Zor Sports Blog

Featuring sport-specific articles to fuel athletic improvement and also keeping you up to date with current ZOR events.

8 Ways to Improve Your Game at Home
Sept 28, 2020 | Zor Sports

For those of you who decide to take their game to the next level, putting in that extra work on your own time can be the difference...


Read More
ZOR COVID-19 Blog Post
Sept 24, 2020 | Zor Sports

Canada was hit with the novel coronavirus in numbers that increased exponentially on a day to day basis. This resulted in...


Read More
Balancing basketball and school?
Sept 10, 2020 | Zor Sports

...Finding the perfect balance between school, sports and other activities is the key to success.


Read More
Zor's All-star Event
April 5, 2019 | Coach Manny

Hey ZOR Family, did you know that one in every five Canadians suffers from a mental health illness...


Read More
10 Things to Teach your Child
March 13, 2019 | Coach Manny

Students in our academy (and parents) always ask me, "Coach, what can I do to improve my game (or my child's game)...


Read More

Blog Articles

8 Ways to Improve Your Game at Home

Sept 28, 2020 | Darren Rachel (Fall 2020 ZOR Sports Management Co-op Student)

8 Ways to Improve Your Game at Home

As we navigate through this challenging time, basketball training has become very limited and restricted. Although we are experiencing the cancellation of sports, lockdowns and limited access to facilities, there are still plenty of ways to improve your game at home.

For those of you who decide to take their game to the next level, putting in that extra work on your own time can be the difference. Taking into consideration the limit of space and access to equipment athletes may have at home, here are 8 tips that can help improve your game at home.

1) Get in Shape

Strength and Conditioning exercises are important because being in good shape is going to prevent you from getting injured.

Bodyweight, Plyometric and Resistance training, are great workout methods that can improve your core and body strength. These workouts are great If you don’t have access to weights at home.

Try to improve your time and stamina each run or bike ride. The best players are often the most conditioned athletes.

2) Work on Ball Handling

Constantly keeping a ball in your hands will help you gain the feel for it and improve your handles. There are plenty of dribbling exercises that can be done in limited spaces.

Ball control workouts will also help build your hand-eye coordination, which will ultimately improve your ball handling skills on the court.

Be creative with your drills, include a tennis ball in your workout or even wrap the basketball in a plastic bag to improve your reflexes and control. Professional players like Steph Curry and Kyrie Irving often use these unorthodox methods to improve their ball handling.

3) Improve Your Shooting

Repetition and building muscle memory is the key to improving your jump shot. Repetition builds muscle memory, which allows you to not think about movements you're doing because it has become natural.

Work on form shooting, whether it be outside on an actual basketball hoop or laying down on the floor, practicing your shooting motion is one of the best ways to build muscle memory.

4) Study the Game

Some of the best players of all time are the biggest students of the game. Watching and studying the movement of NBA and college players can help expand your skill set and basketball knowledge.

Analyze what a player or team does well or does not do well. Taking that extra step to improve your basketball IQ will help give you a competitive advantage over your competition.

Learn from others, there are many great basketball analysts on TV, youtube and podcasts that can give you different perspectives; ESPN, Attention to Detail and BballBreakdown are just a few to mention.

Basketball greats like Kobe, Kareem and Larry Bird have all written books that can give you a better understanding of the game and an insight to their mindset.

5) Visualize Yourself Playing

Another useful mental training method is visualization. Mentally put yourself in a game like scenarios, so that when you face a similar situation in real life, you know what to do.

Professional athletes always talk about the power of the mind and how mental strength can give you that advantage over your competition in tough situations.

6) Basketball Specific Exercises

Footwork is an important fundamental in the game since basketball is a game of changing speeds and direction. Proper footwork can enhance a players ability to play offense and defense.

Find a space at home and use cones or any other props you might have around to create agility drills. Agility training improves flexibility, balance, and control. It also can help improve your body positioning, reaction time, change of pace and direction.

7) Learn your Strengths and Weaknesses

Write down a list of things you do well during games and things you don’t do well, that can use some improvement.

If you're not sure what your strengths and weaknesses are, ask your coaches, parents and friends what they think about your game. Use this list to design workouts that can improve those skills.

8) Work on Nutrition

Fuelling your body properly before games and practices is important in order for you to maximize your performance on the court.

Basketball is a sport that consumes a lot of energy, so having a healthy diet can help enhance your performance. Good nutrition is also an important part of living a healthy lifestyle.

Taking these extra steps and developing your fundamentals will allow you to take advantage of the time at home to improve your basketball skills. The more work you put in, the better your results will be. These are just a few examples of ways to improve your game at home and get some work in during this challenging time.

Back to Index Read Next Article
ZOR COVID-19 Blog Post

Sept 24, 2020 | Zor Sports
ZOR COVID-19 Blog Post

March 2020

Canada was hit with the novel coronavirus in numbers that increased exponentially on a day to day basis. This resulted in the shutting down of many businesses, schools, religious institutions and pretty much anything that was not considered ‘home.’ During this time, our company also had to close our doors temporarily until case numbers of covid-19 decreased enough to let the masses enter new stages of quarantine with more lenient guidelines. 

June 2020

Peel Region of Ontario enters Phase 2 of reopening under the provincial government and ZOR is permitted to hold training sessions in limited numbers (max 10 people in the gym at a time) with strict covid-19 guidelines in effect. These guidelines included but not were not limited to the following:

  • Ensuring students line up outside the gym door in a single file with at least 2m (6 feet) of distance
  • Taped lines used to separate students from each other
  • Wearing face masks when entering and exiting the training facility
  • Sanitizing hands upon entry and exit
  • Following a clear pathway upon entering
  • Maintaining distance in the workouts through the use of taped lines on the court floor
  • Bringing your own basketball
  • Bringing your own filled water bottle
  • Disinfecting areas where bags are places in between sessions
  • Dismissing students individually
  • Sweeping the gym at the end of a training day 

All these policies minimize the spread of any airbourne bodily fluids (which is how the coronavirus typically invades a host) through keeping distance between students, minimizing flow to high traffic areas, and proper hygiene. We will maintain all the rules that were used in the summer to create a safe playing environment, and will also introduce additional measures (i.e. temperature checks) to optimize safety.

August 2020

Peel Region enters Phase 3 of the provincial reopening plan. Indoor gathering capacities increase to a maximum of 50 people as the trajectory of cases declining continues. However, within a few weeks of entering this phase there was a surge in numbers with over 400 cases being reported over a span of 2 days in the week of September 5th (ref: www.ontario.ca). We must continue to monitor the situation closely and execute any changes in our business operations as needed.

It is important to understand that there will not be effective policy implementation without strict enforcement by all staff and volunteers at ZOR Sports Academy. If a company employee observes a violation of any of the above rules and regulations, we expect that it will be handled swiftly via a warning system. If violations are recurring or even worsening, this is ground for immediate removal from ZOR programming. We will explore this further in the ‘Enforcing Rules and Regulations’ part of this document.

COVID-19 SAFETY PROTOCOLS - RECOMMENDATIONS FOR  A SAFE PLAYING AND TRAINING ENVIRONMENT...

  1. FACE MASKS MUST BE WORN WHILE WAITING OUTSIDE THE FACILITY IN LINE AND WHEN ENTERING OR EXITING ANY ZOR TRAINING, PRACTICE, OR GAME FACILITY.

  2. TAPED LINES OUTSIDE THE FACILITY MUST BE HONOURED AND USED AS 2M (6 FEET) SEPARATORS FOR ALL STUDENTS.

  3. TEMPERATURE WILL BE CHECKED BEFORE STEPPING INSIDE THE FACILITY PREMISE.

  4. STUDENTS WILL BE ADMITTED INSIDE THE FACILITY IN LIMITED NUMBERS (THIS MAY BE ONE BY ONE OR TWO TO THREE STUDENTS AT A TIME DEPENDING ON AVAILABLE SPACE).

  5. HANDS MUST BE SANITIZED UPON IMMEDIATELY ENTERING ANY FACILITY. IF YOU ARE UNSURE OF WHERE THE HAND SANITIZER IS PLACED PLEASE ASK STAFF FOR ASSISTANCE.

  6. STUDENTS MUST FOLLOW A LABELLED AND CLEAR PATHWAY UPON ENTERING ANY TRAINING, PRACTICE OR GAME FACILITY.

  7. ALL BAGS WILL BE PLACED IN A LABELLED STORAGE AREA.

  8. LABELLED (OR DIVIDED BY PYLONS) AREAS ON THE BASKETBALL COURT MUST BE USED TO MAINTAIN DISTANCING DURING PROGRAM SESSIONS.

  9. STUDENTS MUST BRING THEIR OWN BASKETBALLS FROM HOME. IF A STUDENT FORGETS THEIR BASKETBALL, THEY WILL BE PROVIDED A BALL TO USE BY A ZOR STAFF MEMBER. BALLS WILL BE SANITIZED UPON COMPLETED USE OF THE EQUIPMENT.

  10. STUDENTS MUST BRING THEIR OWN FILLED WATER BOTTLES FROM HOME. WE WANT TO AVOID TRAFFIC TO HIGH CONTACT AREAS WHERE GERMS CAN EASILY SPREAD (E.G. WATER FOUNTAINS).

  11. STAFF MUST DISINFECT AREAS WHERE BAGS HAVE BEEN STORED AFTER EVERY TRAINING SESSION. LYSOL WIPES AND APPROPRIATE SANITIZING EQUIPMENT WILL BE PROVIDED.

  12. STUDENTS WILL BE DISMISSED INDIVIDUALLY FOLLOWING THE COMPLETION OF THEIR PROGRAM.

  13. THE GYM FLOOR MUST BE SWEPT THOROUGHLY AND ANY HIGH TRAFFIC AREAS MUST BE DISINFECTED AT THE END OF A TRAINING, PRACTICE, OR GAME DAY.

  14. REPEAT PROTOCOL ON EVERY TRAINING, PRACTICE, AND GAME DAY.

Temperature Checks

ZOR students will have to complete a temperature check before entering any facility where programs will take place. Checks will be conducted using a non-contact FC-1R100 thermometer. The FC-IR100 thermometer is equipped with clinical accuracy to measure temperature and provide a feedback colour that indicates the risk level associated with a subject.

A green light indicates that the person is at a healthy body temperature, an orange light means the person should pay close attention to their body, and a red light indicates fever or hypothermia. The thermometer scan will serve as an additional gatekeeper for our programs, any students displaying a temperature associated with a red feedback response will not be permitted into the facility. 


Back to Index Read Next Article
How to balance basketball and school?

Sept 10, 2020 | Zor Sports

How to balance basketball and school?

As a student athlete, balancing school, basketball and other extra-curricular activities can be very difficult at times. Players often prioritize sports over school, which can lead to poor academic results. Finding the perfect balance between school, sports and other activities is the key to success. Here are 8 tips that will help student athletes balance school and basketball.

Manage Your Time

A lot of student athletes get burnt out when they have such a demanding schedule of school, sports and other activities. Planning out your time can help keep you organized, on time and relieve unnecessary stress and anxiety. Create and plan out a schedule or calendar that includes school project due dates, tests, practice times, game days and other important task or events.

Don’t Procrastinate

Leaving school task until the last minute can lead to you falling behind, poor academic grades, unnecessary stress, lack of sleep and focus, which will ultimately affect your performance on and off the court. Complete assignments as soon as they are given, take advantage of study halls/free periods, and school resources to get work done.

Keep a Positive Mental Attitude

Expectations from school, sports and even parents can be overwhelming for young athletes. Taking time to clear your mind and have a mental break from everything can relieve stress and tension built up.

Set aside time for yourself to relax, do a hobby, meditate or even read a book. Having a positive mindset will help increase your confidence, work ethic and other important abilities on and off the court.

Remove Distractions

For some students, studying at home can be difficult to focus because of the distractions around them such as cell phones, electronic devices or even a noisy environment. Remove distractions while studying by using headphones to tune out distracting noises, turning off phone alerts or even by working in a different space, where electronic devices such as tv’s and video games are not easily accessible. Learn to have self-discipline and say no to things you believe will distract you from focusing.

Use Travel Time to Study

Use the time when commuting to school or practices to study, catch up on readings or review notes. Stay ahead of school task instead of having to catch up, by using travel time to do something productive.

Sleep and Diet

As a student athlete your sleep and diet are important factors that affect your performance on the court and in the classroom. For some students balancing basketball and school is like a full-time job, staying up until 1am and getting up for early morning classes can have its negative effects on your performance on and off the court. Lack of sleep can lead to a decrease in your energy, decision making, lack of awareness and much more. A healthy diet and sleep schedule can also lead to physical and mental improvements.

Set Goals

Whether it be to complete a book reading for school ahead of time or to increase your shooting percentage, setting goals will help keep you determined and on your game. Setting short term daily goals can help you complete tasks and stay organized.

Goal setting is important to reach both long and short term aspirations. Surround yourself with like-minded people who are positive and who are also striving to achieve their goals.

Ask for Help

If your struggling to do something, ask your parents, teachers, coaches or even teammates for help and advice. They are there to support you if you ever feel overwhelmed. Communicate with your teachers and coaches, let them know your schedule and what's going on in your life.

Once again, by applying these tips to your daily routines, it will help and allow you to successfully balance school and basketball. As a sport that relies on your performance, it is important to have a positive and healthy balance of academics and athletics in order to maximize your potential.

Back to Index Read Next Article
10 Things to Teach your Child to Improve their Basketball Skills, Today!

March 13, 2019 | Coach Manny

10 Things to Teach your Child to Improve their Basketball Skills, Today!

Students in our academy (and parents) always ask me, "Coach, what can I do to improve my game (or my child's game)?" My first response is usually, have you been practicing the drills we did in practice/training on your own time? If the answer is 'no,' then I'll quickly recap some fundamental drills (targeting areas of weakness for the student asking), and try to teach them some ways they can practice on their own.

A good coach not only tells you what to do but also shows you how to do it, a great coach will show what to do and empower you to add progressions as you continue to improve.

If the answer is 'yes,' then I'll usually show some challenging progressions that the student can work towards, or direct them to useful resources.

Speaking of useful resources... I have added 10 crucial game-changing basketball tips in this blog post! You'll notice a lot of what you read is psychological - believe it or not, psychology of the game is just as, if not more important than your physical ability when it comes to basketball!(We'll discuss sport psychology in more detail in a future post.)In the meantime, here are your 10 tips courtesy of ZOR Basketball Academy. Make sure you read through all of them and subscribe to our mailing list to receive your own copy.

1.   Your Game-day Mantra Should Be, “SHOOT! DON’T THINK”

You should focus your shooting mechanics during practice NOT during games. During practice you should hone in on your form, and other shooting skills. Once you have honed in on these skills, your muscle memory slowly start to take over, and you will remove overthinking about shooting. Remember: Practice and perfect your form for shots during practice, not games.

2.   STOP BEING SHOOK!

Failure is not fatal! Do not be afraid of failing! Michael Jordan once said, “I've never been afraid to fail." Did you know professional basketball players miss more than half of the time? Do not be scared of missing your shots. The energy put into becoming scared, will cause you to tense up and that will affect your game performance.

3.   BE IN THE ZONE

Stay focused and stay determined!

Have you been in the zone before? When all of your shots were made with no effort and being on the court was just plain fun.

When you are in The Zone everything else doesn’t matter. So, make it a priority to be in the Zone when you are playing in games. Un-clutter your mind, and get into the mental space of optimal focus. Prioritize items on your to-do list before your game, so you don’t need to think of it during game time.

4.   YOU HAVE TO RELAX

Relax your mind so that your body is as relaxed as much as it can possibly be. Your shooting will be lethal when your mind is more relaxed.

Taking a moment to relax before a game really pays off.

5.   COLOURED BALLS WILL HELP TO CORRECT YOUR ROTATION

Using a coloured basketball during practice, will help improve the trajectory of your shot. The coloured ball will help you see the direction of the ball and way the ball rotates. Being able to see these will aid in correcting your shot pretty quickly.

6.   NEGATIVE THOUGHTS WILL OBSTRUCT SUCCESS

Negative thoughts will impact your game! You must actively work towards eliminating negative thoughts. Once you eliminate negative, you have the ability to drastically boost your shot percentage!

Here’s a trick to help eliminate those negative thoughts. Before game-time whisper to yourself, “I don’t care if I make any of my shots today!” Whisper it to yourself a couple times and psych yourself into believing your words. Repeat your words as you are going up for your shots.

This process helps you to clear your mind of bad thoughts and relax. This tip will help you from getting too down on yourself, and maintain your confidence no matter the game-time situation.

7.   Find Your Arc Optimization

Did you know a shot with a flat 45 degree shot has 5 times more of a chance of clearing the hoop than a flat 35 degree arc?! Making sure that the arc of your shot has perfect degree will decrease your margin of error!

8.   Youtube Game Footage

Viewing the game footage of your favourite ball players over and over will help you see the form of excellent shooters. You can pick up tips of how to improve your confidence and form.

The pros have already perfected their technique. Watching their form will give you ideas of technique to incorporate in your game.

9.   Shoot 50 Shots Before all Games

Take 50 easy shots before all of your practice and games. The repetitive motion of taking this amount of shots will help correct your shooting form, and increase confidence. You will become better and better at these shots with every session. This is a very effective drill that all of the pros do!

10.   DO THE WORK!

In order to become good at anything (especially basketball) you have to put THAT work in. The more hours you put into practice, the better your results. Becoming a better player does not happen instantly. You have to work hard every day, to get to achieve your level of skill and fitness. There is no secret to your overall basketball improvement. It is the outcome of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.

Done? Ok, good! Now start applying these tips in your daily routine and basketball training. Also, don't ask me to pick a favourite tip because, honestly, I can't! They are all VERY helpful tips!


Until next time,
#ZORFam

Back to Index Read Next Article
ZOR's All Star Event with CAMH Foundation

April 5, 2019 | Coach Manny

Hey ZOR Family, did you know that one in every five Canadians suffers from a mental health illness?

Mental health affects people of all ages, education, income levels, and cultures. t's about time that we start a conversation on this topic. Don't let someone you know or even yourself suffer in silence, reach out and access the help that you need!

Our organization's fundraising goal is $1000 - together we will break down stigma, fund innovative research, and provide access to new and promising treatments for people living with mental illness. #EndTheStigma

To thank the #ZORFam for their generous support, we will be bringing in 2 guest speakers courtesy of NBYMP Canada at our All Star event to educate our student-athletes about financial literacy and sport psychology. These are very useful seminars that will serve long-term benefits!

Donations will be collected on April 14th for the CAMH Foundation or you can contribute to the cause using this link: DONATE HERE

The losing Coach for each skills event will donate $10, and $30 for the All Star game. ZOR Basketball Academy will match the Coach's donations at the end of the All Star event.



Back to Index