The Hoops Whisperer: On the Court and Inside the Heads of Basketball's Best Players


Basketball’s most unlikely—and most sought-after—training guru offers an inside look at his career, his methods, and the all-star players whose games he’s helped transform.
Where do the best basketball players in the world turn when they want to improve their game? Whom does a future NBA Hall of Famer thank at his press conference when he’s named Rookie of the Year? Who is it that Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal, and Men’s ...

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The Hoops Whisperer: On the Court and Inside the Heads of Basketball's Best Players

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Basketball’s most unlikely—and most sought-after—training guru offers an inside look at his career, his methods, and the all-star players whose games he’s helped transform.
Where do the best basketball players in the world turn when they want to improve their game? Whom does a future NBA Hall of Famer thank at his press conference when he’s named Rookie of the Year? Who is it that Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal, and Men’s Journal all call the "Hoops Whisperer" because of his ability to engage, inspire, and challenge the players he trains? The answer to all of these questions is Idan Ravin.

Ravin never played or coached in college or the pros, yet a virtual NBA All-Star team relies on him to better their game and reach their full potential. A soft-spoken former lawyer, Ravin has become professional basketball’s hottest trainer.

In The Hoops Whisperer, Ravin shares the fascinating story of how he transformed a passion for the game into working with iconic basketball stars such as Chris Paul, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Stephen Curry, Blake Griffin, James Harden, Dwight Howard, and many more.  He offers a rare unguarded glimpse inside the lives of these great athletes, drawn from his intimate connection with them that is the basis of his success. 

Showcasing his unorthodox drills and improvisational techniques in action, Ravin reveals how faith, effort, dedication, and passion can make a player into a superstar—and anyone into a success. Combined with his own inspiring journey, Ravin’s insights make The Hoops Whisperer a must-read for anyone who loves the game.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As a trainer, Ravin has helped hone the skills of some of pro basketball’s biggest names, including LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. His arrival at this starry occupation was hardly glamorous. The product of a Conservative Jewish household, Ravin fell in love with basketball as a child and devised his own training regimen. Using that and his experience coaching youth basketball, he began training players while he pursued an unsatisfying law career. Year by year, despite no ties to the NBA hierarchy and a playing career that ended in high school, he attracted high-profile clients willing to pay for his personal, unorthodox training. The book’s caroming style—Ravin’s twisty path to his unique career, insights on working with clients, and inspirational asides—is galvanized by Ravin’s chummy directness and his practical observations: we can become so enamored of reaching a goal that we lose sight of an equally rewarding path; even if you win the genetic lottery, insistent hard work is required to get the most out of a passion. This is a self-help book for the basketball player, but Ravin’s commonsense approach elevates it well beyond gimmickry categorization. (May)
From the Publisher
"I never imagined that when I first worked with Idan before my rookie year, our relationship would extend more than a decade. He has influenced me tremendously and I am very grateful for his loyalty, friendship, and guidance. He is passionate about everything he does and, while some may consider his methods unorthodox, the end results for me have been remarkable."
—Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
"Idan inspired me to see my full potential, to become more than others had ever expected of me, and challenge myself to do more than I had even expected of myself.  He showed me the importance of resilience and determination; and to capitalize on all my opportunities I had coming out of school and even to this day. His challenge to never become 'regular' stuck with me and kept me fierce in my determination to be committed to who I am, what I stand for, and to leave my lasting fingerprints on the game I so dearly love."
—Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
"Idan believed in me when others didn't. He challenged me when others couldn't. He cheered for me when others stopped. He praised me when others wouldn't. He stood by me when others ran. He encouraged me to find my greatness, which I did and continue to find."
 —JR Smith, New York Knicks
"Idan is the first guy that I've worked with that brought something different to the workouts, who pushed me past my limits, who made me think of the game on a different level. He pushed me with his words, encouraged me and built my confidence as the days went on. Truly one of a kind and I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to learn from him."
 —Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
"Idan was the best trainer I've ever worked with. The drills that we did pushed me to and past the limit.  Working with Idan allowed me to fall in love with the game of basketball all over again. If you want to be great, go see Idan and it will change your life."
 —Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets
Kirkus Reviews
An unlikely inspirational book by the trainer for the NBA's biggest stars. Ravin became an athletic trainer without the seemingly requisite formal education or experience. Yet, solely through word of mouth from the league's biggest stars, he has built a career training elite athletes in their shared quest to improve their games and achieve their highest goals. Ravin didn't stay at his previous boring and soul-killing job; he created one based on the game he loved. Always an outsider, he remained mistrustful of organizations that would make him "sacrifice [his] identity or authenticity to try to blend into the environment." In devising his innovative training philosophy, the author figured if players could consistently handle "the complexity, intensity and pace of the workouts I dreamt up, then practice and games would feel like Oreos soaked in milk." Pampered NBA superstars fly him across the country and pay for the privilege of working out in empty practice gyms with no amenities, having their weaknesses exposed, and competing "under strenuous circumstances designed to fatigue, test and build." He earns their trust by creating an environment of collaboration and mutual respect based on accountability, honesty and positive reinforcement. Ravin's writing mimics the quick, staccato rhythms of the game. He shares his experiences in short, free-standing chapters that create a constant flow of his observations and beliefs. With characteristic modesty, the author might reject the idea he has written not only an insightful look at what motivates NBA players, but also an uplifting life guide. (Indeed, the words he repeats throughout are "intuition," "love" and "faith.") Ravin doesn't reinterpret such familiar aphorisms as "Do what you love" and "Follow your bliss"; rather, this book uniquely overlaps the genres of memoir, self-help, organizational psychology and philosophy. A sports book that will motivate readers to live a purposeful, authentic life.
Library Journal
Ravin, a private trainer for NBA players, has written a moving book that is an intriguing mix of memoir, basketball instruction, and self-help. Impressively, for a first-time author with seemingly no ghost writer helping him, the author balances facts with emotion. The reader learns much about his training techniques and about basketball while also being inspired by his journey from bored lawyer to personal trainer for LeBron James, Chris Paul, and other stars. His compassion for all the players he works with comes across subtly and articulately in his writing. The word Zen comes to mind often while reading the book, as do the coaching styles and philosophies of Greg Popovitch and Phil Jackson—like Ravin they are notable in their approaches because they often let players figure their way out of difficulties rather than demand change immediately. It's no surprise that Ravin has encountered a lot of resistance from coaches because of what they consider to be his unorthodox methods. He details some of these confrontations, which ends up revealing a lot about how the coach-player relationship is structured, at least in the NBA. VERDICT This book should be of interest to all NBA fans. Readers of memoirs and nonreligious, inspirational stories may also find the account appealing.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592408917
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/1/2014
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 71,591
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Idan Ravin splits his time between Maryland, and New York City.

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