Hello friends, parents and players. This is a long overdue letter that I have sat down many times to write in
the last few months. It has been an interesting year with some great memories, along with some big changes.
The one thing that has become clear for me is the reason I got involved in coaching in the first place – the kids.
Everything else is just background noise and all events are part of my journey. I’ve done a lot of thinking
about all of the feedback I’ve listened to from the incredible parents and players I’ve had the privilege of
coaching over the last few years. I’ve taken your input and worked hard to expand on our program this year.
I’m hoping you will be as excited as I am when you see some of the changes!
Why the title “Filling the Gap”?
The one constant I have heard over and over the past few years is that it’s tough to really make leaps and
bounds when we only have two 1.5 hour practices per week.
We, at West Valley DRIVE, agree 100%
In fact, limited gym time creates a quandary for our coaches as well. Trying to utilize that gym time efficiently,
get reps and/or take time to diagram, walk through, and explain each basketball strategy and scheme is a
difficult balancing act, which inevitably results in lost practice time.
In order to Fill the Gap, our teams will continue to practice twice a week, but this year, for the first time, we
will be adding a program-wide class on Mondays:
We believe this new program alone will boost every player’s mental approach to the game and particular
game situations. Following each class, we will apply our new knowledge by doing an on-court walkthrough,
solidifying the concepts discussed in the classroom setting.
We live in an area full of bright, hard-working and studious kids, let’s take advantage of that!
We also are surrounded by some of the most cutting-edge technology in the world.
We’re going to take advantage of that too!
By taking the time to teach our players basketball for what it is – a game – we will guide them to another route,
intended to increase their understanding of concepts and schemes on an intellectual level, just like any other
game – whether it’s a sporting match, a board game or a game of chance.
For this aspect of our program, we have partnered or contracted with the biggest names in the current
basketball technology world – including using a program called Vreps. Vreps is basically a basketball game that
helps the players learn plays and defensive schemes.
We are also using the best film study software, video shooting breakdowns and our own individual basketball
workout library, to mention a few.
Basketball is a game of reps, and reps take time, focus and energy.
With our new, expanded program, we are setting the foundation for success.
Our program-wide class each Monday, followed by a walk through and then scrimmage, will allow us to make
up for all that stolen gym time in practices. Having reviewed items that could and should be understood
BEFORE getting on the court means that much more time actually applying what we have learned. Which
means more reps!!
In addition to the Monday class, each team will then have two (2) full 1 ½ hour practices per week. Finally,
players in 7th grade through high school will have an additional skill session per week. This will give us the reps
and the gym time needed to make the real breakthroughs and strides in development that players are really
Our coaching staff is a great combination of experienced coaches and accomplished players, each bringing to
the table their own specialty on the offense and defense as well as their tricks and tips for the mental aspects
of the game. Each team will have a coach and an assistant coach, utilizing our Coach in Training (CIT) program,
which recruits from our local high schools and colleges – something our players love!
As found on our home page, here is a checklist that addresses the changes discussed within this letter and in
reality, what sets us apart from our competition.
Hours in the gym are one of the main components of how we can get our players making strides quicker, but as most of us know, basketball gym time is a precious resource. Here are the breakdowns in hours per grade.
Not counting tournaments, most AAU programs practice 3 hours per week.
We are taking it to the next level.
That’s a lot more gym time per season, and if you decide to stick with West Valley DRIVE over 5 years (assuming you are with us from 4th through 8th grade), that’s tens of thousands more reps a player will have the opportunity to complete before high school, as compared to other programs.
Finally, lets discuss management and organization. We have assembled an incredible management team with the glue being my new partner and our operations manager, Sandra Darrow. I am excited to say that we have our gym times set for all teams next season and we will release the schedule soon after tryouts.
For the rest of our stellar team, please check our website where you can read about our management and our coaches!
Thank you for your time and support over the past few years! As you can see, we listen to your suggestions and without your input these incredible changes might not have happened.
We appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you so much for being part of the West Valley DRIVE family and we look forward to seeing you on the court!
West Valley DRIVE – Making better players, better people, daily
West Valley DRIVE
PO Box 414
Los Gatos, CA 95031