About Upside Athletics

John Nonemacher founded Upside Athletics in 2014. Based in Denver, Colorado, Upside Athletics works around the state to develop basketball players on an team, club, and/or individual basis. Additionally, Upside travels during the summer to offer condensed and informative camps and lessons. Check to see if Upside is coming to your town this year by reviewing our current camps. If not, find out how to bring Upside to your town now!

Upside is committed to using lessons and attributes of athletics to build the character of our athletes.  Attributes like confidence, decision making, determination and perseverance combined with the lessons of handling adversity, the power of preparation, building success and pushing yourself to find out you can do more than you thought. Upside Athletics encourages its athletes to carry these skills over to school, work and home to empower their overall lives.



The Upside Athletics program is different than any other you will find. We don’t just do drills, we teach and educate players on skills and how to use them in a game. It’s a personal touch that often goes missing in today’s development.

First we are a DEVELOPMENT program. To us there is a big difference between training and development. In training, it’s about doing the drill well. In development, it’s about doing the skill well. That means the same skill is done effectively in a drill, scrimmage, and executed in a game situation with confidence. Development is a mentality, it’s in the details, and it’s proven to be more effective.




This is the most traditional aspects of our development program. It’s reps and muscle memory to execute a skill cleaner. A huge focus is footwork, footwork, footwork.

Basketball is a physical game. We teach that the player who initiates the contact controls the play, so our players need to finish a skill with contact. This includes dribbling, shooting, finishing at the rim, defense, rebounding, passing, everything but free throws.

We want our players to understand their skills and how to use them. To do this we use questions. Coaches ask the players questions to see where they are at, and players ask coaches questions to gain a better understanding. We use different tactics to meet the different learning styles of players. Visual aids like video and diagrams help with players who need to see what needs to happen. Good verbal communication helps with those who are auditory learners.

Drills alone don’t make players better. In a game there is stress, frustration, pressure, anxiety and other emotions that can impair a player’s performance. It is different for each player and we will introduce drills to test how players handle their feelings around the game. Then we work with them to come up with coping strategies.

So many players perform skills they are not ready to do. They think that they need to be like this player, or that player, when really they need to do what they do best. Do you shoot well off the dribble? Is that to the right? Left? Do you finish well at the rim? Rebounding? There are so many aspects that can make a player special. We encourage our players to know what makes them great. In the pros most players do 2 things great, and other skills well. Many young players try to do 10 skills great which means they do none of them consistently well. One of our favorites is, ‘I give you one shot to win the game, where is it, and how do you get there?’

There is nothing wrong with playing games to get better as a player.  Although, there is such a thing as too many games where poor fundamentals and bad habits are ingrained into a player’s ability.  Upside Athletics prepares players to play by developing a strong skill set while also increasing a player’s understanding of the game.  It is one thing to know how to do a skill and another to know when to use it.  Prepare to play; prepare to perform at your highest ability. We work with players of any age and gender. The game is special and great for all ages. Upside Athletics is all about development, with a personal touch, and getting players to reach their goals. At the end of the day, it is about the players, not us.