COACH: PLAYERS GAIN INDEPENDENCE & CONFIDENCE

New technology can be an intimidating thing. The SOLIDshot system is no stranger to that.

This innovation in sports tech has prospective buyers—young athletes and their families, mainly—wondering what makes this next-level sleeve and phone app so superior. Why buy this fancy new sleeve when I can just send my child to basketball camp?-is a common question. At first glance, this new tech might seem like just a stunt.

But take it from Aaron Locks, founder and CEO of National Academy of Athletics and a veteran in the basketball camp realm—the SOLIDshot system is no joke.

“I’m not a gimmick guy,” Locks said matter-of-a-factly during a phone interview. “What this sleeve does is so unique.”

Locks, who played college basketball and now coaches, gives SOLIDshot his stamp of approval and views it as a tool that coaches should be using to expand shooting practice—not replace practicing with a coach. After having his own son use the sleeve and app, Locks told me that SOLIDshot gives players a sense of “independence” and that he believes it could have a lasting effect on basketball.

“Players are spending much more time in the weight room instead of perfecting their shot,” he said. “If it is used right, because of how the NBA is changing… I believe that players that have access to the sleeve will become more comfortable with missing shots.”

Let’s go back to that last part for a minute: Missing shots? Why would a player want to miss shots? The point of sending our kids to basketball camp is to help players improve their shot, not make them feel better about missing them, right?

Locks explained that shooting is about proper technique, not whether or not the ball goes into the basket. “Offense is one of the toughest things to teach,” he said. “Perfect practice makes perfect.” Basically, instead of encouraging poor shooting form because it might make the ball go into the basket, the sleeve reinforces proper technique on the road to perfecting a player’s free throws. The more that proper fundamentals are reinforced, the better a player’s offense will become.

This is where SOLIDshot comes in—teaching the right technique, then allowing the players to build off of that with improved shooting. (Much like we saw in the study with the University of Maryland men’s basketball team.)

The smart sleeve is also bringing practice to a whole new level by putting young players in control of the way they practice. It allows players to continue perfecting their shot on their own time, long after they have left camp or after-school practice.

“The thing we forget is that 78-percent of what kids hear is correction,” Locks pointed out. “They’re constantly being told what to do.” SOLIDshot changes that, he continued, by giving players “independence” and making them “feel more empowered.”   

Locks likened this to having his son, Mason, practice with the SOLIDshot sleeve. Not only was the sleeve easy to set up, but it also gave Mason the freedom to practice on his own. “I’ve been coaching my son since he was in the second grade,” Locks reflected, “and this changed the dynamic of me coaching him, since it gave him so much independence.”

Plus—his offense began to improve. “He has this confidence,” Locks exclaimed. “He has this ‘swagger’ from his offense coming around.”

So, SOLIDshot has the backing of this esteemed member of the basketball community. Would he recommend the product to others?

Locks said he thinks the smart sleeve could be an especially useful tool for players at the high school level. “I would definitely recommend it,” he said.