Tanner Lind was born and raised in Missoula MT, where he played point guard for Hellgate High School. He attended Utah State University where he was a student assistant for the men’s basketball team from 2002-2005. Since 2005, Tanner has been coaching and training Professional and Amateur basketball players all over the country and world.
Along with training at the Lebron James Skills Academy and the John Lucas Camp, Tanner has trained several NBA players such as Justin Hamilton, Mario Chalmers, Evan Turner, as well as training with the Boston Celtics in 2015.
Tanner’s Objective: To improve the quality of basketball players by helping players appreciate the effects of positive attitude, work ethic, self-discipline, and self-determination. Lace ‘Em Up!
I love to try and find areas for improvement in their games and push them out of their comfort zones. That is where basketball starts to be fun!
Midwest Elite Basketball: Tanner, thanks for speaking with us.
Tanner Lind: Thanks for having me.
MEB: First, tell us more about your skill development business Lace ‘Em Up.
TL: Lace ‘Em Up (LEU) is a Skills Training Program for Players from K-12, College, and Professional level. We also run camps and clinics for teams. LEU is a certified location for I’m Possible Training. I am a certified Master Skills Trainer for I’m Possible as well. LEU started in 2009 in Missoula, MT and we moved to Salt Lake City, UT in 2013.
MEB: How did you get started in basketball skill development?
TL: I was coaching at Hellgate High School in Missoula and was looking for a program to help the players we had at the time. I couldn’t find one that I loved so I decided to try it myself. Which eventually lead to LEU and a certification with I’m Possible.
MEB: When did you first know that you could turn this into a profitable business?
TL: I don’t know exactly. I always believed it could be. I told my dad I was going to start a business and he told me “Don’t quit your day job”. Too late! I already had! I just always knew I could make it work.
MEB: Has basketball always been an integral part of your life?
TL: Absolutely. I can’t think of a time I did not love the game. I am the youngest of seven children and watched my older brothers play and I wanted to be just like them. Basketball has always been my playground and I am good at it. It is part of who I am! I love everything about it.
MEB: You and your team train a variety of players of different ages and skill levels. Do you have a particular group that you enjoy working with the most?
TL: Oh, that is such a tough question! I love working with youth players. It is where I think we as Skills Trainers can have the biggest impact on the game and players’ lives. I do enjoy working with college and professionals as well. It presents a new kind of challenge. I love to try and find areas for improvement in their games and push them out of their comfort zones. That is where basketball starts to be fun!
MEB: You have worked with several pros. Tell us more about that. How do you attract clients? Do they all come to Utah to work out? Do you travel to provide workouts?
TL: Working with I’m Possible really opened the door for me. Through my certification I was able to start understanding and learning basketball at a very high level. Also, I have been lucky in my relationships with college coaches and sports agencies. They trust me to work with their players. I have always depended on word of mouth to grow the business. For instance, this past Spring I was working with a player from Weber State and he liked what I was doing so much that he told a couple of his former teammates that were in the NBA. Those players started reaching out to me for workouts! I’ve always been about hard work, the rest will take care of itself. I do travel for workouts. This past summer I was in Ohio, Portland, and Brooklyn for workouts with pro players. But, I do have a handful of pros from Utah that come home in the summers.
MEB: This month’s newsletter is focused on pre-season skill development. Give us some insight on your pre-season regiment for high level players such as pros or college players.
TL: Pre-season is different for every player. It is when we dial back working on the future to working on what we can hang our hat on that season. What are their roles on the team and how can they excel in that role? We start to work on what we call Our Best 3. That’s their best three moves. A go to move, a counter to that move, and a counter to the counter. We also like to start developing game enhancement vs. skill enhancement. Working from different spots on the floor and moving without the ball. We emphasize competition and game shots for reps.
MEB: Do you do anything different when preparing high school athletes?
TL: Actually, no! We treat every player in our program as if they are a pro. We expect the same effect and teach the same skills, footwork, ball handling, shooting, and passing. We don’t change because of age. Sometimes it is not as pretty but I like ugly basketball. Most fans don’t, but I do. It is where I can learn what a player’s strengths and weaknesses are. Then I know how to best help them get better.
MEB: Describe your overall training philosophy at Lace ‘Em Up. What do you emphasize? How do you maximize your time with a trainee?
TL: You’re only as good as how hard you work! We talk about that a lot. Keeping players accountable to how hard they are working and paying attention to the details. Are they holding themselves accountable? We have techniques using tools like tennis balls and cones to help them be accountable. I think the biggest thing we do is let the players make mistakes. We encourage mistakes. Mistakes are where we learn. Today players think mistakes are wrong. In games, yes. But, not during training.
MEB: What have you learned over the years? How has your training techniques evolved?
TL: Ha! My first real client and I talk about this all the time. He always likes to bring up how we started with a bag of tennis balls and some orange cones. It was pretty simple then. Come in, work hard, and good things will happen. That motto is still the same but now we have much more detailed workouts and options. I used to train by positions but now I just train basketball players. I adopted that way of thinking while working with some of the Boston Celtics. Danny Ainge talked about not finding players for positions but findings players that can play all positions.
MEB: When you begin working with an athlete what are the steps you take to develop a plan for their training? Walk us through that process.
TL: The plan is always the same. We have a check list of different basketball terms and skills that we can check off as we go down the list. For instance, ball handling techniques/concepts like turn push, straight pound, turn pound, pocket, turn pocket, V-pocket, natural pocket, in-hand float, jolt, dribble manipulation, hand exchange, etc. Once a player has that skill we check that item of the list and continue to add new abilities. We have terms for ball handling, finishing, footwork, passing, post, perimeter, and shooting.
MEB: Imagine you have an hour with a high level player, such as a college athlete or a pro, give us a sample of how their workout would look.
TL: A typical workout with a high level player looks like the following: 15-20 minutes of intense ball handling/footwork. 30 minutes working on a particular skill going at the basket. We may give the player different looks or angles and have them score from different levels of the court. If we have more than one player we will finish with some live situational play, competition spot shooting, and conditioning.
MEB: What advice do you have for a high school coach looking to design a pre-season skill development plan?
TL: Find out what each player on your team dreams are! Most player think they want to play at the next level. Some don’t, they just want to be part of a team. But, each player has a dream. So as a coach what are you doing to help them reach that dream? A pre-season skill program is a great place to work towards those goals. As a coach start working on skills that help them reach their next level. For some advanced players that might be a fade away jumper or different finishes at the basket that have been labeled as “wrong” or “not fundamental”. However, they may be necessary to play at the next level. I believe players will start to buy in more into the the team’s dream if the coach is helping them achieve their personal dream. This is a great way to build trust and communication with your players.
MEB: How about a college coach?
TL: Oh man. Find players with great motors! I think every coach knows that but I love players that simply know how to keep going and work hard. Seems pretty simple but I feel as if now days hard work is a learned skill vs. an expectation. I’ve had great relationships with college coaches and being able to work with their players. I hope it continues.
MEB: How does the future look for professional skill development trainers like yourself look?
TL: It’s crazy! There are more and more people who want to be trainers. I’ve had people tell me they are going to college in business or marketing, not to be a Grad Assistant but to start their own skills training business. I think that is awesome. The game is constantly changing. What was fundamental when I was a kid may or may not be as relevant in today’s game. The more qualified trainers we have the better the game can get.
MEB: Thanks so much for your time Tanner. Any final words of advice for players or coaches in regards to skill development?
TL: Chase your dreams!
MEB: Great advice, look forward to watching you spread your knowledge and passion for the game of basketball.
TL: Thank you so much! Anything I can do in the future please reach out.
To learn more about Lace ‘Em Up Basketball & Master Trainer Tanner Lind look them up on social media.
Instagram & Facebook: @laceemupbasketball