If you’ve been watching basketball regularly over the last month you’ve likely seen commercials promoting Stephen Curry’s new basketball training program through Masterclass. The commercial is very exciting and hypes the program as a way to improve your game by learning insights from one of the best players in the game.
There is no doubt that Stephen Curry is a phenomenal basketball player. Coming out of little known Davidson, there were questions about his athletic ability and if he’d be able to transition into the NBA game where physicality and size are crucial.
Since then, the two time NBA MVP has established himself as the best shooter in NBA history and one of the league’s most popular players.
When I heard about the Steph Curry Masterclass Basketball Training Program I was excited to learn more. I’ve always respected his ability to outthink defenders and use skill to beat athleticism. But I worried that the program would be short on fundamentals and instead be spending the majority of time teaching students how to do crazy one on one moves, which most players can’t execute well.
As you can see I was pretty curious about the program ever since it was released. I decided to buy it and go through each lesson to see if this basketball training program lived up to the hype. What follows is a summary of what’s included with the program, a summary of each lesson, and my thoughts on the program’s strengths and weaknesses.
There are several resources included in the Stephen Curry Masterclass:
Within the program there are 17 lessons taught by Stephen Curry. These lessons range in length from 5 to 20 minutes with an average length of about 15 minutes.
There are two primary formats for the lessons. The most common format features Curry in a gym showing you proper technique when it comes to dribbling, shooting, balance, and moving without the ball. He also will give you a couple drills to do in each lesson that help build proper form.
The second lesson format features Curry going over game film clips breaking down the play and giving insights on his decision making process. Most often these film clips help to reinforce principals taught in the first video format.
For example, Curry will teach you how to come off screens using a chair in the gym. Then after teaching you several ways to come off screens, he will go over a couple game film clips showing you these techniques in action.
Within the Stephen Curry Masterclass Program is The Hub. The Hub is simply a community forum where participants can communicate with one another and help each other achieve their goals.
From here you can upload videos showing your form and technique allowing other members to provide both positive and corrective feedback.
You can also ask questions about aspects of the program that may not have been clear.
A representative from Masterclass is available in The Hub which offers support if needed.
Included with your purchase of the Stephen Curry Masterclass is a PDF workbook that summarizes key components of each lesson.
This will also breakdown how to do each drill using images helping to reinforce the video lesson. There is certainly extra information in this workbook so make sure to utilize this resource.
Spreadsheet Shot Tracker
The Stephen Curry Masterclass includes a spreadsheet where you can document completing each drill and how you performed. Most often this includes documenting either how many shots you made out of the total attempted, and checking off that you completed this drill.
If you are truly committed to improving your basketball skills then completing the homework in the workbook and spreadsheet will take the vast majority of your time when it comes to this program.
The spreadsheet helps to organize the homework and drills you are to do so that you can easily document your progress through each lesson.
If you want to get better, you can’t just watch Stephen Curry be amazing, you gotta hit the gym!
Office hours allows you to submit questions and videos to Stephen Curry so that he can provide feedback and answers to your questions. As of today (January 8th, 2018) Stephen has not provided any feedback to date, but the program was only released recently. We will update when we get a better feel for how frequently Stephen checks in to answer participant questions.
Each lesson in the Stephen Curry Masterclass has a specific purpose and goal. Here is a summary of each lesson:
Lesson 1: Write Your Own Story
This introduction to the program gives us a glimpse at Stephen Curry’s backstory and some basic mental principals. He mentions that his relatively small stature gave him an underdog mentality that pushed him to achieve greatness.
No true instruction takes place, but it does set you up to begin working through the following lessons where there are specific drills and basketball topics.
Lesson 2: Shooting: Stance, Alignment, and Mechanics
Stephen breaks down the different components that make up a consistent shooter. This includes how to setup to the basket, proper posture, where to aim, and other related topics.
Within this lesson Stephen discusses having to change his own shooting technique while in high school and how this process took months. This should give you an idea on how long it will take to build good shooting habits.
While it is more fun to go out deep and shoot threes, practicing these mechanics close to the basket will help you develop good technique that will translate to the game.
Lesson 3: Form Shooting Practice
This lesson builds off of the principals taught in lesson 2. Stephen breaks down some drills to do to help build good shooting habits. He also gives insights on how to measure your progress as a shooter.
The main shooting drill for this lesson is certainly a fundamental basketball skill. Stephen Curry begins every workout doing this form shooting drill because even as the best shooter in the world, the fundamentals are incredibly important to stay sharp as a shooter.
Lastly, Stephen explains what different types of misses (long, short, left, right, etc.) mean as far as errors in shooting mechanics.
Lesson 4: Shooting off the Catch
Most sharp shooting specialists make the majority of their buckets off the catch. Think Kyle Korver. To be a great shooter being able to get a shot off quickly after receiving a pass is critical.
Stephen discusses several different components that make up the proper technique for receiving a pass to shoot. The main goal of this lesson is taking the shooting mechanics taught in lesson 2 and combining those with the proper techniques for receiving a pass.
At the end of the lesson Stephen breaks down game film showing these procedures in a games situation. This is the first instance in the class where Steph reviews game film.
This may be a lesson that is easily overlooked, but this information is very valuable. Don’t be lazy and make sure to practice these principals using the spreadsheet.
Lesson 5: Ball-Handling: Foundations
In this lesson, Stephen talks about proper posture for dribbling. This also includes the positioning of the basketball relative to the body while dribbling.
Balance is key to having success with dribbling, and Steph gives some insights on how to ensure that you have proper balance.
Stephen also talks about moving the ball around your body and not your body around the ball. Seeing this principal in action will help to clarify what this means.
Stephen says that 99% of the time he creates space from a defender off the dribble it is from using a combination of only three moves. You will learn what three moves he uses and how to do each correctly in this lesson.
Lesson 6: Shooting off the Dribble, Part 1
Steph Curry has achieved a level of excellence shooting off the dribble that has not been matched to date.
In lesson 6, Curry takes you through the basics of how to get a shot off from the dribbling position.
Later on in the lesson he shows you how to integrate the three moves from dribbling foundations into shooting off the dribble to make you a better and more dynamic basketball player.
Lesson 7: Ball-Handling: On the Move
As is the case with lesson 6, lesson 7 builds on the foundations you learned in earlier lessons, specifically lesson 5. Stephen teaches you how to use the three main dribbling moves and put them in motion.
Stephen shows you how to move forward and backward with each move with proper dribbling. Training homework from this lesson focuses on doing these exact same drills at home or in the gym.
Lesson 8: Shooting off the Dribble, Part 2
I feel that lesson 8 is where the class moves from fundamental basketball concepts into advanced skill development. As such, students of this class should really focus on mastering all the skills taught in lessons 2-7 before moving on. Otherwise, you will not have the foundation to do the advanced skills properly and will quickly develop bad habits.
In lesson 8, Stephen begins to create combinations using the three basic dribbles. He uses these moves to move backward, forward, and side to side.
Footwork becomes critical to performing these moves correctly and maintaining balance. Unfortunately, I do not feel that proper footwork is emphasized enough even though it is touched on. I would like to Stephen actually discuss how to improve footwork specifically aside from doing the dribbling moves with your hands.
On the other hand, Steph does a good job talking about proper posture, which he calls being “shot ready”. Posture is one of the most underrated aspects of having success in basketball.
I also like in this video that Stephen discusses one of his common mistakes as a shooter. Knowing that even the best shooter in the world is not perfect should help to take some of the pressure off you when shots aren’t going in.
Lesson 9: Creating Space From Your Defender
This lesson focuses on interpreting your defender’s positioning and attacking based on this information. Creating space often comes down to picking up on your defender’s tendency and to counter these tendencies to give yourself the upper hand.
There are three body parts of the defender that Stephen looks at when deciding what to do with the basketball. After evaluating these three parts Stephen takes this information to gain control of the situation.
Of particular importance is the counter strategies to use against defender’s who guard you tight. I have struggled with defenders who use this strategy so I found the information useful for my own game.
Lesson 10: Film Session: Creating Space and Beating Your Defender
Lesson 10 is an extension of the principals taught in lesson 9. Stephen takes us through several game clips that show how he reads his defender to beat them off the dribble.
Each game clip reinforces a specific principal taught in the previous lesson. This is a great lesson to give you an idea about how great players think through each play during a game.
Again, I think that Stephen could speak more about his footwork and how that his quick footwork helps to create space. Watch the clips multiple times paying close attention to how Stephen moves his feet and uses the least amount of steps possible to move quickly and efficiently.
Lesson 11: Ball Screens
Stephen goes over some basic concepts on how to accept ball screens correctly. There are several concepts discussed regarding communication, positioning, and timing. Later in the lesson, options off the pick and roll are broken down.
Details reviewed in this lesson are important in game situations, but often ignored because they are not flashy. Be sure to take in each detail and concept presented so you can have real success in the game.
Lesson 12: Film Session: Ball Screens
Reviewing game film that includes concepts taught in lesson 11.
What I really like is that Stephen goes beyond the concepts taught in lesson 11 and completely breaks down the selected plays so that you can get an idea for the options he has with the ball, and how to decide which decision is best.
Lesson 13: Scoring at the Rim
One of Stephen’s biggest strengths is his ability to score at the rim despite his small size. If you want to watch players who are wizards at finishing at the rim I recommend looking at film of both Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving. These guys have an uncanny ability when it comes to avoiding having their shot blocked.
Most of this lesson focuses on angles of attack, positioning, and the importance of being able to use both hands to finish at the rim as it gives you more angles and options to attack the rim.
The lesson is a combination of a gym session and a film review session.
Some of the finishes he makes in these game films are ridiculously difficult and most players will not be able to execute them. More time should have been spent on the basics of layup technique in this lesson similar to the lessons about form shooting.
At the end of the lesson Stephen breaks down both the two foot and one foot floater. He does go into detail on the basics of this shot and how to execute it properly.
Lesson 14: Off Screens: Curl, Pop, and Fade
For sharp shooters this lesson should be your bible. The best shooters are really masters of coming off screens without the ball so that they can get an open shot.
The curl, pop, and fade are the three main ways to come off a screen effectively. Stephen does a wonderful job at describing each move and how to do each one to perfection.
For all those aspiring players please remember this fact. While it may exciting to think about making a super fancy dribble move and breaking your defender’s ankles. In reality you should focus more on these basic coming off screen moves to be an effective basketball player.
If you can be your team’s sharp shooter you will get playing time, period.
Lesson 15: Ball-Handling: Overloading
The most important ball handling lesson in the series, Stephen shows you how he uses overloading techniques to improve his ball handling.
Once you’ve mastered the basic fundamentals of dribbling it is time to take it up a notch. By overloading yourself by using two basketballs or a basketball and tennis ball you can do an almost unlimited combination of overloading drills.
Remember while doing these drills to do them quickly so that you make mistakes. If you are not messing up you are not going fast enough, and will not get better.
By doing the drills in this lesson using one basketball will become much easier because you have trained your brain to process a greater amount of information by overloading.
Lesson 16: Pregame Preparation
In this lesson Stephen Curry discusses how he prepares for games through proper film sessions, nutrition, and mental strength exercises.
Does he get nervous before games? You find out the answer to this question in this lesson.
This discussion is one of the more underrated in the series.
He then moves on to how he completes his patented pregame dribbling routine that you can see in the following video from Youtube.
Lesson 17: Conclusion: The Journey Towards Perfection
Stephen wraps up his Masterclass by talking about his college experience and why it is important to have integrity beyond the basketball court. Having these attributes will make you a better person and allow you to excel in the toughest moments.
He also mentions how important it is to follow your passion and have a positive state of mind.
Even if you have the physical talents, it is mental strength that sets apart the good from the great. These are some of the principals mentioned by Stephen Curry in his final lesson.
Strengths of the Program
There are many strengths to the Stephen Curry Masterclass Program. Here are several things about the program that I thought were critical to making the program a worthwhile endeavor.
1. Stephen Curry
Having one of the best basketball players in the game is a clear strength of the program. Stephen Curry is an amazing basketball talent and knowing how he approaches the game will have a positive benefit to anyone who is willing to listen.
I like that Stephen Curry is a player who uses skill over athleticism making him a great player to teach this program.
For those who want to focus on becoming a better shooter, ball handler, and all around offensive force there is no one better to teach you how to achieve this goal.
2. Game Film
Many of my favorite parts of this course are when Stephen breaks down game film. You get to see how he processes the game allowing you to pick up similar habits. By following Stephen’s thought processes you be able to see the game more clearly and give a boost to your basketball IQ.
3. Breadth of the Course
I enjoy that this course progresses from the fundamentals of form shooting all the way through to more advanced concepts like overload ball handling drills.
This makes this course a useful resource for both beginning players and those who have more advanced skills. Admittedly, better players will move through the first couple lessons quickly, but further along even the best basketball players will struggle with certain moves and concepts.
4. Other Resources
The spreadsheet included with each lesson helps to organize the drills so that you can objectively chart your progress. For anyone who buys this course be sure to utilize this tool as it will keep you accountable and make sure you are doing the right things.
The Hub is another resource that helps you connect with others going through the program. You should be able to find answers to basic questions about the course by posting on this forum.
I am interested to see how frequently Stephen Curry checks in for office hours to answer questions regarding the program and concepts taught. I will keep you posted!
5. The Drills
Most of the drills taught in this course can be done by yourself in a gym. All you need is a basketball and a hoop (sometimes not even a hoop).
By using props like chairs in place of screeners it allows you to work on skills that would usually require friends or teammates.
Not only this, but the drills are the same drills that Stephen Curry has used to become a two-time MVP in the NBA. While you may not achieve such levels of greatness I think it is safe to say that if you commit to doing these drills you will become the best player you can possibly be.
What Could Be Better
While there are far more positives to this program than negative, there are a couple things we think could be improved including:
1. More Footwork Instruction
As someone who can dribble well, but struggles with footwork I felt that the content was thin on this topic. In fact, footwork is just as important as being able to pull of the dribble move. The flashiest dribble combo is worthless if it is done at a snails pace and inefficiently.
It is apparent by watching Stephen Curry that his footwork is excellent. Often during the game film sessions I would replay the game clip trying to breakdown his steps to get an idea of proper footwork for each move. I wish he would have gave me more insights on how he has developed these skills.
2. Layup Fundamentals
Stephen breaks down how to master many fundamental basketball skills, but skips how to do basic layups. Most of the game clips he shows in regard to finishing at the rim are super difficult layups that most players will not be able to emulate.
Be sure to work on being able to finish a basic layup with both hands before moving on to more difficult finishing moves.
3. No Defense Instruction
Stephen Curry is one of the most skilled offensive players to ever play the game. On the flip side his smaller size can cause him to struggle against bigger and faster players.
Despite this he is able to play defense in the best basketball league in the world.
I would have liked to see at least one lesson on how to be a good defender, and how to react to what strategies the offense uses to attack your defense.
As someone who has played basketball for 25 years and having learned from many coaches and players alike I was not sure how much new information I’d get out of this program, but I was really happy with the amount of helpful tips that I received.
In particular, I learned that I was “fanning” my follow through on my shots and that this can cause me to miss shots to the right. I’m now working on correcting my follow through to go straight down.
At the end of the day you will get out of this program what you put in. You can watch all the videos and concepts taught by Stephen, but if you don’t get in the gym and practice these concepts day in and day out then don’t be surprised when you don’t see much improvement.
Don’t think that by watching Stephen Curry that you can become Stephen Curry. You must work!
The game film sessions are golden for anyone looking to improve basketball IQ and get an idea of how Stephen’s mind works on the court.
With that said if you are committed to putting in the work and need high level instruction that is organized and well thought out and will take you from the basics to advanced basketball concepts, then the $90 for this course is extremely reasonable and a good investment.