breeds laziness. A screen must be called out early if you want any chance of protecting against an easy scoring opportunity for the opponent. This is the same for a pick and roll out top or a cross screen from block to block. The same theories apply and the bottom line is that if your teammate doesn’t know the screen is coming, it’s hard to keep up.
  • Weak side defense. This is a huge one in the BT Basketball system. We work on it a ton due to it’s importance. Verbalizing is as important as positioning when you are on the weak or help side. It notifies your teammates that you are in the right spot. When they know you are working hard to be in the right spot, it motivates them to have your back as well. It energizes not only yourself but your teammates and an energetic cohesive defense is very difficult to score against.
  • Bench. There is nothing worse than a silent bench where all the players are secretly rooting against their teammates to mess up so they can get in the game! An encouraging, motivating bench is a sign of a well coached team. It is also a sign of an unselfish one. Teammates that cheer for each other after a great play and pick each other up after a poor one, have better team chemistry, attitude, and chance to win. Goes back to an old rule, treat people the way you would like to be treated. If you are a grouchy bench player, you can’t expect royal treatment once it’s your turn to shine.
  • Player-coach. Sometimes players will see things on the court that the coach does not. Do your best to forge a positive, open relationship with your coach. One where the lines of communication are open and you can feel free to express your opinion and share ideas. This is especially important, but not confined to, the point guard position.

As you can see, communication is huge. Each possession, there is an opportunity to win. Win more possessions throughout the course of a game, win the game itself.

Speak up, don’t be afraid, get out of your comfort zone, and see what it does to the entire team. You will be amazed at the difference in energy and fun between a team that communicates well and one that doesn’t!

Check out some of our new videos and please pass them along to basketball players and parents alike! Check out and Like our BT Basketball Facebook page for upcoming videos!

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FREE High School clinic, August Clinics, Fall AAU and more‏

Welcome to August! I know, crazy right? We have had a spectacular summer here at BT Basketball and plan to continue that this month. Check out all the things we have going on below, and to view all the pictures from our various summer events, please visit (and Like!!) the BT Basketball page.

Are you ready for the…

FREE High School Event of the Summer!

This will not be your ordinary skills clinic. We have designed this to cover areas of the game that are not usually taught in detail. They will include, but not be limited to…

  • Mental toughness in every aspect of the game including-Bouncing back from bad plays and bad games -Dealing with difficult teammates (and not becoming one) -Positive attitude in the face of adversity-How to easily build your confidence
  • The importance of discipline on the court and off including-Making the simple and correct play-Defensive accountability-Working on your game, the right way
  • Personal responsibility and decision making-Admitting and accepting your mistakes-Not blaming others -Building up your teammates
  • All players will be put through a sample workout that they can use for the remainder of the summer

    Special guest Rob Agnoli (owner of NJ Muscle) will be coming by to speak on the importance of building the proper strength for hoops


We will have classroom as well as court work so bring your sneakers as well as a notebook!

This event is for anyone entering high school, already in high school, or in college, and yes, it’s


To register click



August Clinics

Shooting Clinic 8/16

Shooting the ball is elemental to the game of basketball. There is always room for learning and improvement. In this clinic we will cover…

  • Catch and shoot
  • shooting off the dribble
  • how to quicken your release
  • proper footwork on all shots
  • how to pull up so quickly that your shot is unblockable
  • the one reason why most players don’t have proper arc
  • much more

Group 1: 5th-8th grade boys and girls 9:30-10:45

Group 2: High School boys and girls 10:45-12:00

Scoring Clinic 8/23

Shooting and scoring are two vastly different skill sets. Our second clinic will build upon the first and expand with…

  • How to get to the foul line at will
  • How to use your body to shield your defender
  • How to properly attack a defender based on his positioning
  • How to finish around the rim
  • How and when to properly use shot fakes
  • And, the one shot that will separate you from every player out there today

Group 1: 5th-8th grade boys and girls 9:00-10:15

Group 2: High School boys and girls 10:15-11:30


If you attend both clinics the cost is only $40 total

To attend an individual clinic is $25 per

To register click



Individual and Small Group Training
Individual and small group training will be available in August on a limited, week to week basis. If you are interested, contact us directly at brian@brianthomasbasketball.com


Fall AAU Tryouts

We are incredibly excited for another AAU season that is fast approaching. Please mark your calendar for tryouts on Sunday September 7th. Exact times will be announced in the coming weeks but we will have tryouts for girls 5th-HS and
 boys 3rd-HS. Registration is required but we do NOT charge a tryout fee. To register please click

Crazy campers!!

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March Madness Contest, Spring Little Ballers, Summer Camp, Summer League and more!

Welcome to Spring everyone (at least I think…)!! We here at BT Basketball
hope you had an incredibly successful 2013-14 campaign. Hopefully, you are still playing, which means it has been quite a year! No matter where you stand, we are happy to present to you many different events and opportunities for the upcoming Spring and Summer for your hoopster of any age. Check out everything below!


March Madness Tournament Challenge


Welcome to one of the best times of the year,  March Madness! It will soon be time to get
your brackets together and take a run at the title. For the second year in a row, we are pumped
to offer the BT Basketball March Madness Tournament Challenge. Once the
brackets are announced, we will be sending out another email on how to get registered
(easy) and give you a chance to win (hard). Last year, Wallkill Valley graduate and current
 SCCC player Kodie Hilbert was the winner (I was THIS close). This year, the winner will
receive an  exclusive BT Basketball tshirt AND if you are a player, you will receive
a FREE BT Basketball workout! If your basketball training days are behind you, you
are encouraged to gift it to a young player!
You will win the top of the line dri fit material shirt. Currently only 15 of these have
been made!
 Little Ballers Round 4 Spring Session!
Coming in April we present to you the next edition of the
Little Ballers series. For those that have attended these sessions in the past, get ready
for some new drills, games, and fun! For those that are new to this program, come see
what all the buzz is about surrounding these innovative skill sessions. For 1st-4th
grade boys and girls, it is the best way to teach your little baller the basics of the game
while fostering an enjoyment for the game that will last a lifetime! Details coming soon.
Summer Camp
Summer will be here in a flash so be sure to save these dates!
Boys Summer Camp July 14th-17th
Girls Summer Camp July 28th-31st
We once again will have the absolute best camp counselors in all of North Jersey.
They will include, but not be limited to…
-Matt Tobin-Hopatcong graduate, all time leading North Jersey scorer (2,350)
and current East Stroudsburg star (#2 in the nation)
-Zach Frick-Sparta graduate, two time player of the year, 1,000 point scorer.
Three time Freshman of the Week at William Paterson and Runner Up Freshman
of the Year
-Nate Sammans-Newton graduate and 1,000 point scorer. Current rising star
at Moravian
-Bryan Langan-Jefferson senior point guard led his team to a wildly successful
25-2 season
Many more to be announced over the coming months!
We will be offering an early bird discount this year as well so be on the lookout!
2nd Annual Youth Summer League
Info coming soon on the 2nd annual Youth Summer League. Divisions from 5th
grade up to 8th grade (and possibly 9th) starting in mid June. Last year, we held
a very competitive league with great games and we are looking to vastly expand
this summer. Why travel far when you can enter your team in a local league with
great competition!

Check out last year’s winners from High Point.


T-Shirt Contest

The first ever BT Basketball T-shirt contest will be coming your way soon.

Here’s how it will work. Our new shirts will soon be available for purchase, as a

lot of requests are coming it. Many of you have already received one. We will

announce a timeframe for you to purchase and in turn submit a picture with

your shirt. Entries can be funny, creative, inspirational, or all of the above. The

winner will be voted by

YOU and will receive a FREE week of Summer Camp! So get your ideas ready,
there is a lot on the line!
 So much happening this Spring and Summer with BT Basketball and
we thank you for being a part of it!
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