Do you know the best way to get ahead of your basketball competition? A lot of people would say “hard work.” That sounds nice, but that is really not the answer to getting ahead. The answer to getting ahead is really smart work. Don’t get me wrong, if you aren’t working hard, you’re not working smart. You could go out and run five miles and you could rightfully claim that you were working hard. But how does that make you a better basketball player?
The best basketball training programs involve working on both your basketball skills as well as your strength, agility, conditioning and overall sports performance abilities. Thinking about the skills and abilities that you need to have to reach your potential as a player and having a plan when you go in the gym to maximize your time will help you make the biggest improvement.
This basketball training program is designed for players to use on your own when you are not able to work with your team or coach. It can be easily adapted for you to invite a teammate or two to work out with you. It really is better if you work with a couple of dedicated teammates because you can compete with and push each other to get beyond your comfort limits and into your improvement zone.
It is always better if you are able to work with your team and coaches, but for those times when you are not able to do that, here is a general training program that can be used by either post or perimeter players. You can individualize it by substituting in drills that you use in your team’s practices for your specific position.
If you are truly working as hard as you can, you will not be able to work longer than 45 minutes to an hour at most. If you are not exhausted at the end of 60 minutes, then you have not worked as hard as you should have.
1. Warm-up (three minutes)
The purpose of the warm-up portion of your program is to get your blood flowing. Line jumps, jump rope, dribble jog, back peddle, 4 corner jumps dot drill, Mikan Drill. Choose two each day. Don’t use every drill every day. There are several to choose from so that you can have a variety of warm-up drills from one workout to the next.
2. Stretching (three minutes)
Follow the stretching procedure prescribed by your coach or athletic trainer. Do not skip this portion of your workout. You want to prepare your body to be able to go as hard as you can during your workout. Going all out during your workout is the only way you will improve!
3. Shoot 3 Free Throws, then immediately move on to form shooting
4. Form Shooting. (three minutes)
Stand one step in front of the rim at any angle. Line up your shooting foot and make 10 perfect form shots. Be picky about holding your high follow through until it is time to catch the ball as it falls below the basket. Backspin should be perfect every time.
5. Shoot 3 Free Throws, then immediately move on to the next drill.
From this point in the workout forward, you must work at a game pace or faster. There will be times when you are moving too fast in your drills to control the basketball and to make your shots. Consider that progress. As you work and work to push yourself harder and harder to move past your current skill levels, your skills can’t always keep up with your new and increased speed. Continuing to practice at the faster pace will give your skills a chance to improve and catch up.
6. Straight line finishes.
Spin the ball out beyond the 3 point arc, go after the ball as if you were catching a pass from a teammate. After catching the ball, turn and face the basket and pretend that there is a defensive player guarding you. (If you are working out with a teammate, have the teammate play stationary defense in front of you.) Make a move as straight at the defense as you can going both right and left. Get to the basket in one dribble.
Work on scoring with two foot steps, one foot layups, and both hands on both sides of the basket. Make 10 going left and 10 going right.
7. Shoot 3 Free Throws, then immediately move on to the next drill.
8. Half court dibbling. (1 minute)
Start in the center jump circle facing one of the baskets. Dribble 2 basketballs for one minute as hard as you can using as much of the half court as you can.
9. Shoot 3 Free Throws, then immediately move on to the next drill.
10. Make 10 consecutive 2 point jump shots without missing two in a row.
Spin the ball to yourself to simulate catching a pass. Shoot a catch and shoot 2 point shot from 12 to 15 feet. If you make 10 without missing 2 in a row, you have won that drill. If you miss 2 in a row before you get to 10 makes, shoot 3 free throws and try again—starting at 0 makes. Keep doing the drill until you make 10 without missing 2 in a row. When you make it to 10 and haven’t missed 2 in a row, see how many you can make without missing 2 in a row.
If you are a post player, shoot post shots, but you have to make 10 in a row with no misses. Make the moves that you use in a game, drop step, up and under, or whatever you use to score. If you miss and can catch the rebound before it hits the floor and score on the first follow up, it doesn’t count as a miss. It doesn’t count as a make either, but it doesn’t stop your streak.
11. Shoot 3 Free Throws, then immediately move on to the next drill.
12. Make 10 floaters without missing 2 in a row.
Using the same format as #10 above, this time the shots will be floaters. Spin and catch to simulate catching a pass from a teammate, make a shot fake, make a dribble into the lane, and shoot a floater. Post players simulate a catch from the elbow or the short corner. Make a shot fake and get to the basket, make a 2 foot power stop and score. You must make 10 in a row with no misses allowed.
13. Shoot 3 Free Throws, then immediately move on to the next drill.
14. Make 10 beat the helper drives.
Spin out, square up and shot fake like #12, but after you take one dribble, imagine that there is a helping defender coming at you, make a dribble move (hesitation, behind the back, crossover, etc…) to beat that help defender and then finish at the basket. You must make 10 consecutive without missing any.
15. Shoot 3 Free Throws, then immediately move on to the next drill.
Post Players repeat #10 for post players with different post moves than you used before.
16. Make 5 3 point shots without missing two in a row.
Spin out, catch and shoot a 3 point shot. You must make 5 without missing 2 in a row. If making 5 is not enough of a challenge, set the standard at 7 makes or 10 makes. Whatever forces you to work past your comfort zone. Post Players repeat #12 for post players with different post moves than you used before.
17. Shoot 3 Free Throws, then immediately move on to the next drill.
This is where a lot of players will quit. It takes a very tough player to finish with Drill #18 below.
18. In this finishing gut busting drill, you mix up Drills 10, 12, 14, and 16 never doing the same one two times in a row. For example, your first spin out might be a 2 point jump shot, then a 3 point shot, then a floater. Pick the moves in a random order. You still need to make 10 without missing 2 in a row. If you miss two in a row before you make it to 10, you start over.
If you are tough enough to make it through this entire workout, you will have pushed yourself physically making basketball specific movements, will have pushed yourself mentally, and pushed your skills. Make sure to record your scores for each drill and keep all of your scores in a place where you can refer to them to track your progress. To time yourself, you can wear a sports watch or use your phone. Being able to measure scores and times is crucial to your improvement. Improvement is the whole purpose of your training program.