The Playmaker Project

Do Athlete Training and Develop Shocking Athleticism like James Harden and Luca Doncic

Do Athlete Training and Develop Shocking Athleticism like James Harden and Luca Doncic

GOAL: The goal of this article is to teach athletes and coaches how important tempo, and deceleration are when it comes to athlete training and sports training. Training to perform Faster during competition requires athletes to do more than linear speed work.

The NBA is filled with many of the greatest athletes in the World yet the greatness of their athletic ability is not in the usual traits that have Charles and Kenny going wild on TNT.

Athletic ability in most sports including basketball is about way more than linear speed and vertical jump.

A couple of great examples of this are Rockets guard James Harden and Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic.

While neither of these 2 players are explosive in a jaw-dropping way their athleticism plays a major role in their ability to completely dominate a game at the highest level.

What do Harden and Doncic do better than anyone else?

Their braking system. How well they can stop.

Do you want to Activate your Fast Twitch Muscles, Develop Explosive Power, and learn how to Prepare like a Champion?

You definitely want to join the Athlete Training Movement Series.

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Tempo in team-sports like basketball is the ability for you as a player to change pace and alter the speed of your movements to help you get where you want to go.  Tempo is the gearing that enables a player to choose and move between different speeds.

In sports, like basketball, it’s not speed that kills but change of speed.

You only need to watch about 2 minutes of a Houston Rockets Game to clearly see that James Harden is controlling the Tempo.


One of the reasons Doncic has lit up the League has been his ability to nail the step-back 3.

Step-back 3s in the NBA are literally five times more popular right now than they were in 2013-14.

(This season, NBA shooters are taking over 3.0 step-back 3s per 100 possessions — in 2013-14, that number was 0.60.)

And that trend shows no signs of slowing, as the league’s best offenses are the ones pressing the accelerator.

The Rockets shoot those three times more often than the league average; the Mavericks shoot them more than twice as much.

Oh, and don’t forget about Steph Curry, another guy with crazy under the radar athleticism. Curry started step-back mania during his back-to-back MVP campaigns.

Harden’s Rockets have been a top-three NBA offense in each of the past three seasons as he has leveraged a cartoonish volume of step-backs en route to three straight scoring titles.

Meanwhile, Doncic plays a similar game and led the Mavs to the NBA’s most efficient offensive rating in history this season.

Dallas broke the record by pouring in 115.9 points per 100 possessions in 2019-20.

So the most efficient offenses in NBA history (led by Harden and Doncic) are using the step-back a ton.

When doing athlete training and sports training it is important that you pay attention to trends.

How do you do a step-back from a biomechanics perspective?
You propel yourself forward, stop, and then propel yourself back.

The braking system and Tempo at work.

Harden and Doncic are showing the world that athletes who can drive, finish, pass, and hit step-backs are now this league’s most dominant offensive weapons.

Driving, finishing, and passing aren’t new — but step-back 3s are, and they’re quickly becoming a new fundamental for every perimeter superstar in the NBA.

Still, only Harden and Doncic made more than 100 step-backs this season. Their ability to start and stop is World-Class.

Do you want to join an athlete training program where you train your braking system?

You definitely want to join the Athlete Training Movement Series.


The defending champion Toronto Raptors are another example of a team that utilizes tempo and individual player braking systems to dominate. One of the biggest reasons the Raptors are so successful is their ability to trap.

At its most basic level, how does an effective trapping defense work? An effective trapping defense works by having players who can sprint to the ball quickly, and then use their athleticism and braking system to stop as close as they can to the ball handler without fouling.

The Raptors defense this year is statistically even better than it was last year despite losing Kawhi Leonard.

The Raptors and their ability to start and stop effectively puts their opponents in hypoxia. They’ll full-court press, switch all screens, trap or drop or hedge against pick-and-rolls, or throw any different kind of zone at you.

Their toolbox is filled with different options for disrupting the opposing offense and forcing it to react to the Raptors’ pressure. The Raptors thrive on disrupting their opponents’ tempo and the reason they thrive is because of their ability to start and stop quickly.

They attack and when the ball moves, they move. When the ball stops, they put on the brakes quickly and then disrupt.


If you study the GPS data of the players in the NBA and NFL you would notice that the best and fastest players usually never come close to hitting their top speed during the game. While players rarely reach their top speed, they consistently reach speeds much faster than their opponents, and they decelerate much faster as well.


1) Improving your braking system, your ability to start and stop can be trained just like any other component in athleticism.

2) Stability: Your ability to keep control of your body and in many cases the ball as you are forced into unique positions by your opponent.

3) Balance: Your ability to maneuver your body through obstacles.

4) Reactive Agility: Your ability to rapidly respond to what is going on around you.

5) Eccentric & Isometric lower body exercises: To stop quickly and change direction rapidly, athletes need the necessary strength to absorb (and accumulate) force, as well as overcome inertia.

Enhancing eccentric strength improves an athlete’s ability to absorb force (while decelerating), whereas isometrics will improve an athlete’s ability to overcome inertia.


An NBA player’s flexibility is reduced 25 percent after they have played a game, and the muscle tightening can increase another 12 percent if the player then has to get on a plane. You may not be an NBA player but your body is going to be tight and have friction points if you do not prioritize recovery and muscle imbalance removal.

By the way, if you are an athlete/coach who wants to improve his/her braking system then I highly recommend you check out our Athlete Training Movement Series.

In this 21-day online training program, you will train your ability to dictate tempo, decelerate, remove muscle imbalances, and much much more!

As a special bonus, you will receive our Elite Playmaker Performance Injury Minimization System.

If you are an athlete who wants to improve his/her quickness, agility, balance, and deceleration skills then you want to join this unique, one of a kind athlete training program.

Let’s get better today,

The Playmaker Project is an Athlete Training company.  Activate your Fast Twitch, Develop Explosive Power, Dominate your Environment.

Coach Jackson
Coach Jackson
Master’s Degrees in Education (Specializing in the Work of Abraham Maslow and Human Potential) and an MBA in International Leadership and Coaching. He is a N.A.S.E certified Speed and Explosion Specialist and Optimize Coach.
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