Cross Over, George Raveling and the Nike EYBL

•July 27, 2011 • 1 Comment

While packing up my apartment, I found this letter from George Raveling in 2006:

I did attempt to meet Mr. Raveling in Las Vegas in 2007. After a week of phone calls, and a five-hour drive, he refused to meet me and refused to pay for the books that were sent to him on condition that he would meet. He has refused to answer my calls ever since.

However, this chapter of Cross Over: The New Model for Youth Basketball Development, 1st Edition reads very similar to the Nike EYBL. I wonder what the “variety of individuals” at Nike did with the book…


Developing Basketball Intelligence – Amazing Book!

•November 15, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I received the following email this morning:

Coach B.

I have to say that DBI is the best book I have ever read about coaching basketball.  As a result of your book I have focused on teaching a few things such as ball handling, layups, spacing and defensive principals.  My team has taken off.  In the past our schools kids have been knocked around, but this year they are playing with more intelligence and savvy.


After a reply in which I thanked Dave and asked if I could share his email, he replied:

Sure thing.  You can definitely use me as a testimonial.  My name is David Lerch. Just so you know, our team over the last two years is 2-25.  This year 4 games in we are 3-1 and our 5th and 6th graders who feed into the 7th and 8th grade team are 2-2 and playing really hard.  Teams don’t want to play us this year.  We have had two drops for next year.

Developing Basketball Intelligence is available as a paperback through or an an e-book through

Also, for coaches looking to put Developing Basketball Intelligence into action, Playmakers Basketball Development Leagues feature a six-week, 12-session curriculum based on the concepts in DBI, and each participant receives a copy of Playmakers: The Player’s Guide to Developing Basketball Intelligence which is the player’s version of DBI.

Cross Over: The New Model of Youth Basketball Development Book Reviews

•September 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

On, I saw the following two reviews of Cross Over: The New Model of Youth Basketball Development:

Ross Cronshaw:

Brian McCormick’s books have completely changed the way I coach basketball. The systematic way he builds through age groups, providing detailed research to back himself up, is great. He is also not afraid to take established basketball concepts and ask “Why do we do it this way, would it not make more sense to do it another way”?, and actually backs it up with some logical concepts of his own is inspirational.

I have this book, plus most of Brian’s other books, and use them at every training I do, from 4 year olds to men’s teams, and have had great success so far. No other author has changed my opinions as much, I am definately part of the “Crossover Movement”.

Pat Flanders:

This is the single best resource for youth basketball coaches. McCormick is unique in that he frames his philosophy of coaching basketball around the larger issues of youth athletic development, developing in kids a solid foundation of fundamentals, and recognizing that becoming an excellent basketball player involves a whole lot more than just one-on-one moves. The book gives concrete examples of drills for different ages and skill levels, but behind all of this is his research and well-developed opinions on how to help kids grow in ways that are appropriate for their age and development level. i’m a youth basketball coach and am frustrated by the number of people who call themselves coaches, but want nothing more than to create petri dishes that grow individual superstars. McCormick’s book takes into account the game of basketball and how developing as a player requires understanding the game, having skills that are not just basketball-related, and the fact that there’s no point in doing any of this if the kids aren’t enjoying it.

Praise for Cross Over: The New Model of Youth Basketball Development

•May 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I received this email this week about Cross Over: The New Model of Youth Basketball Development:


I just finished reading the Third Edition of your book. I am an NSCA certified strength and conditioning coach, and a former collegiate strength coach.  I left the field to become a PE teacher in a stable job environment to raise my children. I am very impressed with the book.

I am in my fourth year of coaching 5th & 6th grade basketball, and I never played basketball in an organized setting.  I have had to learn a lot. Your book has been great.  It has convinced and challenged me about the way I have been coaching, and it has shed a lot of light on strength and conditioning with this age group.

I am confident you have authored the single most important book ever written on basketball and athletic development, and I have read many.

Thank you,

Tavis, Arkansas

Cross Over is available as a paperback through or or as an e-book through my site.

Nike Adopts Cross Over’s Elite Development League

•February 8, 2010 • Leave a Comment

[cover thumbnail]

In 2006, I published Cross Over: The New Model of Youth Basketball Development because of the problems that I perceived with the manner in which we develop youth basketball players in the United States. While the media criticized the development programs, nobody offered a solution. People like Sonny Vaccaro got lots of publicity for saying that they had plans to revolutionize the game, but nobody did anything. Cross Over was my plan. A step-by-step, stage-by-stage to youth basketball development.

At the time, I sent the book to many people around the country, including George Raveling at Nike. Raveling read the book, called me and asked me to send six more copies to Nike Headquarters. I complied with the understanding that Raveling would meet with me to discuss the book and the future of grassroots basketball development. In the fall of 2007, we set up our meeting in Las Vegas. He stood me up and refused to communicate with me since that time.

At the end of Cross Over, I set forth a vision for a new league for elite players that aimed to rectify many of the problems facing basketball development in the current grassroots programs. The solution was called the Elite Development League and called for a more periodized schedule, less competition and more training for elite-level high school players.

Today, however, I read an article which made me believe that Cross Over had an impact at Nike HQ:

Starting this summer, the “Nike circuit” will be replaced by-drum roll please-the Nike Youth Basketball League. Whats this league all about you ask? Over four weekends this summer, Nike’s 42 travel teams will all meet in Virginia (Boo Williams), Houston, Los Angeles, and South Carolina (Peach Jam), to face off against other Nike teams within their divisions as part of league play.

The NYBL is essentially a more pragmatic version of the EDL concept that I first wrote about in a Houston-area magazine in 2002. While the full EDL would be too controversial now, the NYBL mimics the Cup Championship that I proposed:

EDL Cup Championship

  • Draw teams into 12 4-team round robin mini-tournaments played during the college recruiting period in the spring (3 games)
  • Top team in each pool advance to Cup Championship; 2nd place teams advance to qualifying tournament
  • Qualifying Tournament: Divide 12 teams into 4 3-team pools (2 games). Winner of each pool moves to the Cup Championship.
  • Cup Championship: week-long summer tournament; 16 teams divided into four pools (3 games). Top two teams in each pool advance to single elimination tournament (1-3 games).
  • 3rd and 4th place teams compete in Summer Classic with the eight teams from the Qualifying Tournament who failed to advance to Cup Championship.
  • Summer Classic: Divide 32 teams into 8 4-team pools (3 games); winner of each pool moves to single elimination tournament (1-3 games).

The reasons for the League format were to create more time to train, reduce travel, make every game meaningful, increase the practice: game ratio and to prevent players from skipping from team to team. As I wrote in a 2003 article:

Do players play on club teams to gain exposure and get a scholarship, or do they play to develop skills and compete against the best players in the nation? My contention is that it should be possible to do both. By concentrating efforts on selected tournaments instead of trying to play in every tournament possible from April to June, coaches can work with teams and improve the individual skills, the shooting, the ball handling, the passing, the defense, the decision-making, movement without the ball, etc that the players must learn to be successful at the next level. As long as coaches merely roll the ball out and let the talented rely on their innate talent, they are acting more as a babysitter/travel agent than they are as a coach. Why can’t these elite programs find coaches who can coach, who can develop and refine skills and prepare players for the next level? I am sure there are those select programs out there that do; but, if so, they get far less publicity than the ones who don’t. I think the emphasis in summer ball should be on preparation, development and competition, not on simply compiling the most well known players or winning an otherwise meaningless summer tournament.

It appears as though Nike is attempting to move in this direction by adopting a league very much like the one featured in Cross Over: The New Model of Youth Basketball Development.

Hard2Guard Player Development Newsletters, Volume 4 Links

•January 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Issue 2

How to Juggle

Issue 3

Woodward focuses on ‘extra 1%’ with enlistment of vision expert from World Cup staff

Tyreke Evans’ Euro-Step

Tyreke Evans’ Stride-Stop

Issue 4

Long-term Athlete Development: Trainability in childhood and adolescence, windows of opportunity, optimal trainability

Finishing what he starts – Brooks gets tricky to score around much bigger players

Issue 5

How nerves affect soccer penalty kicks

Issue 6

No More Drills, Feedback or Technical Training…

Steve Nash vs. the regular ol’ layup

The Art of a Beautiful Game: The Thinking Fan’s Tour of the NBA (Sports Illustrated)

Issue 7

Self-Monitoring, Human Nature, and Sustained Learning

Issue 8

Eye-Training Video

Issue 9

The two faces of perfectionism

Hip Mobility

Squat Progression

Issue 10

Ice Skater Drill

Curry’s imaginative finishers grabbing attention

The Rondo

Issue 11

Arsene Wenger: ‘Am I too intelligent to be a football manager? You can never be intelligent enough’

Issue 12

Keith D’Amelio videos

Issue 13

Stability, Sport, and Performance Movement: Great Technique Without Injury

Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind: How Intelligence Increases When You Think Less

Developing Sport Expertise: Researchers and Coaches put Theory into Practice

Issue 14

The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance

Issue 18

Secrets of Soviet Sports Fitness and Training

Break the Ice

Don’t Ice That Ankle Sprain-with 43 min DVD (Sprain- The F.A.S.T. Approach to Preventing and Treating Sprained Ankles, volume 1)

Issue 19

Performance Assessment for Field Sports

Issue 20

How to Shoot a Floater

Stephen Curry’s The Rondo

Rajon Rondo’s Euro-Step

Issue 21

Harvard Tennis and the High Set

Valgus, varus or neutral knees?

Issue 22

Rear-Foot Elevated Split Squat

Valgus Overload

Exercise Bands

Issue 24

Coconut Water

Seven Behaviors of Successful Athletes

Sports Genes


Issue 25

Mike Roll and Leg Strength

How to Train like a World Cup Player

Mirror Drill

Issue 26

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Issue 30

Reading the Play in Team Sports

Issue 31

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work

Vitamin Water

Issue 32

Myth of Core Stability

Energy Drinks

Issue 33

Team USA article

Blitz Basketball

Organized Streetball

Issue 34

Suzanne Farrell

Land on your ties, save your knees

UCD study

Issue 35

Free Throw Shooting Technique

Efficiency and the Mid-Range Shot

Issue 37

Sports Personality Position Theory

A Multidimensional Approach to Skilled Perception and Performance in Sport

Identification of non-specific tactical tasks in invasion games

Issue 38

Russell Westbrook

Crossover Step

Defensive Footwork Drills

Issue 39

Anticipation in a real-world task

Issue 40

Benefits of weight lifting for kids

Issue 41

Inside the brain of an elite athlete

Issue 42

The Fighter’s Mind: Inside the Mental Game

Coaching Edge (U.K.) Reviews Cross Over

•May 19, 2009 • 1 Comment


Buy the e-book here or the paperback here.