WHAT A SHOT: This high school student and member of Inner Drive Hoops basketball center is practicing shooting at the special training facility. “He is using one of our technology-enhanced shooting stations to practice, where he took 350 shots during the workout,” explains CEO Rob Kron, one of the founders and owners of the center. “Our approach to skills training is process-based workouts that produce optimum results. We want players to focus on the present in order to get everything they can out of each session. Our cutting-edge technology gives players the ability to see improvement in real time.”
By Jean Stratton
Basketball has always been my favorite sport. At Inner Drive Hoops, my colleagues and I love the game because it is a perfect harmony of individual skill and team play, quickness and patience, power and finesse. The best teams are those where each player has developed his or her individual skills and personality to a level that their passion and play elevate those around them. When five players find that sense of togetherness, basketball is the most beautiful thing in the world!
“This is what we want to impart to our members of all ages, who come to train at our center.”
Rob Kron, CEO, owner, and founder of Inner Drive Hoops, is enthusiastic about the basketball training center and its unique, sophisticated technology-enhanced program.
Opened in July 2020 at 113 North Gold Drive in Robbinsville, the center was launched by Kron and co-founders and owners Ben Stirt and Sally George.
Technology and Trainers
“A few years ago, we talked about setting up a basketball program, incorporating technology with trainers,” explains Kron. “Something like batting cages for basketball, with expanded space for clients to train.
“I had played as a boy, and always loved it. Ben had been a coach and trainer, and is now director of training and basketball performance, and he has programed the computer operation to create all the drills for the training. Sally is our director of marketing.”
“Inner Drive Hoops transforms skills training by integrating today’s top technology and analytics with proven coaching methods. Players, from beginners all the way to the pros, can maximize their performance with ID Hoops’ innovative training circuit,” points out Ben Stirt. “The greatest improvement is seen when passion, hard work, fun, and understanding all mesh together on the court.”
“To master any skill, a player must be committed to repetition, using proper technique,” adds Rob Kron. “ID Hoops gives you an efficient and fun way to practice consistent, repeatable workouts, customized to your ability. With ID Hoops, you ‘Get Better, Faster!’”
The ID Hoops center offers membership opportunities for ages 7 to college age students and to older people (often ages 40 to 50) looking for a place to enjoy practicing, exercising, and improving their skills. One-on-one private sessions, small groups of three to five, and clinics with up to 10 players are available.
There are several different stations for a variety of skills training. Shooting, dribbling, and agility/jumping stations are situated throughout the spacious area. Computerized programs are set up for each student, and when they come to practice, they enter the specific skills they want to work on.
Five fully-automated stations equipped with arena-quality baskets and state-of-the-art shooting technology (ball return and analytics) are on site. Each shooting workout consists of drills based on the player’s skill level and specific needs. Shot-tracking technology displays instant feedback to allow a player to make proper adjustments immediately.
Players can shoot upward of 400 shots in just 30 minutes, an extremely efficient way to get the repetitions needed for maximum game performance. Two free throw stations where players can work on specific warm-up drills and free throws are also available.
Individual shooting statistics can be reviewed through an app on the player’s phone. These statistics can also be analyzed by the coaching staff to detect trends and create individualized development plans. Statistics including vertical jump, release arc, speed, and release time are instantly available.
Three dribbling stations are offered with monitors displaying drills for each skill level. Players go through a 15-minute, high-intensity dribbling workout with the goal of working at game speed and acquiring feel and quickness. Augmented reality technology allows players to participate in individual and facility-wide challenges to track progress and create a fun, competitive environment.
The agility/jumping sports performance station provides players with a chance to increase their athleticism. They go through a basketball-specific, age- and ability-appropriate performance circuit, which efficiently trains the motor functions and muscles used most on the court. Basketball requires a unique blend of quickness, explosiveness, and endurance, and the ID Hoops system has been created to target each of those areas in the most efficient way.
The station offers a wide variety of agility equipment including resistance bands, a jump box, medicine balls, hurdles, and more. A player can complete a full-body workout in 10 to 15 minutes.
“There is no faster way to improve your game than private skills training,” points out Ben Stirt. “Each session lasts 45 minutes and is packed with specific drills to fit each athlete’s individual needs. After a skill evaluation, a personalized program will be created to improve weaknesses and build on strengths. Parents and athletes may also request to focus on certain skills, and the program will be tailored to your needs in each area.”
“Taking a similar approach to private skills training, small group training places three to five athletes of the same skill level together,” adds Kron. “Individual skills are still the main focus, but a small group allows for competitive drills and game situations. For example, the pick and roll, high-low situations, and many other game skills can be honed in this setting. Athletes can sign up as a group or be placed by our staff based on age and skill level.”
Clinics offer training in a larger group setting in which players are able to learn and test out new skills in a challenging, yet fun environment. Although clinics provide training in larger groups, individualized skill coaching is still the number one priority. This is an excellent way for beginners to become acclimated to the game or for advanced players to simulate challenging scenarios that they may face in games or practice. The clinics keep a low player to coach ratio to ensure that everyone receives proper feedback to maximize their learning experience.
“We have three trainers, two male and one female,” reports Kron, “Our training staff is so special. They understand that each individual has different ways of learning, and they are adept at teaching all levels of ability, from beginners to high school and college players.”
“Our trainers are fostering the players’ passion for the game,” points out Stirt. “We help them find a level of challenge where they feel they are accomplishing something, and that builds confidence. Then, they are encouraged to come and practice on their own what they have learned with the trainers.”
“Typically, players come once a week or every other week for sessions with a trainer, and then come in to practice in between. Some come every day, others a few times a week.”
Dream Come True
He adds that during COVID, every sanitary precaution is in place. “We are very careful about this; masks are required, temperatures are taken, and everyone washes their hands when they come in. Everything is sanitized. We really have our facility as safe as it can possibly be. We even wash the balls!”
“This is so important,” he emphasizes. “Part of what is so necessary for our players is consistency. And we strive to have a place for them to come regularly and know it is safe. Our main goal is for anyone who is interested in basketball to be able to get into it at any level and be able to reach their potential. I have worked so hard to teach kids, and now having a place for them to come and practice whenever they want to has been a dream come true.”
“We have been very encouraged,” he continues. “Even during COVID, we have been very successful. We have had many people sign up, renew, and continue to come. We have clients from Princeton and the area — it’s an easy drive from Princeton — and they are very enthusiastic. We hear from the players and parents who tell us how happy they are to be able to come here. Parents are proud when their son or daughter makes the team, and they begin to see improvement in their kids’ skills, and just how much they enjoy our program.”
And Kron expresses pride in their players achievements as many have recently been recognized for accomplishments this past season. “The coaches in the Colonial Valley Conference (CVC) voted following the high school season, and multiple ID Hoops members were selected to both the boys and girls All-Conference teams, including the Girls CVC Player of the Year. Also, one of Coach Ben’s training clients was the leading scorer in the entire state of New Jersey this year, averaging over 29 points per game, including 43 points on his senior night.”
Such recognition is important, of course, but the focus at ID Hoops is helping players to reach their own potential and to be the best they can be personally.
“We want to watch players grow in skills and confidence, and take what they learn at the facility and apply it to their school and throughout their lives,” explains Stirt. ”The skills they learn here — discipline, dedication, motivation, and character development — go beyond the court. Sports build character.”
And it can begin at the earliest ages, notes Kron. “The development we see can be at any age. For example, someone 8 years old can be at a high skill level, and a 14-year-old may be just be starting out. The program is directed specifically for each individual and his or her ability and progress. It’s the passion, the love of the game, and what it can lead to.
“The combination of being able to be the best they can be, while fostering a love for the game, and offering a safe, technology-enhanced practice environment is what differentiates us from anything else in the area. We do believe we are the only place in the tri-state area with our model.
“We are also offering a summer camp program from June 28 through August 13. Sessions will include instruction on shooting, ball-handling, attacking the hoop, getting open, passing, defensive positioning, basketball IQ, and agility/jumping.
“It is available for those 7 years old through 14. Players will be organized into groups based on age and ability. Both full day and half day sessions for weekly programs are available. Registration is via our website at idhoops.com/camp.”
The year-round program offers membership discounts on private training packages for five sessions and 10 sessions, or separate payments for one session.
A 45-minute introductory training/evaluation session is also offered for $40.
Kron and Stirt look forward to introducing more people of all ages to their unique training program and state-of-the-art facility. Their own love of the game is contagious, and they emphasize the focus on each individual’s stage of ability and wish to succeed.
“Whatever works for your needs and what you want to accomplish, we have a solution for you!”
Inner Drive Hoops is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday 3 to 8 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
For further information, call (609) 223-0583 or visit the website at idhoops.com.