miami basketball

Pro Tips: How a strong lower body helps your ball handling

By Jay Ramos

Ball Handling seems to be everything players want to do. Amateur trainers use gimmicky youtube drills, players want to emulate street ball moves, and everyone wants to cross someone up on instagram.

Well, it’s not just the move itself that makes it happen. It’s how fast you can make it happen. The change of direction is based on setting up your defender first, than exploding into a move to place the force they put into defending you the other way.

We will have plenty of fundamental ball handling material to give you grip and strength as well as technique for your moves, but let’s build your body to perform them explosively.

You need good hamstrings to push past a defender on your moves. You need good gluteal muscles to stay low, and generate the force you need (Plus it hides the ball).

Do this series of squats to get started:

1) Air Squats: Keep your chest up and your feet pointed straight. Go as low as you can and back up in a moderate motion. Don’t rush it. When you’re ready, grab a few dumbbells and hold it to the side as you do the repetition.

2) Timed Squats: Go down for your air squat, hold for three seconds when you are low, and come up.

3) Held Squats: Get low in your defensive stance and hold the position for 30 seconds. Progress to 60 when you can.

Squat Miami Basketball

Challenge yourself to do a squat circuit like this:

1) Air Squats – One set of 15
– 20 second rest
2) Timed Squats – One set of 10
– 20 second rest
3) Held Squat
– 30 seconds

Repeat twice. Increase repetition on first set to 25, second set to 15, and last set to one minute in two weeks.

Do these daily and build stability and strength in your lower body. It’ll help that crossover be that much quicker, and as a bonus prevent injury on the court.

Jay Ramos is a professional basketball trainer with Next Level Basketball. He is currently constructing a basketball athleticism program called ‘Speed, Agility, and Quickness’ that will be out in 2014. Check out the preview at

Tip of the Day 10/24/14: Want to get faster? Core comes first

By Jay Ramos

Being effective on the basketball court has as much to do with skills as it does with the condition of our body. When I’m speaking to one of my players, I never tell them I’m a skills trainer or a personal trainer alone. To me, the portion of performance enhancement training I incorporate is specifically designed to translate to the basketball court, and goes hand in hand with the skills we develop.

It’s why I want to offer some advice that will make sure our upcoming program ‘Speed, Agility, Quickness’ can be maximized and you can be the player with the explosive first step and lightning quick feet you will be if you commit to this process.

Guys, let’s talk about core work. Like balance training, it’s an underrated aspect of athleticism that basketball players often don’t focus on. Everyone wants to move fast and jump around, and we will soon, but let’s make sure we put you in a position where your body can respond to our explosive work the way it’s supposed to.

You see, the core is the center of gravity for the body. A weak core causes inefficient movement and can lead to predictable injury. Many people have strong movement muscles, but weak stabilization muscles, and this causes forces not to transfer properly. Meaning: You’er not as fast. You won’t jump as high.

I want to issue everyone a challenge here.

I want everyone to do these two exercises every day. They may seem simple, but follow through and you will feel them.

Two Leg Floor Bridge: Perform at least 20 of these a day. Do it slowly, and hold it for five seconds at it’s peak, before slowly coming down. If you are an advanced athlete, try bringing one leg off the ground and pointing it straight out.

basketball training, core training,

Two-Leg Floor Bridge

The Plank: Perform five stationary planks for roughly 30 seconds each to begin with. Add as you go, or start with less while you adjust. It’s important to give our hips this foundation.

Basketball Training, core training

Le’ Plank

In addition to this, I want you all to do at least 50 push ups a day, and at least 20 overhand and underhand pull-ups a day. Go for more each week.

Let me know your progress in our Facebook group here. Let’s get stronger. Let’s keep building into the athlete we want to be.

Jay Ramos is a professional basketball trainer with Next Level Basketball. He is currently constructing a basketball athleticism program called ‘Speed, Agility, and Quickness’ that will be out in 2014. Check out the preview at

Coach Jay Ramos Our New Director of Miami Basketball Training


Coach Jay Ramos, assistant at Alonzo and Tracy Mourning and Miami Basketball Trainer (guard specialist) is the new Director of South Florida Operations with Next Level Basketball. Coach Jay has a strong expertise in agility training, shooting and ball handling, three key attributes for guards.

He’s already taken the Miami Basketball training world by storm, training long time client Tola Akomolafe (D1, FIU), CJ Coddington (D1, Stetson), Rodney Simeon (Ranked top 5 HS player in South Florida), and a number of top high school players at our Saturday Miami Basketball Training Group Sessions!

Call Coach Jay at (305) 586-3170 to book a Miami Basketball Training session with him!

How to be Better

Some of you Miami basketball players are wondering, ”why am I not getting better? I work so hard. I even added ball handling work or passing…”

I’ve been there– everyone has. And there are a few possible explanations.

A few things to consider:
1) If you’re doing more ball handling in the same time frame, that means you’re doing less of everything else. If you add something, add it, don’t substitute it. You’ll never grow that way.

2) You’re not pushing yourself! Don’t get settled into a routine longterm. Routines are designed to cover your bases. Every day, do something that you didn’t last practice– be it 10 extra minutes doing sprints, or 50 extra shots, that is how you grow!

3) You may be practicing hard, but you’re not practicing smart. See the Isaiah Thomas quotes from last blog and the following Michael Jordan quote, “You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way. Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.” This is where getting a shooting coach, or a skills & fundamentals trainer, like coach Brandon Harris, is undeniably essential.

Work with me. I will push you, you will get your work in and you will practice right — hard and smart.

You will get better, I guarantee it.

Coach Brandon Harris
Next Level Basketball Training of Florida