Training for Basketball

Exercises

Keeping up with the intensity of basketball requires constant workout sessions. If you’re not putting the time in you’ll quickly fall behind. Try out some of these simple exercises to keep your head in the game and be in top performance.

Warm Ups

Before any intensive exercise session you should warm up. This stretches out your muscles and makes you less likely to pull something or injure yourself. As basketball involved a lot of running, you should stretch out your calf and thigh muscles. Place your hands against a wall and push your legs behind you, making sure to keep them straight. Do one, then focus on the next. Keep them there for fifteen second bursts. Next, step back and push one foot forward, against keeping it straight, again for fifteen second bursts, and again switching. Then grab your foot and pull it up behind you. This stretches out your quads and gets you ready for the big game. After you are done, relax yourself and loosen your muscles by shaking out your legs. For your arms, push one arm across your chest, and use the other for support. Then push your arms behind you back, with one hand on the elbow gently forcing it down. Stretch up to the air as far as you can, and then relax, again shaking out and relaxing your muscles.

Warm Down

After the match, make sure to warm down. It might seem counter-intuitive, but a quick job and a few key stretches after an intensive game can slowly allow your body to come down and helps prevent injury.

Core

Work your abs with sit-ups, crunches, planks and push-ups. Change it up. There are loads of ways to be creative when it comes to core. Put weight on your back, or move your body left to right as you do sit-ups. Add a pair of dumbbells to your hands or fight against a friend as he pushed you back. Make it team-oriented. See who can do the most or last the longest. Partner up and get a buddy to make sure you’re doing it right. Quality over quantity is key. Don’t waste your time doing a half-assed core training session. Put the effort in and do it right. Don’t overdo it, though. You don’t want to put yourself out of action. When you’re at home, try to keep a steady track. Do a few every day yourself and you’ll soon find you’re top of the class.

Drills

Drills are vitally important. You can be warmed up as much as you like, but if you don’t practice your technique on the court you’ll be no good to anyone. Here are a few key drills to practice before any big game.

Passing

Grab a partner, stand a good ten to fifteen feet apart and using your right hand push the ball to them. When they push back, receive with your left, and push again with your right. Keep doing this until it becomes routine, almost sub-conscious. Then, start moving up and down a few feet, making it more challenging by adding in a second ball. If there are a few of you, line up in two teams and pass balls all the way down the line, keeping it smooth and rhythmic.

Free-Throws

Take it in turns to practice your free throws. The points scored from fouls can make or break a game, so get in the habit of doing these regularly. Other team members can practice their defence by trying to block your throws if you want to make it that bit harder.

Mini-Games

Grab a partner. One tries to slam dunk while the other tries to block. Get your defence solid while you partner practices his offence, then switch around.

Coordination

Hand-eye co-ordination is vital in basketball. You don’t want to be the guy who constantly messes up his passing or his free-throws. Take your ball around with you when you’re at home and try to hit targets. Play on the street in a free-for-all and get the feel of the rough side of the game. Take that intensity back with you to the court. Even doing something outside of basketball, like going to a shooting range or playing tennis can improve your co-ordination. Take a small tennis ball and toss it off a wall at home or in your back yard. Try to toss it and grab is as often and as fast as you can. Little things like that will make it easier to pass the ball on the court. Even relaxing and playing some shoot-them-ups at home on your console can actually improve you co-ordination, but don’t stay indoors too long. Get out and get active.

Speed

Speed is everything in basketball, especially if you’re on point guard. Try to practice this a lot in between your exercise regimes. Try mixing up sprints and jogs together. Take a five minute jog followed by a two minute burst of a sprint, and repeat for an hour. Find a pathway at home that you feel comfortable running in. If it’s a loop then that’s even better. Time yourself and see if you can beat your own score. Get a friend in on it and try to compete with each other, see who can go the longest and the fastest. Make little aims for yourself. Pick a spot to reach in a certain time and try to beat it. You’ll soon find it’s not a chore at all, and it can even be extremely meditative too, which is great for the mind.

So what are the key things to remember? It is important to focus on core strengthening, coordination, and speed. Be sure to use a partner during drills, which could significantly improve your skills. Proper stretching, before and after practice, is also essential. Use mini games to keep your training fun, and keep track of your goals so you know how far you’ve come, and how far to go next.