Zor Sports Blog

The Zor Spors Blog features sport-specific articles to fuel athletic improvement and keep you up to date with current ZOR events.

When: January 13 at 12 PM EST

James is a best selling author, motivational speaker, and leadership trainer.

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8 Ways to be More Involved as Parent When Training at Home
Dec 23, 2020 | Darren Rachel

Here are 8 tips for parents to help their child improve their game at home...

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Core Strengthening Exercises for Basketball Players
Dec 9, 2020 | Zor Sports

As a basketball player, core strength is an important part of your athletic development...

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Mindset is Forever
Dec 3, 2020 | Zor Sports

All of us are different when it comes to what pushes us and ignites our internal fire to take action...

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10 Common Mistakes Players Make When Training
Nov 16, 2020 | Zor Sports

You should always train with a purpose and avoid these mistakes because they can often limit your potential.

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10 Basketball Tryout Tips to Help you Stand Out
Oct 26, 2020 | Zor Sports

First impressions are important and can be the difference between making the team and being cut. Here are 10 tips that will help...

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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...

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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...

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

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

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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...

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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)...

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Blog Articles




Discussion with James Elliot and Coach Manny. James is a best selling author, motivational speaker, and leadership trainer.


A discussion on how to overcome performance anxiety. From the world's top athletes to your everyday school teacher, performance anxiety is something that many of us deal with prior to engaging in tasks that require a high level of focus and attention. Listen in and gain some valuable tips to allow yourself or your child to get ahead of performance anxiety and start completing demanding tasks with a clear focus.


January 13 at 12 PM EST


Being able to maintain a clear mind and focus when performing will allow you to produce better results and build more confidence in yourself!

8 Ways to be More Involved as Parent When Training at Home

Written by Darren Rachel (Fall 2020 ZOR Sports Management Co-op Student)
Dec 23, 2020

8 Ways to be More Involved as Parent When Training at Home

Most parents want to be involved in their child’s success when it comes to sports. Parents are often great at encouraging and supporting their child, but many wonder how they can be more involved in their child’s development. If you're a parent that has played sports or even the same sport that your child is currently playing, then you’ve probably already started to help them out with the experience you have. Although, over time sports like the game of basketball has evolved, athletes today are bigger, stronger and faster than ever at an earlier age. Here are 8 tips for parents to help their child improve their game at home;

1) Training Equipment

A great way to get kids engaged at home is to provide them with training equipment that will help them improve and work on their game. Any training tool such as a basketball, hoop, ball rack or cones are considered training equipment. Incorporate different equipment in the workouts such as a tennis ball for unorthodox or other specific types of drills. Try to keep home workouts interesting so that your child does not lose focus and get bored.

2) Learn the Game Yourself

As a parent, learning and understanding the game of basketball will allow you to help your child improve, this especially applies to the younger players. Gaining an understanding of how the game of basketball is played will also help you as a parent identify what they are doing well and what they need to improve on. Learning the basics of basketball will put parents in better position to help their child with practice and skill development.

3) Challenges

A great way to keep your child engaged at home is to incorporate challenges and goals in their basketball workouts. Competitive drills and competitions will keep players involved and focused. Good competition can be promoted by having siblings and family members participate in contests and challenges. Make sure to implement measurable goals, in order to track your child's progress and growth.

4) Be Present

We’ve talked a lot about keeping the players engaged, but as parents being present and engaged too is just as important. Being present and showing your dedication to help them improve shows that you really care to see them succeed. Make sure to keep track of their progress, observe and join in on the fun when necessary. Be sure to also keep an open mind and ear to your child’s ideas and opinions, as they might know things that you may not.

5) Scheduling

A great way to build discipline and responsibility in your child is to have scheduled practice times for their home training. This will build a routine for your child and practice times that you are involved in can take places you’re available. Another option can be for you to dedicate a time for your child and a teammate to have a virtual workout together. Kids may also be more encouraged to practice when their friends or teammates are also working out.

6) Limit Distractions

When training at home it can be very easy for kids to get distracted and lazy. During scheduled practice times, try to keep distractions such as phones away until the workout is done. During training, try to only use technology such as phones for music, virtual workouts or anything else that is relevant to practice.

7) Be Positive

Sometimes parents may push their kids too hard and at times can be over critical, even though they may have the best intentions for their child. This can often push kids away from the sport, which is why positive reinforcement is also important. Constantly remind your kids that they can do better and can improve over time with hard work.

8) Prioritize Fun

At the end of the day, its very important to make sure that your child is having fun playing the sport. Kids who feel they are being forced or pushed to do something are often to not want to participate anymore. Change the type and tempo of the workout once in a while, play a game such as horse, 21 or knockout. Once in a while you can also include rewards or incentives during fun workouts.

The love for the game of basketball is developed when kids love what they are doing. During training, try to be involved by participating, listening and being positive. Parents, remember to keep encouraging and supporting your child to do their best.

Core Strengthening Exercises for Basketball Players

Written by Darren Rachel (Fall 2020 ZOR Sports Management Co-op Student)
Dec 9, 2020

Core Strengthening Exercises for Basketball Players

As a basketball player, core strength is an important part of your athletic development. Strengthening your core muscles will allow you to jump higher, run faster, be stronger, increase shooting range, agility and control of your body. Training your core can also reduce or prevent injuries, and since the core is responsible for stabilizing your body, training It will also improve your balance. Your core muscles are located in your abs, chest, hips and lower back. Here are 4 core exercise's you can do, that don’t require much space;


The plank is a core strength exercise that involves maintaining a position similar to a pushup for a determined time. Planking targets, the abdominal and back core muscles as well as your shoulders. To perform a plank,

1 - Place your elbows and forearm on the ground directly underneath your shoulders.
2 - Place your toes against the ground to hold your body up.
3 - Make sure that your back is flat, and your head and neck are aligned.
4 - Hold this position for a certain amount of time and gradually increase that time as you improve. We recommend aiming to do 3 sets of 60 seconds. You can gain core strength and stability from this core strengthening method.


Sit-ups are an exercise similar to crunches but are performed using a fuller range of motion and target more muscles groups. Sit-ups target multiple core muscles groups, such as your hip flexors, lower back, obliques and abdominal muscles (abs). To perform a sit up,

1 - Lie down on your back, bend your legs and place your feet on the ground.
2 - Cross your hands on your shoulders or place them behind your ears.
3 - Curl your upper body up towards your knees, then slowly lower yourself down back into the starting position. You should aim to perform 25-50 sit-ups a day, gradually increase the rate at your own pace of development.


Another great core strengthening exercise to do are squats, in addition to the lower body, squatting also targets your core muscles such as abdominal, hip and lower back muscles. The squat exercise will help develop and strengthen your base, which is a key for basketball players because it allows them to jump higher and run faster. To perform a squat,

1 - Begin with your feet shoulder width apart facing forward.
2 - Lower your hips as you bend your knees and ankles into a sitting position.
3 - Keep your heels and toes on the ground, your chest up and shoulders back.
4 - Make sure that your back is straight and aim to have your knees bent to a 90 degree angle.
5 - Use your knees to come back up into a standing position, then repeat the previous steps. Aim to do 3 sets of 10-15 squats, gradually increase the number of repetitions as you improve.


In addition to strengthening core muscles like abs and chest, push ups will also help increase the strength of your upper body. Push ups help improve things such as the strength in your fingers, arms, shooting range and your overall strength to hold your ground against opponents. Just like the other exercises we mentioned, there are different variations of push ups out there. To perform a push up,

1 - Get on the floor on all fours and place your arms slightly wider than your shoulder width on the ground.
2 - Extend your legs back so that your toes are touching the floor and your back is flat.
3 - Straighten your arms and back, then lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor.
4 - Briefly pause and hold in that lower position for 3-5 seconds, then repeat the process. Set your own goal for the amount of pushups you should do, progressively increase the total number. Aim to make 15 push ups to start if you are a beginner, make sure to maintain proper form as that is the most important part of the exercise.

Mindset is Forever

Written by Coach Manny
Dec 3, 2020

Motivation can be Fleeting, Mindset is Forever

As we continue to quarantine and isolate, you may notice cycles of motivation. Days when you are feeling highly motivated and other days when the motivation is lacking.

Don’t be discouraged if these cycles of motivation are something that you experience. All of us are different when it comes to what pushes us and ignites our internal fire to take action.

One way to consistently maintain higher levels of motivation is to develop a strong mindset from a young age. There are many ways to do this and you can even seek out professional services. Daily meditation, practicing gratitude, accomplishing small goals in your journey towards bigger goals, and sticking to a routine are some things you can do to lay the foundation for a stronger mindset.⁣

Here are some excellent resources/Instagram pages to follow to help you with mindset development:



Both Naomi and Robert have hosted workshops for our students in the past with great results.

Take advantage of this time off from your pre-covid lifestyle and invest in your own personal mindset development.


10 Common Mistakes Players Make When Training

Written by Darren Rachel (Fall 2020 ZOR Sports Management Co-op Student)
Nov 16, 2020

10 Common Mistakes Players Make When Training

Basketball training is one of the best ways for players to improve their basketball skills and become a better player. We’ve all heard the sayings “Work hard” and “Push yourself” when training, and although these are useful words to live by, there are many mistakes players make when training to improve their game. You should always train with a purpose and avoid these mistakes because they can often limit your potential.

1) Not Having a Goal

Always have a goal when you are training or going to practice. Set measurable goals for yourself, whether it's putting up 200 shots or doing 20 minutes of meaningful ball handling. Having something to aim for will keep you motivated and focused.

2) Having No Plan

Similar to having a goal, always have a plan when you're training and going into the gym. Know specifically what you're going to work on that day. Learn your strengths and weaknesses, build your workouts around them and always train with a purpose behind everything you do.

3) Not Training at Game Speed

Train and practice like you're in a real game, at game like speeds and conditions. When you practice at half speed, you are not allowing yourself to learn how to make in game like shots and plays. Practicing at full speed will make games easier because you will be familiar with the pace and intensity of the game.

4) Not Taking Warmup Shots

Don’t just step on to the court and immediately start shooting long range 3’s. Even the best players start from under the basket and work their way out back to the 3-point line. This will also allow you to get your form right and your shot warmed up from every distance.

5) Not Being Consistent

Having 1-2 workouts a week is great, but in order to see serious improvement in your game, you have to develop consistency, by doing something that will make you a better athlete every day. Make an effort to train and be better than you were yesterday.

6) Not Tracking Your Progress

How will you know if you're improving if you don’t track your progress? Write down and set your goals, then push yourself to reach them. Tracking your progress will allow you to see your growth and it can be motivating to look back at and see how much you’ve improved.

7) Practicing Things You'll Never Do in Games

This mistake varies from player to player, you will likely see better results when you focus on improving your strengths, rather than your weaknesses.

Not to say that you should avoid working on your weaknesses, but if you are for example a point guard who takes 85% of his shots from outside the paint, your time and effort would be best spent working on your jump shot rather than posting up the big man in practice.

8) Not Training Through Fatigue

Training when you are tired is one of the best ways to mimic game like situations. This is what often separates the players who are good from the players who are great. Everyone can shoot when they are not tired, but players who build that mental and physical toughness by practicing when they are fatigued, are the ones coaches can rely on in crucial game moments.

9) Not Being Coachable

Never think that you already know everything, listen to what your coaches have to say because they most likely have been in your shoes before. Being coachable can help you improve your game because your coaches can give you tips they learned from their experiences, in order to help you succeed.

10) Being Afraid to Make Mistakes

If you are not making mistakes during practice or when your training, it most likely means that you are not pushing yourself completely. Mistakes are good to make because we can learn from them and get better. Get out of your comfort zone and push yourself past your limits.

Most of the time players do not realize that they are doing something wrong. Remember to always train and practice with a purpose. Learn from these common mistakes listed and you are sure to see an improvement in your development.

10 Basketball Tryout Tips to Help you Stand Out

Oct 26, 2020 | Darren Rachel (Fall 2020 ZOR Sports Management Co-op Student)

10 Basketball Tryout Tips to Help you Stand Out

Basketball tryouts can be stressful and intimidating to some players. To others it’s an exciting time to showcase the skills they developed over the summer. First impressions are important and can be the difference between making the team and being cut. Here are 10 tips that will help you stand out and separate yourself from the rest.

1) Arrive Early

Arriving early will create a great first impression and will show coaches that you are committed. Showing up early will also give you time before tryouts begin to put up some shots and get warmed up.

2) Respect

Respect is very important to everyone on and off the court. Introduce yourself to coaches when you arrive, shake their hands and let them know you're excited to be there. Not everyone at tryouts is at the same basketball skill level, be patient and understanding of players who may not be at the same level as you.

3) Come in Shape

Most coaches will have a lot of conditioning drills in their tryouts to see who is out of shape. One of the biggest first impressions you can make on a coach, is showing them what kind of shape you are in physically and mentally. Use the offseason to get into shape and improve your skills and conditioning.

4) Attitude, Effort, Energy

What players often don’t know is that coaches also value positive effort, attitude and energy. None of these attributes require basketball talent, yet every coach wants players with these characteristics on their team. Hard work is always the best way to impress a coach, diving for loose balls, winning every sprint and encouraging your teammates, are just a few ways to show your work ethic and that you deserve to be on the team.

5) Be the Loudest Communicator

Basketball is a sport that requires a lot of communication and understanding in order for a team to be successful. Communication is especially important on defense, use your voice to call out screens or switches and to encourage other players when they make a good play.

6) Be a Good Listener

Pay attention with both your eyes and ears when a coach is talking, so that they can see your engaged in the situation. Coaches will often repeat things that are important to them, follow instructions and listen to feedback. Being a good listener will also show that you are a coachable player.

7) Be a Leader

Show that you were listening to instructions by stepping up and being the first in line for the next drill. Show coaches that you understand what's going on and that your able to help lead your teammates.

8) Preparation

Coming prepared physically and mentally can help your performance at a basketball tryout. Stop overthinking about all the things you want to show coaches and instead focus on each aspect of the tryout. Get enough sleep the day before, as well as hydrate and fuel your body with carb-full meals to help you bring energy to the tryouts.

9) Play to your strengths

Don’t worry about how many points you score or shots you make, show what you are good at and minimize showing your weaknesses. Coaches often don’t like when players are doing too much, if you’re a good shooter then shoot and if you’re a good rebounder then rebound. This does not mean that you should be scared to take shots or dribble, but showcasing the skills your good at will help make coaches notice your strengths.

10) Play with Confidence

Lastly and most importantly, trust and believe in yourself, block out all negative thoughts and focus on showcasing your strengths. Preparation will help you build your confidence, practice at game like speeds and implement pressure or consequences in your workouts.

Be positive on and off the court because you never know who's watching. Confidence mainly comes from your mentality, if you make a mistake, move on and focus on the next play.

Now go out there, work hard, have fun and showcase your skills. Also, come prepared, be positive and bring energy to the tryouts. Apply these tips to your game and you are sure to stand out from the rest.

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.

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.
















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. 

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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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,

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.