Drew Hanlen | Useful advice for players and coaches from an NBA Player Development Coach
Updated: Jun 20
Pictured: With Drew after a workout at his training facility. Ethan Happ (Euro League), Caldwell Pope (LA Lakers), Tyus Battle (Iowa Wolves), Semi Ojeleye (Boston Celtics), Kelly Oubre (Atlanta Hawks), Shaq Harrison (Chicago Bulls), RJ Barrett (New York Knicks), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers), Chima Moneke (Euro League), Darius Bazley (OKC Thunder), Rodney Prior (Salt Lake City Stars).
Preface by Janx.....
In 2012 Drew Hanlen was playing D1 College Hoops with Belmont University and became one of the top 3 point shooters in the NCAA. Soon after a top High School prospect, from Hanlen’s home city of St Louis, by the name of Bradley Beal (now with Washington Wizards in the NBA), signed up with Hanlen for workouts. Today Beal credits Hanlen for having added significant value to his shooting prowess. Soon after Beal had been working out with Hanlen it was David Lee working under his guidance, whilst he was in the NBA, as Hanlen’s first NBA client. Today Hanlen has emerged as one of the top skill development trainers to NBA players, working them out pre-draft camps and in the offseason too. Everyone from rookies to those deep in their career are amongst his clients; Joel Embiid, Zach LaVine, Kelly Oubre Jr, RJ Barrett, Jayson Tatum and many, many more.
PICTURED: Hanlen, whilst at Belmont University, was one of the leading 3 pt shooters in Division 1 NCAA.
Joey Wright, someone I’ve been fortunate to work closely with over the past few years, is also an awesome player development coach. Players coming into Adelaide consistently develop to be long term career players and the league has players all over with long term careers that have played under Joey at Adelaide, Brisbane or the Gold Coast. Joey’s attention to detail and bag of little tricks that can be applied to give the advantage in game situations is just amazing.
Video: Post Joey workout with Deshon Taylor, Bijan Johnson, Isaac White, Michael Harris, Harry Froling, Max Kerle with Darren Golley too.
Watching Hanlen’s videos is similar with the detail he goes into and I am sure I speak for everyone when I say how excited we are to learn from Drew in this article and also the sessions once in a few weeks.
It is going to be great to see Hanlen first hand when he arrives in Adelaide for sessions on December 2 – 5 where he will provide sessions to players of all ages, with coaches able to watch for an amazingly affordable fee, given Hanlen’s profile and success in working with the world’s best.
PICTURED: Hanlen's current European and Oceania tour dates.
Before we spoke to Hanlen we had some questions for Ben Selth. We wanted to learn more about Ben who runs a training business working with ballers in Adelaide called Hostile Barbell. Ben is the local support for Hanlen in organisng these clinics. Here is what Ben had to say:
What motivated you to bring Hanlen to Adelaide?
I wanted to bring Drew over because I had noticed a gap in the development of players once they hit their mid teens and older. Very few continue to do individual skills coaching once they hit U18s and rely on team training and their own workouts to improve. If we have the ability to bring guys like Drew across to offer both players and skills coaches the ability to put more tools in their bag then everyone benefits.
Who are these sessions for?
These clinics are aimed at all players and coaches wanting to improve their game. Having a coach that is constantly working with NBA players and coaches here in Adelaide to learn from is a big deal and you'll be guaranteed to have picked up a few things to help improve your game from these clinics, no matter what level you are currently at.
Who are some of your clients you work/ed with and what kind of services do you offer to your clients?
I have been in the fitness industry for more than 13 years and have directed my focus towards sports strength and performance for majority of that time. Although I work with athletes from all types of sports, basketball has been a sport that I felt needed a lot more attention in the S&C side as well as recovery and nutrition. I have had the privilege of working with top level athletes like Joe and Renae Ingles, Laura Hodges, Adam Gibson, Nathan Sobeys, Matt Hodgson. In 2015 I was the Strength and Performance coach for the 36ers and had the ability to implement a strength program that none of the players had experienced before. Through that season, the team had no soft tissue injuries and also continued to gain strength and maintain muscle mass for the entire season which allowed them to be at their best all season.
This style of training can be carried out by any athlete at any level. This gives me the ability to apply this to junior and amateur athletes across the board and have them perform at a high level year round.
Now here are the Q's and A's we had from Drew.....
How do you define player development? IE What is your role?
PLAYER DEVELOPMENT IS THE PROCESS WHERE PLAYERS IMPROVE THEIR GAME BY EXECUTING DETAILED WORKOUT PLANS DESIGNED TO ATTACK CERTAIN ASPECTS OF THEIR GAME WHERE THEY WANT TO GROW.
PICTURED: Drew working out Kevin Durant in the offseason. Player development is relevent to athletes at all levels these days.
What do you know about Australian basketball and athletes from Australia?
THE CULTURE OF AUSTRALIAN BASKETBALL HAS IMPROVED A TON OVER THE YEARS. FROM HAVING MORE NBA PLAYERS TO BEING A LEADER IN THE SPORTS SCIENCE FIELD, AUSTRALIA IS CONTRIBUTING TO THE GLOBAL GAME MORE THAN EVER BEFORE.
What are some of your current clients you are working with?
EMBIID, BEAL, TATUM, LaVINE, OUBRE JR, BARRETT.
PICTURED: Hanlen able to pull superstars into his workouts. Here Kobe joins in a workout with Jayson Tatum.
Tell us about your year as far as work-travel goes?
DURING THE YEAR I TRAVEL FROM CLIENT TO CLIENT HELPING THEM MAKE ADJUSTMENTS THROUGHOUT THE SEASON AND ALSO DO AN UNSEEN HOURS WORLD TOUR WHERE I RUN CLINICS AND SEMINARS FOR COACHES AND PLAYERS.
What would you say differentiate you, your skillset and value you provide that makes you one of the sought-after trainers in the world?
I CARE. I CARE ABOUT MY CLIENTS MORE AS PEOPLE THAN AS PLAYERS WHICH ALLOWS US TO CONNECT AND WORK WELL TOGETHER. I ALSO RELENTLESSLY STUDY THE GAME SO I CAN PROVIDE SOLUTIONS FOR EVERY PROBLEM MY CLIENT MAY HAVE.
PICTURED: Hanlen and Mo Bamba. Hanlen claims his relationship with his athletes is what sets him apart. His care for his athletes and that connection provides value to his work with them. At HPHN we could not agree more on the importance of this!!
How long does a typical session go for with your athletes, do you have an optimum length of time?
DEPENDS ON THE PLAYER BUT USUALLY 90mins
Describe your training facility in the US?
JUST A HOT GYM WITH NO SPECIAL EQUIPMENT. IT'S ALL ABOUT PUTTING IN REAL WORK.
VIDEO: Advert for Hanlen's academy showing him putting in that work out of his gym at Crystral Lakem just outside of Chicago.
What kind pre-screening do you to determine a client’s developmental needs?
WATCH FILM & TALK WITH THEIR COACHES TO ENSURE EVERYONE IS ON THE SAME PAGE
PICTURED: Hanlen and Jordan Clarkson reviewing game film to evaluate developmental needs.
Do you use any metrics either within your sessions or in their games to measure progress?
WE JUST LOOK AT RESULTS IN GAMES THROUGH FILM & MAKE ADJUSTMENTS ACCORDINGLY
What are the main things you emphasise in your shooting drills, in terms of technique?
BALANCE, GOOD HAND POSITIONING, HIGH FOLLOW THROUGH WITH STRAIGHT SNAP
You may be aware that the NBL has a program called Next Stars that players such as Didi Louzada, LaMello Ball and RJ Hampton choosing to play ball in Australia instead of College Hoops. Do you have any thoughts on the opportunity to play international pro ball out of High School for a year rather than college, for a one and done type athlete?
I THINK ITS A GREAT ALTERNATIVE TO COLLEGE BALL BECAUSE THEY GET TO PLAY AGAINST OLDER MORE EXPERIENCED COMPETITION.
Generally speaking what are the 3 most important a youth athlete should be working on to play at a higher level?
SHOOTING, FINISHING & DECISION MAKING
Beyond the amazing, rare opportunity to attend these clinics in Adelaide how else can athletes and coaches engage and get value from your knowledge and services?
I HAVE A PURE SWEAT APP THAT GIVES PLAYERS ACCESS TO ALL MY SKILLS AND WORKOUTS. FOR COACHES, I HAVE SEMINARS AND ONLINE CONTENT TO FURTHER THEIR EDUCATION
Pictured: How to register for the Hanlen clinics. Email to register: email@example.com