Jared Berggren turns Skills Trainer

Jared Berggren turns Skills Trainer

It was the summer of 2018. Jared Berggren was suffering a frustrating session overseas. Now that he has become a father he felt that there was more to life than just playing the game of basketball. 

Berggren was the formidable center of Wisconsin Badgers. He had a huge career ahead having made a record of 144 blocked shots at University of Wisconsin and was ranked third behind Ethan Hopp (154) and Frank Kaminsky (153). It was quite natural that he envisaged a career that would last well into his 30’s. 

At the age of 28 this change of mind came as a surprise to many of his friends and co-players. Berggren had been playing for overseas clubs in Belgium and Italy since 2014. The 2017-18 seasons saw him with Shinshu Brave Warriors, Japan. Frequent travels overseas with wife and baby daughter was not what he bargained for.  He yearned to settle down somewhere close to his hometown of Princeton. 

Though many casinos came up encouraging sports betting, he never participated in any of them. Some of them offered casino bonus to draw more investment and players, and betting in the game of basketball has become very popular.

Once, during a usual training session, Berggren confided to his long time friend and skills trainer, Reid Ouse, that he was not very sure how long he would continue to play for overseas clubs.  Instantly the question that leaped up in Ouse’s mind was whether Berggren was thinking of something different – a Plan B.  Berggren openly told his skills trainer that he wanted to do what Ouse did. He went on to elaborate that he would like to train up young enthusiasts so that they can improve and keep playing in a sustainable manner. 

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However, after completing the last three months of his contract with the Japanese club, Berggren returned home and helped Reid Ouse in the group workout sessions. It was an unofficial move but with a planned intent. 

It was not long before the final move was made. The demand for skills training was on the rise and Ouse’s business, Catalyst Training was growing and needed additional help. By the winter of 2018 he formally retired from playing basketball as a professional and joined Catalyst Training. For Berggren it was fulfilment of his life’s desire to enjoy life with his family as well as be surrounded with the excitement of basketball and do his part in bringing up new players. 

Catalyst Training emphasized the need for training as a player grows up. Many players think that playing is equivalent to training. A young player is more agile and has natural skills. In reality unless a player continuously undertakes training workouts they tend to lose their ability. 

Berggren lives in Albertville, which is northwest of Minneapolis and about 30 miles away from Princeton. He operates out of a facility at Adrenaline Sports Centre in Ramsey, another northern suburb.  

He provides training to a wide range of athletes – from 4th graders to high school team players in Minneapolis. His clientele also includes some professionals still playing overseas. 

The business of Skills Training is based on word of mouth. If someone interacts with you, he spreads the news to his friends, coaches and co-players. Again, from there it spreads further and reaches out to a larger community. So, for the first year Berggren concentrated on connecting with the basketball community to get his name back in the circuit. Soon, this paid off and Berggren had a sizable loyal clientele. 

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However, the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March 2020 and changed the entire scenario. So, the physical gym is not functioning now. To continue to provide service to the players, Berggren has embarked on online training programs from his garage. He gives 30 minutes training sessions through Zoom meetings. He provides one-to-one and group workout sessions. 

Berggren focuses on the fundamentals of Skill developments. His methods are not only targeted at improving the skill of holding, dribbling and shooting but also provides training on defensive sliding drills.

In order to make a mark in this game a continuous and sincere effort in skill development cannot be overstated because succeeding in basketball is not about the drill but the skill. For a beginner in this game, REPETITION is probably the best advice, as he does not possess a lot of skills. Naturally, then repetition of basic dribbling, shooting, passing drills will be helpful. 

But for a person who already has some experience and is good at shooting, dribbling, etc. and gearing up to take things to the next level, repetition alone will not be sufficient.  The training plan must include practicing real game-like situations because now is the need to make muscles toned up to perform adequately under the pressure of a real game.

It is a little difficult to answer the question of which skills are more important than the others. However, in general, the following three skills seemed to be an edge over the others.

  • Catch & Shoot – If you are working with a partner, he can pass the ball to you or otherwise the player can spin the ball to himself. Then catch and shoot quickly with the correct form, from different areas on the floor
  • Drive & Finish – Start in a triple-threat position or with the dribble, make a move, explode out of your move and drive, and then finish at the basket. The finishing can be done in your own way with your favorite moves.
  • One-Dribble Pull-up Jumpers – Start in triple-threat or with the dribble, make a move, take one rhythm dribble, and quickly pull-up for the jump shot on balance.
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There are several stages of progress and one must take one step at a time. The goals can be set starting from starter and moving on to all-area, all-state, D-1 Scholarship etc. The NBA is the final goal, but it should be understood that it is really tough to get there.

Seventy years ago a trend was set at the 1948 Olympics to raise the sporting benchmark by combining skills, tactics, techniques which spread across borders and transformed the way basketball was played. Basketball Without Borders continues this trend with a number of clinics and competitions, which brings the young players together to learn how the game of basketball is played.  Jared Berggren is now a proud contributor to this effort. 

Ayhan Fletcher

"Subtly charming zombie nerd. Infuriatingly humble thinker. Twitter enthusiast. Hardcore web junkie."

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