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The Off Season needs to be “Your Season”

Ganon Baker, Nike Skill Development Trainer / Director, Ganon Baker Basketbball and Elev8 Sport Institute

Here is a recent letter I wrote to some players. They asked me how to improve during the off season. They said there is so much information out there on improvement, what do I REALLY need to do? Here was my response:

Thanks for your interest in us and I know there is a ton of info out there. I hope we can make it very clear for you on what you need to do to get better. I can assure you, the below solutions WILL WORK if YOU DO!!

As the high school season winds down and the spring AAU season heats up, I hope you are getting some MUCH needed rest. The spring and summer are very long and you must be sure you are refreshed and injury free.

A few things you need to think about this off season!

Mentally:

  • Any losses and frustration you had during the season about anything, let that motivate you, fuel you, let that give you that edge to work and get better!
  • Talk with your coach or your parents and see what your weaknesses are. Write them down. Then come up, with a game plan on how to improve them. You have to be strategic, scientific about this. Chart out a timeline and how many reps you will get in daily to improve your flaws. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! You have to have solutions to improve your game.
  • Watch film weekly with some of you and some of your favorite NBA/WNBA/College players. You must educate yourself on what you did well this year, and what you did not do well. Always grow! A lot of my NBA guys who I worked out did this during the off season

Physically:

  • Get your skill workouts in – 5 days a week – 1-2 hrs a day
  • Learn 2 new moves! Make them your go to moves!
  • Play a lot of 1 on 1, 2 on 2, and 3 on 3 games against older tougher players.
  • Add muscle to your frame by lifting weights.
  • Improve your diet, where you are getting protein and amino acids!
  • Make sure you are getting in your ACL prevention exercises weekly

Specifically, think about these details:

  • When you train, pick 4 moves to work on. Maybe start out with a move and a counter off the dribble and a move and a counter off the 1 foot finish. Work on them until you feel you have mastered them at game speed by yourself.
  • Then pick 4 more moves. A move and a counter out of the triple threat. Then a move and the counter off a 2 foot finish. Master them. It might take a week; it might take 2 months, depending on your talent and ability to learn. Every person is different. I have had young players take 3 months to learn something and other players 3 days…it varies.
  • Then add 2 more dribble moves (You get the picture?)
  • THE MOST IMPORTANT thing you need to do is everyday play 1 on 1 or 2 on 2 to “try out” and “test” your moves. There is no way your reads are going to be fresh or correct in 5 on 5 if you don’t get the reps in 1 on 1. I mean think about it, in a 20 min 1 on 1 game you will get 30- 40 reps at taking and attacking your defender. Where in a 5 on 5 game you might get 5 or 6.
  • So you have to play 1 on 1 try out moves, fail, try again, see what works. I played at every level HS, D1 College, Europe pro ball, and NBA tryouts. We all played 1 on 1 daily. I trained over 50 NBA players; they all play 1 on 1 DAILY.

So play more 1 on 1 daily. Learn what works and does not work. But play against good competition or players better than you, so you grow! GROW means

G - Get better Daily

R - Real practice with reps.

O - Opportunities to be taken advantage of

W - Work HARD! A ridiculous work ethic and have a will to win.

And make sure you stick to a move and a counter until you have mastered it by yourself. You can do a lot of different drills but just make sure you are only working on a move and a counter for half the workout and then another move and counter during the other half.

Get after it!

GB







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