Good players work hard, great players work smart.”


Bull Dawg Basketball Skill Academy

"Everything you gain is earned!"

The COVID-19 has forced us to cancel the remainder of the academy session for this year. We will begin accepting registrations for the fall soon. Sign up early to reserve your spot.

The Quarantine Basketball Challenge is going on now.  Good players are always finding creative ways to get better, compete in our weekly challenge to win our  "You can't buy this you have to earn it." T-shirt.

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The Bull Dawg Basketball Skills Academy , which is a non-profit 501(c)3 entity and a subsidiary of Beyond The Hoop (link to website), has developed a unique program to help boys and girls develop their basketball skills. The Academy’s experienced coaching staff has developed over 80 drills that are used along with state-of-the-art basketball equipment (e.g., Dr. Dish CT shooting machine) to help young players develop their basketball skills in each of the following areas:

·       Dribbling

·       Passing

·       Shooting

·       Footwork and Defense

·       Basketball IQ

The Academy’s program, which is unique within the greater Arlington/Fairfax County area, is a 24-week program that consists of once a week, one-hour, training sessions during the late August through March period, excluding the last two weeks in December. Sessions are held at Trinity Presbyterian’s gym. While the Academy does occasionally use scrimmages as a mechanism to emphasize certain basketball skills, the Academy does not participate in either team play or tournaments. As a result, players from any team or organization are welcome to participate in the Academy’s program.


No matter whether the player’s goal is to become a better intramural player, become a starter on a travel team, or make his or her high school team, the Academy’s program will help him/her improve their skills and make him/her a better overall basketball player. However, as a practical matter, if the player’s goal is to make their high school team, he or she likely will have to master 90% of the drills contained in the Academy’s program.ur


Kenny Robinson

Executive Director

Beyond the Hoop, LLC

 Kenny is NCAA certified and is the executive director of the Beyond The Hoop basketball program. He is a former high school and college athlete and has been coaching and training basketball players for over twenty years. His work with basketball and the Beyond The Hoop program has been featured in the Washington Post, Fox Channel 5 news, The Yoga Journal and SLAM magazine.

Kenny spends every spring talking and listening to the top coaches in the country at the Nike coaches clinic held in Pittsburg, PA. He also attends seminars and clinics conducted by the top basketball strength coaches in the country. Kenny has coached at both the high school and AAU level and continues to work with various high schools in the area developing their basketball appropriate strength and condition in programs.

Kenny’s background includes a master’s degree in sports/exercise psychology, national certifications in strength and conditioning holistic, nutrition, martial arts and yoga. He is a member of the National Conditioning and Strength Coaches Association (NSCA) and is a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York City and Bowie State University.

Anthony Melencio

Director of Bull Dawg Basketball Teams/Clinics


Anthony has a B.S. degree in exercise and physiology from Radford University. He is a former high school and AAU basketball player, who had been a part of the Bull Dag basketball program since its inception as a player and now as director of the basketball program. Anthony has worked with many young local players, who have gone on to become integral members of their high school basketball teams. He specializes in the development of young aspiring athletes. Anthony also develops and oversees the functional strength and conditioning program for Bull Dawg basketball. He works alongside Kenny Robinson in assisting and running basketball skill clinics and camps for all age groups.


Steve Thumb

Steve Thumb

Director of  Bull Dawg Basketball Skill Academy


Steve Thumb was one of the original founders of Beyond The Hoop and coached AAU basketball for most of the last two decades. Steve played high school basketball and has degrees from both Northwestern University and American University.

The Program

Skills Program

Program Description

The Academy’s 24-week program, which is divided into two, twelve-week units, is a highly concentrated skills training program that is limited to 12 players per program that provides in most cases player to coach ratios of 4:1. As outlined below, each nine-week unit consists of eight one-hour skills training sessions that use different combinations of the over 80 drills developed by the Academy’s coaches and one testing session. During the latter, coaches assess for each player their mastery of basketball skills in each of the following areas: (1) dribbling, (2) passing, (3) shooting, (4) footwork and defense and (5) basketball IQ.

** Session I: On the north half of the court coaches work for 20 minutes with half the players in dribbling skills training, while    on the south half     of the court other coaches work with the remaining players on passing skills training. Then the players switch sides of the court for 20 minutes. The last 20 minutes are used for a controlled scrimmage, during which the coaches note and correct only dribbling and passing errors. At the end of the scrimmage each coach talks to about three players about their mistakes and strengths and what they need to improve upon.

** Session II: On the north half of the court coaches use the Dr. Dish CT shooting machine for 20 minutes to work on shooting skills for half the players, while on the south half of the court other coaches work with the remaining players on shooting skills, such as layups, free throws and overall form. Then the players switch sides of the court for 20 minutes, The last 20 minutes are used for controlled scrimmage, during which coaches note and correct only shooting mistakes, At the end of the scrimmage each coach talks to about three players about their mistakes and strengths and what they need to improve upon.

** Session III: On the north half of the court coaches work for 20 minutes with half the players on dribbling skills training, while on the south half of the court other coaches work with the remaining players on footwork and defense. Then the players switch sides of the court for 20 minutes. During the last 20 minutes coaches use a chalk board and/or video to improve each player’s basketball IQ. Specialty coaches, including referees, are often used in these sessions to emphasize certain aspects of the basketball game. Handouts and tests on basketball IQ are often distributed at the end of the session.

** Session IV: Repeat Session II (shooting).

** Session V: Repeat Session I (dribble/pass).

** Session VI: Repeat Session II (shooting).

** Session VII: Repeat Session III (dribbling/footwork and defense/Basketball IQ).

** Session VIII: Repeat Session II (shooting).

** Session IX: As noted above, in the ninth session coaches test each player’s mastery of each skill area and assess whether the player is qualified to move on to the next level of skills training.




Skill Levels

As outlined below, the over 80 drills developed by the Academy’s coaching staff are subdivided into six skill levels ranging from beginning to intermediate to advanced with the latter including a focus on game situations. Players are initially provided with a white Bull Dawg Basketball Skill Academy T-short. During each twelve-week testing session players are tested on their mastery of each of the five basic skills at their level. However, since the goal of the Academy is to develop complete, well rounded basketball players, players must demonstrate mastery of all five skill categories at their level before they advance to the next level. When the latter occurs players advance to the next level and receive a new, different colored Academy T-shirt. Then the process is repeated which allows each player to advance at his/her own pace.          


Six Skill Levels

1.     Beginner One: Very basic skills that are focused on the dominant hand and take into account size and physical limitations.

2.     Beginner Two: More advanced beginning skills that are focused on the dominant hand.

3.     Intermediate One: The focus here is on the mastery of the use of the opposite hand and increased difficulty for the various skills (e.g., distance).

4.     Intermediate Two: In essence, mastery of all the ‘basic skills’ using both hands.

5.     Advanced One: Application of basic skills in game situations. One example would be mastery of the ‘pick and roll’, as well as several other items.

6.     Advanced Two: Again, the focus is on game situations, but would involve intense sessions with coaches, as well as closely monitored one-on-one play with other advanced players.

Special Equipment

While foremost in the Academy’s program is the use of highly qualified coaches, the program does make use of a variety of equipment to increase the effectiveness of the program. Furthermore, while some of the equipment is relatively standard, other equipment is relatively unique, such as the state-of-the-art Dr. Dish VT shooting machine. The current list of equipment includes:

·      Dr. Dish CT shooting machine

·      Dribbling glasses

·      Shooting dummies

·      Basketballs - small (28.5 oz.), regular (29.5 oz.) and weighted (3 lb.)          

·       Reversible practice jerseys

·      Cones and whistles

·      Chalkboard and videos

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What his clients have to say:


“Kenny’s training is high-energy fun and fundamentally first-rate, Kenny teaches today’s basketball fundamentals in fast-moving workouts that challenge and energize players with game-style conditions. After a session with Kenny, my sons can’t get enough and don’t want to leave the gym.”

David A.


“Kenny is a great coach. Working with him, I’ve learned a lot more about the game and have really improved my ball-handling.”

Rex B.


“Coach Kenny is absolutely fantastic with kids. His sessions include a lot of conditioning and basketball skill work but presented in a way that makes it fun as well as instructional. My sons have both gone to Coach Kenny for training, and I cannot say enough about how beneficial it has been. Both their ball-handling and shooting have gotten immensely better, and they have also greatly improved their conditioning and over-all fitness.”

Rance C.


“Coach Kenny is great! Kenny provided my son with excellent direction toward improving his play and his positive approach really seemed to motivate him.”

Tecia M.


“Our kids love working out with Coach Kenny. They come out of the gym exhausted but jazzed about basketball and wanting to work harder on their game.”

Robert V.


“Our eleven year old son is having a great experience with Coach Robinson. His focus for the kids is not only on the fundamentals of basketball, but also the importance of having confidence in themselves. This is not just basketball training it is life training and we find it invaluable.”

Stephanie & Gene J.


“Each of my three sons has worked with Kenny. Their skill sets and ages (10 to 16) varied widely. Yet, with each one, Kenny drilled them in ball handling court position, and shooting and built their physical stamina in the process. The key ingredient in the mix was the way Kenn worked on the form for shooting especially free throws. Form is ultra fundamental. The form, the strategy, the drills and extra practice make for better basketball players. The improvement in skills leads to greater confidence on the court.”

Sara A.


“We can’t say enough great things about Kenny and the influence he has had on Joshua. His positive coach style has made all the difference in our book!“

The Murphys



About Bull Dawg Basketball

We have been training young players for over fifteen years. Many of whom have gone on to enjoy the game at various levels.


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