Building Basketball Champions

Hoffman’s Hoops Academy helps athletes make it

For more than a decade Brian Hoffman has trained kids of all ages how to become better basketball players. Whether first grade youth league teams or former Creighton University star Doug McDermott, he has helped players develop every aspect of their game from footwork to free throws. And since the opening of his state-of-the art facility, Hoffman’s Hoops Academy in Gretna, he can now work with even more players on both an individual and team level.

Hoffman’s expertise comes from playing basketball at Wayne State University under current Creighton University basketball Coach Greg McDermott, as well as coaching at the middle and high school level, all while helping train kids and teams individually on the side. His business grew until he had more kids than he had available gym time at other facilities. “When I had my vision for this space, I wanted to teach with as much objective feedback as possible,” he said.

After converting a storage building into a gym with multiple ¾ size courts and ten hoops, he now has space for multiple groups of two to six players or an entire team. And the facility includes high-tech equipment that provides instant feedback. “The first thing I do is evaluate every player by recording them shooting,” Brian said. “Most kids are visual learners so it helps them see what they’re doing right and where they need to improve.”

During training, one of three Noah Basketball Systems will measure the arc and depth of a player’s shot, both via video and audio feedback.  The instant feedback allows immediate correction to the shot and builds muscle memory. Hoffman is also an official partner with 94Fifty Smart Sensor basketballs, which have 5,000 sensors that measure a player’s control, power, and speed when handling the ball. In addition, the facility has a Dr. Dish shooting machine that funnels the ball and passes it back to the player, allowing them to take more than 500 shots in an hour. “It’s a great tool for repetition and creating the habit that will help them become a consistent shooter, which is one of the most important skills in the game,” Hoffman said.

Michael Cale, whose son is a junior at Lincoln North Star High School, said he noticed a difference in his son’s shooting skills almost immediately after he started lessons with Hoffman. “Brian focused on my son’s technique and rhythm, which resulted in a much smoother and accurate shot,” he said. Tim Kudron, whose two sons ages 12 and 13 work with Hoffman, agreed with the improvement he’s seen. “Brian is a great teacher of fundamentals,” he said. “Both of my sons have seen great improvement in their dribbling and shooting skills.”

Hoffman said his goal is to develop a complete player and give kids the ability to self-coach. “When they’re practicing by themselves I want them to be able to know why they’re missing and making shots,” he said. “They also need to know footwork—what moves to do, how to do them, and when to do them.” A lot of that comes from watching film, which Hoffman incorporates as part of his training.

Other aspects of his academy include gym memberships at the gold, silver, and bronze level, which allow players to workout with Hoffman from one to three times a week. He also offers shooting and position camps, as well as summer programs. Mike Emory, a coach at Pierce High School in northeast Nebraska, has several players who have attended both the summer camps and small group workouts. “I’ve seen huge improvements with my players, especially in their footwork and ability to read defense,” he said. “Brian teaches with great attention to detail.”

Hoffman is excited so many youth want to play the sport and that there are more opportunities for more kids to play the game more often. “My goal within this facility is to work with as many youth league players as possible to help improve the basketball community within the whole state of Nebraska,” he said. “I can supplement training and help make better players so that schools and organizations’ programs can be that much stronger.”

Hoffmans’s Hoops Academy

205 West Hwy 370, Gretna

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