Basketball Athletic Development with Jamie Smith
"Jamie is constantly challenging the status quo. His unique approach to sport performance and athletic development truly sets him apart. His process takes athletes outside of the typical weight room focus and instead puts them in various environments to develop the skills and attractors necessary for elite game
performance. He is able to take complex ideas and theories of athletic development and translate those into games, activities, and learning opportunities where the athlete can self-organize, explore, and create movement solutions. In using a constraints led approach his athletes become better movers and decision makers."

- Ryan Wood | Founder and Head Coach, Movement Room, LLC
Amazing praise from some championship coaches
"Jamie is undoubtedly one of the best in the world at what he does. For the first time, basketball coaches have an opportunity to learn more about creating opportunities to develop athletes who are adaptable for the needs of our sport. This is simply a huge competitive advantage for any program."
Alex Sarama | College Prep/Basketball Immersion
"I really enjoyed working with Jamie and immediately saw the benefit to his unique athletic development program. Rather than just becoming bigger and stronger, through Jamie’s activities I felt more explosive and better suited for the demands of basketball."
Linus Holmstrom | College Prep & Swedish National Team
"It’s becoming clearer to me every day that traditional approaches to skill and athletic
development may not be the best way to help athletes fulfill their potential and
play injury-free. Jamie’s approach to athletic-development is the way forward. His ideas allow athletes to improve athleticism, strength, mobility, power and game awareness together."
Rob Newson | Basketball Coach and Founder Kairos Performance
"Jamie has made me a stronger, more powerful and explosive athlete while also
keeping me healthy. Jamie’s unique approach to training and injury prevention
through his pre-training isometrics and game-like agility training has helped me
Alex Jefferies | Forward, Merrimack College Ice Hockey
"Jamie Smith’s unique approach to strength, speed, and agility training has
helped me to reach my goals and perform at my highest potential. Through a balanced
program filled with elements of movement that challenge every aspect of sport
performance, Jamie’s concepts not only lead to immense improvement, but also a learning space where athletes like myself are able to adapt and revise their skills."
Aidan Wilkie | Defensive Midfielder, University of Vermont Men’s Lacrosse
"Jamie has influenced me and my training process more than any other coach I’ve worked with. As I started to learn more from him, I let go of the “traditional” weight room approach and fully committed to learning more about his constraints led and human first approach. Jamie takes you out of that traditional box and creates an environment to empower movement expression, creativity, competition and education. The outcome of this environment is a confident individual with elite movement proficiency, adaptability and an even better problem solver."
Rachel Llanes | Head Strength and Conditioning Coach San Jose Barracuda
Watch samples from the basketball athletic preparation with Jamie Smith

 If you are passionate about guiding your players through their developmental process and discovering unique ways that blend physical preparation and skill adaptation, this is the video series for you.

Watch how Jamie Smith, the founder and head sport preparation coach of The U of Strength, integrates his basketball athletic preparation concepts into a team and practice environment.

This all access series shows Jamie Smith in action during his one week at College Prep in Italy. Jamie was brought in by Alex Sarama to help improve the athletic performance program at College Prep, extending the use of the Constraint-Led Approach to not just the basketball elements but also all the athletic development work.

These sessions show how basketball coaches do not need a weight room or access to fancy equipment. All of Jamie’s activities can be done on a basketball court or outside on a grass field. This all-access series enables coaches to deepen their knowledge of the Constraint-Led Approach and learn how to apply these ideas to athletic development.

Using no high-tech specialized equipment and doing all his work on-court, this all-access series shows coaches how they can receive an enormous competitive advantage through developing athletes that are better-adapted for the needs of playing basketball.  

Your players will thank you.

As coaches we need to stop operating in a vacuum and realize that everything is connected. We need to remember that athletes, no matter the age or skill level are human beings first and as a coach it’s our responsibility to guide and help each individual become awesome humans (not just basketball athletes). The traditional approach solely focuses on developing the physical component, which is important but only one piece to the developmental process. When constructing and implementing Jamie’s different training/ learning environments it’s paramount to consider the following:


All of the systems (physical, psychological, emotional & social) are interconnected; when the practice/ training process is enjoyable and the environment affords confident movers, the physical abilities (strength, power, speed, etc.) develop at an impressive rate.

There is nothing else like these videos. Watch how a sport preparation coach integrates their ideas into a basketball practice environment. 
Or just get the pressing system bundle minus the skill development concepts for how they play bonus video.
$75.00 USD

 Remove the guessing.

Skip the hours of research.

Get immediately actionable ideas to improve your player’s sport preparation and performance.

Instead of watching a lecture or taking a course, watch how Jamie Smith’s Athletic Development concepts get integrated into a team and practice environment.

Who is Jamie Smith?

Coach Jamie Smith is the founder and head sport preparation coach of The U of Strength. He is passionate about guiding his athletes through their developmental process and discovering unique ways that blend physical preparation and skill adaptation.

As a former college basketball player at Merrimack College, he graduated with a degree in Sports Medicine and a concentration in Exercise Physiology. He has had the opportunity to coach under some of the most knowledgeable and experienced coaches in the industry.

Jamie has coached a variety of athletes from novice to elite skill levels, some of which include current NHL, NBA, and MLS players and the 2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champion UConn Huskies. Through adaptive, creative and experienced based program design, Jamie assists his athletes in reaching their full potential on and off the ice, court, and field.

Jamie Smith is providing you access to an incredible amount of content. Over 4 hours of footage in 6 videos.
$75.00 USD

Learn more about the philosophy behind Jamie Smith’s unique approach to athlete development and what is covered in each video:

The preparation process is a balancing act, where the coach strives to manage stressors and blend all the different skills and qualities an athlete needs to be successful on the court. Consolidating stressors is one of the most effective ways to organize the athlete’s preparation process. Jamie follows a low-high model, all of the extensive (low) CNS stressors on one day and the intensive (high) CNS stressors on the subsequent day. The intensive training sessions are always preceded by lower intensity or extensive training sessions. This includes gameplay, med ball throws, coordination, upper body force acceptance and isometric training. The purpose is to potentiate the athlete’s system for upcoming high intensity work (speed, agility, plyometrics, isometric training & intensive sport practice).

It’s important that the coaching staff is on the same page. For example, when the athlete has an easy (low) sport practice, then Jamie will construct an extensive training session. This will allow for better recovery and a higher level of preparedness/readiness for the following intensive practice/ training session.

A great analogy comes from the legendary sprint coach, Charlie Francis, who thinks of the athlete’s system (CNS) as a cup and the water is stress. There is a finite amount of water that the cup can hold. You will run into problems if the cup overflows (overtrained). Stress is stress, whether it’s:

 Lifestyle = work, school, family, friends, etc.
Sport = practice, competition
 Training = speed, power, strength, etc.
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Low CNS Session 1
At the beginning of every session, Jamie used one of his foot sensory drills. This included rolling with a spiky ball and/ or walking in a variety of directions on different types of surfaces (pvc, noodle, rocks, grass, etc.). The purpose is to utilize different tactile inputs to “wake-up” the foot and teach the individual to appreciate the different aspects of the foot (forefoot pressure, inside/ outside edge strategies & tripod).

Also, Jamie implemented a breathing drill that guided the athlete into parasympathetic state (under control & calm) and facilitated an awareness of the relationship between the pelvis and ribs. Immediately following this he programmed his isometric ankle-foot series. The objective with these drills is to improve strength/ stiffness qualities, teach the athlete to take ownership of his/her foot shape (ankle rocker) and appreciate the different arches (transverse, medial & lateral).

Then Jamie concluded the ankle-foot drills with several different extensive ankle-dominant plyometrics. This benefited the athlete by facilitating effective force transmission and management (elastic strategies) in all three planes of motion.
Next, Jamie incorporated his pre-training isometrics and organized these into 2 categories: general and specific shapes. All of the general shape isometrics are performed on low CNS sessions, while the specific shape isometrics are
executed on high CNS sessions. The benefits include the following:
Structural changes (tissue remodeling)
Neurological efficiency
Shape/ positional awareness

Next, Jamie incorporated his pre-training isometrics and organized these into 2 categories: general and specific shapes. All of the general shape isometrics are performed oSubsequently, he designed an activity that is known as his landing prep. This component of the pre-practice/ training prepares the athlete’s body (physical) and mind (psychological) for the remainder of the session. This is one of Jamie’s go to tools to provide extra exposure to the perceptual-motor landscape and not always relying on basketball sneakers (barefoot). The idea behind this environment is to:

Connect movement strategies with sensory information (opponent)
Develop pretensioning and force acceptance qualities
Exploration of deceleration strategies (bilateral & unilateral)
Facilitate an appreciation for the foot
Improve force transmission qualities (elastic strategies)
Crawling activities are a staple in Jamie’s pre-practice/ training and might be one of the most important skills for the basketball (any sport) athlete. Crawling fills in the coordination gaps,restores neural patterns (opposition) and builds confidence with interacting the entire body with the ground. Another benefit is the opportunity for exploratory behaviors and novel movement problems. This will help develop a more adaptable, robust and resilient movement signature.

When designing practice plans and training programs it’s essential to take into consideration the physical, psychological, social and emotional systems. One simple way to address these four pillars is through gameplay. Majority of my game-like activities are programmed on extensive (low CNS) and recalibration sessions. One of Jamie’s programming tactics with the gameplay environments is to alternate between an emotional and a social emphasis. He also keeps in mind what the focus is for the subsequent intensive session and strive to take a complementary

For example, when the high CNS has a strength and power emphasis, the game will
afford similar biomotor abilities and movement problems. This is strategically constructed through task constraint manipulation and a creative mind.

Following the gameplay environments, Jamie utilizes various throwing activities. Med ball throws are a staple in most programs and typically found in the coach’s toolbox. Traditionally this tool is implemented to improve upper body power development and special strength movements. Jamie utilizes the med ball slightly differently and has been successful with combining the throws with a variety of motor patterns (hybrid movements). The objective is to:

Provide context to the unique shapes (body positions) & force vectors required in sporting actions
Teach movement principles
Increase exposure to exploratory behaviors
Place an emphasis on general coordination abilities
Encourage creative expression
Lastly, Jamie concluded this session with one of his force acceptance drills. Deceleration - a skill and a key concept taught early on in the practice/ training process - is the idea of learning how to “stop” before developing the “go”. It’s very common to see force acceptance drills designed for the lower body, but for whatever reason the upper body is ignored. Jamie makes it a priority to improve an athlete’s “breaks.” This will lead to movement efficiency, long term athletic development and higher tissue tolerance. Instead of the traditional approach of performing the same “perfect” technique with each repetition, Jamie provided options (different hand positions) to challenge the athlete’s coordination and ability to maintain effective shapes.
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High CNS Session 1

All of Jamie’s intensive (high CNS) sessions will have an overall emphasis on either the physical or psychological system. This will help guide the type of load placed on the athlete:

Physical = Strength, power & change of direction or speed & elasticity
Psychological = Perception or decision-making

At the beginning of this session, he included an isometric series with all of his specific shapes (split squat, lateral squat, cross-under squat, single leg, single leg knee punch). Initially he will utilize the dowel for assistance, but over time he will layer in different challenges to increase the difficulty level. The most important aspect is not the duration of the hold, but the intent and ability to generate maximal tension at different positions.

Jamie then incorporated a coordination activity, what he calls “single leg knee punch drills”. The objective was to simplify and create mini contextual experiences (very low volume) that facilitated key movement principles. These concepts are immediately applied to an environment that afforded higher velocity athletic actions (speed & agility).

Next, Jamie implemented a speed drill where he facilitated acceleration, max velocity or curved sprinting strategies. The purpose is to teach and challenge, not go through the motions and rehearse the same “perfect” movement strategies over and over again. When introducing a new speed drill, Jamie’s approach is to start simple and let the activity’s design provide the majority of the coaching. Implementing certain teaching tools (dowel, basketball, partner, wall, etc.) will help guide the athlete to feel and discover effective speed solutions. It’s essential when developing speed qualities the athlete is fully recovered between repetitions (full rest periods) and adheres to the concept of quality over quantity (low volume).

The speed drill was followed by agility training or problem-solving situations. The traditional approach neglects the role the athlete’s brain (perception) and behavior (intention) plays in skill adaptations. Cone drills can’t replicate the same type of sensory information, movement intentions and engagement level created by a properly designed agility environment. Jamie’s problem-solving activities provide the athlete opportunities to connect his/ her movement patterns with intent (defensive or offensive) and contextual information.

A key component to agility environments is the exposure to perceptual-motor landscape. Perceptual-cognitive training should be programmed like any of the other skills commonly found in an athlete’s preparation process. There should be a blend, where the focus isn’t solely on the motor output, but also on the input (sensory information).

Jamie’s agility (problem-solving) construction process is dependent on the type of load (physical or psychological). This helps guide the activity’s design, type of situation and task constraints. One of the programming tactics with Jamie’s agility training is to alternate between a physical and psychological loading emphasis. It’s important to note, he does not take a reductionist approach and try to isolate or exclude the different qualities, skills and situations. Instead, each session will have a physical or psychological emphasis and at least one of my situations:

  • Defensive and Offensive Transition
    • Defense: This occurs when possession is lost & defense is not organized
    • Offense: This occurs when possession is regained & defense is not organized 
  • Defensive and Offensive Organization
    • Defense: Not in possession, but organized & in defensive formation
    • Offense: Gain of possession & both sides are organized 
  • Advantage and Disadvantage
    • One side has more participants than the other & the situation is unbalanced
  • Fatigue management

Incomplete recoveries, time constraints and perturbations (mini collisions)

Jamie looks at each rep as a learning opportunity where the athlete can gain the experiences of effective and ineffective strategies. When applying these different scenarios, the appropriate amount of variability is an essential component to the skill acquisition process. The goal is to develop high execution variability (process) and low outcome variability (end result stays the same). This is where the concept of repetition without repetition plays a major role in our problem-solving environments. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Simple, slight changes to the athlete’s starting location, initial velocities, size of workspace, number of participants, goal’s location, etc. can create different movement problems and facilitate adaptable solutions.

The problem-solving emphasis (speed or strength) will determine whether Jamie concluded with a plyometric activity or force acceptance drill. Elasticity or the ability to effectively transfer energy underpins all of the different speed, change of direction and agility skills. There’s a misconception that plyometrics have to always be intensive or performed with maximum effort. Jamie has been successful incorporating extensive plyometrics where the focus is being under control, effortless and rhythmic. These are a fantastic tool to teach the athlete to appreciate the importance of the foot, the concept of pre tensioning and build confidence, redirecting forces in different directions (linear, lateral, diagonal & rotational) and shapes (straight & bent-leg). Jamie also takes into consideration the surface, which is often overlooked or ignored when developing elastic strategies. The purpose of manipulating the surface is to change the sensory input and facilitate an appreciation for pre tensioning, foot function and force vectors.

Similar to the previous session (low CNS) Jamie utilized force acceptance drills (altitude landing & depth drop) as an opportunity to stress the importance of how the athlete’s system cannot produce (force production) what it cannot absorb (force acceptance). With the novice or untrained athlete, the eccentric forces will exceed the system’s capability of accepting and re- producing (redirecting), resulting in tissue overload and poor outputs (slower sprints, lower/shorter jumps, delayed changes of direction, etc.). If there’s minimal tissue tolerance, there will be a greater chance of breakdown. Altitude landings and depth drops is a fantastic strength tool for decreasing neural inhibition and gaining an appreciation for the foot. Jamie included different layers of challenges to increase the amount of variability and foster adaptable deceleration (landing) strategies. Also, this can be utilized as a teaching tool and provide the athlete the opportunity to learn how to effectively separate the upper from the lower body. This is a tool that every athlete should have in his/ her movement solution toolbox.

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Low CNS Session 2
After the high CNS session, Jamie has constructed a low CNS session very similar to the beginning of the week. At the start he included an isometric series with general shapes. Usually he has the athlete choose from the isometric pre-training menu and encourage different motor patterns (compared to day 1).

Immediately after the isometrics, Jamie programmed another landing prep activity. Very rarely does he have the athletes repeat the same environment and will include an additional layer(s) of challenge (perturbations/ mini collisions). But the objective doesn’t change. The purpose is to connect the individual’s elastic and deceleration strategies with contextual information.

Also, on this day Jamie designed and implemented more gameplay environments,  alternating the emphasis (emotional or social), when it’s an emotion the game-like activity typically has more individual situations and when it’s social the environment will have more team situations.

Another important difference with Jamie's game-like activities is the design process and whether it’s an athlete-centered or athlete- driven approach:

Athlete-Centered = Coach guides and has a say (manipulate constraints) in the activity’s design & application
Athlete-Driven = Athlete guides the activity’s design and application, while the coach stays out of the process When I apply the athlete-driven approach, the only outside influence was the type of tool (noodle, frisbee, spike ball, etc.) utilized in the game.
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High CNS Session 2
The second high CNS session will have the opposite focus (physical or psychological) compared to the previous intensive day. Athletes are complex adaptive systems, and in order to push the envelope of athletic development, practice/ training should combine the physical and psychological sub-systems. The objective of the practice/ training process should be to exploit the information provided to the athlete, creating an environment of variability and requiring the individual to utilize the perceptual-cognitive system is vital to success in competitive sports.

On this day, the emphasis was on psychological loading and the primary difference was with the pre-practice/ training 1v1s and agility activities. The perceptual-motor landscape needs to be respected. The minute it is decoupled and isolated the information from the action loses the “stickiness” of the skills, qualities and principles. The objective is to facilitate “sticky” acceleration, change of direction (cutting) and deceleration strategies or develop movement solutions that transfer to the chaotic sporting environment.

Next up, was agility training, where the focus was on challenging the athlete’s perception and decision-making abilities. Jamie manipulated the task constraints to construct advantageous and disadvantageous situations, afford distractions and incorporate time constraints to increase the amount of pressure within the repetition. These are great examples of how to increase the psychological load on an intensive training/ practice session. Another key component to these problem-solving environments are the unpredictable element. Unpredictability is an essential part to the developmental process, benefitting athletes by improving coordination, increasing variability and creative expression, guiding them to develop self-organization, and gaining an appreciation for being comfortable in uncomfortable situations.
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Potentiation (Pre-Game) Session
Competition is the most stressful (physical, psychological, emotional & social) aspect of the athlete’s week. Since Jamie consolidates stressors, he takes advantage of this high CNS environment and looks at this as an opportunity to provide extra exposure to learning and performance (physical and; psychological) potentiation. It’s important to note, everything was programmed at very low workloads (volume).

Similar to all of the other high CNS sessions, early on Jamie included an isometric series with specific shapes. He increased the coordinate demand by layering in drop and catch (with basketball) tasks. This was followed by one of his landing prep activities. The purpose was to provide small exposure to perceptual-cognitive training and facilitate change of direction shapes, unilateral actions (bounding), triplanar elasticity, pretensioning and force acceptance qualities.

Then Jamie applied complex and contrast methods to place an emphasis on speed qualities and develop acceleration strategies at different velocities. The initial movement was a partner resisted isometric, and the goal was to allow the athlete to feel authentic shapes and foot pressure prior to the different acceleration drills. Immediately following, he utilized heavy band resistance to facilitate similar shapes as the previous isometric and total body projection (horizontal) at reduced velocities. After he utilized partner assistance to develop acceleration patterns from different starting shapes (straight & bent-leg). Jamie concluded this series with a rebound and three dribble burst activity to connect acceleration solutions with contextual information (opponent).
Lastly, Jamie designed an agility environment that afforded higher velocity actions (acceleration) and fostered quick and effective decision-making abilities. Additionally, he constructed a couple of task constraints (primary & secondary tasks) for each role (offensive and defensive), this created different movement opportunities & problems (individual & team).
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Recalibration (Recovery) Session
Typically the day after a game is considered a day off, which at certain times might be warranted, but Jamie takes a different approach and is an advocate for providing the athlete a small dose of isometrics, landing prep, coordination training and gameplay environments. The purpose is to recalibrate and restore the athlete’s physical, psychological, emotional and social systems. During this time it’s important to get the athlete out of his/ her basketball sneakers, in different
environments (outside, sunlight & grassy surface) and feeling better by the end of the session.
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Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity. You will learn and enjoy watching Jamie Smith's athletic development concepts in action.
$75.00 USD
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