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How To Practice For Basketball Improvement
by Rali Todd, Owner, GoBasketballPro.com

With so many drills and different ways to practice to improve your game, you could very easily get confused and frustrated trying to compile a perfect practice plan. Some of the main components I have always stressed with all my private basketball clients, whether they are beginners or a NBA Veteran, is to try and train smarter and just harder.

A major component you have to consider when trying to design a Basketball Improvement system is to leverage your time wisely and work on the areas that are most important to you and your game.

To use an example, if you are a point guard, your main job is to be able to handle the rock under control and pressure, control the pace of the game, make sure all your teammates are doing their job correctly and be your coaches on the court general.

It would be great if you were a great rebounder, it is not something that you should spend a lot of time practicing. You should focus the majority of your time practicing and improving the areas that are most required. Try not to get caught up in trying to work on every aspect of basketball, there just is not enough time to work on every thing in one practice.

I have outlined a Practice plan that I use to structure all of my Pro Clients workouts, they are very effective and time efficient. The practice will last approximately 1 hour and will begin with a Sports Warm-Up.

Sports Warm Up ( 15 minutes)

It is very essential you participate in an active warm up that will prepare you for a vigorous work out ahead. The days of static stretching as a team are long over, due to the fact that you want to prepare your self for moving, running, and explosive burst, you want to prepare your body to handle certain movements and game situations.

I normally have all my players run 4 to 5 times around the court at about 50%, and then follow that up with 4 half court lay-ups from both the right and left side.

Then, we perform 3 full court lay-ups on each side, right and left. Then we move onto two ball dribbling, full court and back 3 times, two ball alternating dribbling full court and back, 3 times, and then finish with a couple of dynamic warm up stretches that improve the mobility, stability, and flexibility of certain muscle groups.

Basketball Conditioning ( 10 minutes)

I have always like jumping right into some conditioning drills as my players perform better when we get conditioning done at the beginning of practice. Many practices, the exercise or drills will change and vary, but the principles remain the same. I usually compile 6 conditioning drills that we will perform only once, but at 100% intensity.

I will then give them a 30-45 second break and then move onto the next conditioning drill. We do not perform the drills for certain amount of reps, but rather for a duration of time. Usually lasting 30-45 seconds.

Here is a sample conditioning workout:

  • Ladder Drill (30 seconds)
  • Rest (45 seconds)
  • "Machine gun" while dribbling a basketball (30 seconds)
  • Rest (45 seconds)
  • Basketball Pushups with a basketball( 20 seconds on each side)
  • Rest(45 seconds)
  • Full court Defensive slides( 35 seconds)
  • Rest (45 seconds)
  • Net or rim touches ( 30 seconds)
  • Rest (45 Seconds)
  • Push Up Holds (45 seconds)
  • Rest Until 10 minutes is up.

As you can see, if you structure your workouts and practices correctly, you can get a very effective practice in a short period of time. The next 10 minutes will solely focus on shooting. I have a simple rule when trying to improve your shooting.

Think of the 5 most common shots and area that you are most likely to shoot in a game and work on those 5 shots the most. It is almost a waste of time if you are a center trying to improve your 3 point shooting. Once you have figured out your 5 most common shots, spend 2 minutes each working on them and getting up as many shots as you can in those 2 minutes from those specific spots.

You will be surprised when you start working on only a couple of shots how much more you will improve compared to trying to shoot from every where. After you finish working on your shooting, you will then dedicate the next 10 minutes on ball handling. There are millions of drills that will improve your ball handling skills and you can pick which ever ones you like, but follow these rules when you do so.

  1. Try not to ever look down at the ball.
  2. Try your hardest not to mess up.
  3. Involve as much running and movement as you can.
  4. When you have mastered a drill, do not continue to do the same drill, move on to a more challenging drill.
  5. Try to incorporate multitasking drills as much as possible, like 2 ball dribbling, the more you can do at the same time the better.

Follow those rules and you will see a dramatic improvement in your over all game. Now that you have gotten past those stations, it is time now to move on to the most important aspect of the practice.

The last 15 minutes will solely be committed to working on your niche, the most important component of your game.

What Is Your Niche?

This is by far the most over looked aspect in basketball. A niche is what you do best: it is the one thing that you do great, the thing that separates you form the baller next to you. The One thing you can provide the team, and what the coach can count on you for. Without a Niche, you have no identity on the court. If you look at all the Kings in the NBA, you will easily discover their Niche.

  • Steve Nash- passing
  • Ben Wallace- Rebounding
  • Dwayne Wade- attacking the basket
  • Mike Miller- Shooting
  • Kobe - Scoring
  • And the list goes on...

Spend the last 15 minutes working and mastering your niche. Whatever it is, whether it be shooting, rebounding, ball handling, defense, scoring, driving to the basket, 3 point shooting, ect... Work on mastering and improving it. I guarantee you that if you take this outline and use it to structure your workouts and practices, you will have more improvement in a couple of weeks then you probably have had your whole career.

Improving your game is easy when you do it the right way.

Until next time,

Rali Todd

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