After Tony Williams made history at Doss High School posting a 79-24 record in three seasons and taking the Dragons to back-to-back trips to the Sweet 16 during that span, the former coach is still giving back to his hometown city and to the game he loves.
This summer, he’s been doing that through the inaugural Tony Williams Skills and Development Training.
“I love the game so much and I love working with people and trying to help them develop their skills and get better,” he says. “Using all the things I have learned in my playing career and coaching career – for me it is a way to give back.”
Williams, who is a former Division I player, spent 10 years overseas as a professional, only to return home to lead Doss to three consecutive winning seasons. Through this one-on-one training experience, he guarantees, “I will give you a set of tools that you can and should continue to use throughout your basketball-playing career. You will see a gradual improvement throughout our training sessions, but the true success lies in your ability to soak up the knowledge and make it a part of your daily routine.”
The training will last for six weeks and is open to everyone. Although it’s an addition for kids who play AAU basketball or summer league for their high school, it is also for men, women and children who want a good workout. So whether it’s getting in shape or becoming the Most Valuable Player in the church league, Williams says he seeks to meet every need.
During his time at Doss, he says there were key fundamental skills lacking in this current generation of high school athletes. Therefore, he has put together various packages that improve one’s skill with layups, ball handling and form shooting coupled with a shooter’s package, defense and footwork, and conditioning.
“They speak to the individual needs that I felt this generation lacks most,” he attests. “I found through coaching this past year, a lot of kids aren’t being taught properly how to execute a right-hand layup jumping off the left foot, a right-hand layup jumping off the right foot, a left-hand layup jumping off the right foot or a left-hand layup jumping off the left foot.”
Although kids admire the ball-handling skills of a Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers or Stephen Curry of the current NBA Champions, Golden State Warriors, in many ways, they’ve failed to master ball-handling skills in their own repertoire, perhaps living vicariously through NBA superstars without having the fundamentals.
It’s an area Williams focuses on because “kids wait until they get into the game to do moves that they hadn’t practiced. Your handle can basically show your weaknesses if you have not worked on them. So I have a ball-handling package that is repetition and it works those twitch fibers and it works muscle memory,” he adds.
By recycling training exercises from his professional days, Williams takes a holistic approach to cover all the needs of his trainees. He hopes this will be something he can keep going for the coming years and combine it with his Bluegrass Elite freshman camp he has every year.
He has had ongoing conversations with Metro Parks, specifically the Southwick Community Center, to have a camp finale that will wrap up the skills and development training.
It’s all in preparation as Williams packs his bags to say not goodbye but a see you later to his hometown of Louisville. He will be relocating to Georgia, where he will be working with Action Sports Academy to house kids that come in from Spain, Eastern Europe and various parts of the U.S.
“I’ll go and live in a house with the kids and be their coach and also help run the academy as we plan to expand to more boy teams. We will add a girls team this year, and eventually we will move to soccer and also expand to Florida and possibly even Louisville if there’s a market for it.”
In the meantime, kids will live by his motto: “Be the first in the gym and the last to leave,” and be immersed in the wisdom Williams exudes in what he calls, “giving back what I’ve learned over the years from my experiences through the sport of basketball.” VT