Basketball workouts to develop players during the off-season need to focus on the basics of the game. I always tell my players to try to find a good summer camp to attend - not that they will necessarily learn anything astounding, but they will have the basics drummed into them and will be more likely to improve their basketball skills. If they can't get to a basketball training camp for the summer, then they do these basketball workouts.
Players will play basketball games all summer long, which is a good thing - the more they play, the better condition they will be in when they return to you in the fall. But they will likely not focus much on improving basics playing pick-up ball at the local court, and can very likely develop some bad habits.
That's why a more formal basketball workout is so necessary - they can spend an hour or so early in the morning running the workout, and then play as much pick-up ball as they want throughout the day. They'll still get basic training in, they'll get to play lots of ball, and through repetition during the workout, the basics will become ingrained in them and come out naturally during their game time - and that will hopefully keep them from picking up too many bad habits.
In my (much) younger years, the basketball workout I found for my off-season consisted of fingertip push ups and wrist roller workouts (if you are interested, here's a good wrist roller from Amazon - great for developing forearm strength, which is important for basketball, but not so great at developing basic skills). So below you will find the workout I give my guards at the beginning of the summer. It is an all-round, general workout that hits all the major aspects of their game and should do a good job of keeping their skills in check and hopefully improving them over the summer.
A quick word of caution: it is always a benefit to have someone critiquing a player's development during the basketball workout - doing great drills with bad form doesn't help the player. So I generally advise players to attend a basketball camp if possible in the off-season, or at the very least, perform the workout below with a partner who can watch and provide feedback.
This is an all-around workout designed to practice all basic skills guards need to play the game well. In response to several requests from players and coaches, I've reworked this training program into a free, downloadable pdf - you can find it on the Coaching Manuals page.
Now, on with the workout...
The warm-up needs to be dynamic - they need to simulate to a less strenuous degree the movements the muscles will be doing during the workout.
Laps: 1 lap jog, half lap slow running, 1 lap jog, half lap slow running
Dynamic Stretching : 2 lengths carioca, Arm Swings, Side Bends, Trunk Rotations, Hamstring Stretch, Alternate Toe Touches, Leg Swings
Wraparound : pass the ball around the waist, going 10 times in each direction.
Figure 8: pass the ball in a figure 8 motion between the legs, working up to the highest speed possible. 10 repetitions forward and backward.
Combo Wraparound : combine figure 8 with waist and neck wraparounds, trying to move the ball quickly while maintaining control.
Figure 8 Dribble : stand in one place and dribble in a figure 8 movement between the legs. Keep the ball low, head up and concentrate on ball control with the fingertips.
Machine Gun Dribble : pound the ball low in a "patter" dribble motion, alternating left and right hands, trying to dribble as low to the ground as possible and keeping the ball on the fingertips.
Players love to mimic their favorite NBA players or And 1 routine, and when the constraints of formal practice sessions are lifted, they can go a little crazy. That's why this basketball workout focuses solely on the basics.
A. The Basic Four
Beginning at half court on the right side of the court, the player uses the right hand to execute a speed dribble down to a lay-up. Then he dribbles to the opposite side of half court, turns and executes a speed dribble with the left hand to the hoop for another lay-up.
Then he returns to the starting position and executes a hesitation dribble, first with the right hand and then with the left; then he returns to the start and continues with each of the basic four dribbles, until all basic dribbles have been executed.
Do this 3-5 times.
B. Combination Dribble
Similar to the basic four, except all dribbles are used one after the next.
In a five minute period, the player executes all the basic four moves but in combinations of 3-4 at a time, i.e., speed dribble followed by crossover then spin, etc.
The player should include all the basic four dribbles, as well as:
I know of no coach who doesn't want to improve the team's shooting percentage in the next season. Sometimes this is a particularly bad problem, sometimes not - but everyone would like to see better numbers on the scoreboard every season. To do that, there are two vital areas that need to be improved - first, the shot itself, and secondly, a quick release - i.e., the ability to shoot as quickly as possible upon receiving a pass.
In the drills in this session of the summer basketball workout, be sure to have your players focus first on proper form - have them start shooting closer to the hoop, focusing on form and consistency, before moving farther out.
Also remind them that practice needs to emulate game situations - have them work on releasing the shot immediately after catching the pass.
It would be best for most shooting drills to be done with a partner who can rebound and outlet the ball to the shooter. However, the drills can be done alone - this simply means the player has to rebound his own shot which will disrupt his flow and slow down the drill.
A. Standstill Shooting
B. 5 Spots, 25 Shots
Similar to the Standstill Shooting drill above, the player will shoot from 5 different spots on the floor, about 10' to 15' from the hoop. This time the shots are jump shots taken when receiving a pass.
C. Fake and Shoot
Repeat the previous drill - 5 Spots, 25 Shots - this time faking the shot and taking one dribble before pulling up for a jump shot.
For this drill:
Always simulate game situations by:
E. Beat the Pro
The player chooses his favorite player - NBA, college, whatever - to compete against. The object of the game is for the player to score 12 points before the pro scores 12.
How it's played:
Defense cannot be forgotten. Remind players that everyone needs to know how to play defense - if you score 25 points but the man you are guarding scores 26 points, you've lost.
The drills for defense in the summer basketball workout are simple, but when done properly they condition the legs very well and set the player up to be well ahead of the others on the floor when the season arrives.
Aside from the 50 foul shots that players shoot at the end, they should also take 5 foul shots in between each of the sessions.
Players jog a few laps to cool down muscles, then perform Static Stretches (hold for 10 seconds then switch). Be sure to stretch all muscles, moving the muscle into the stretch slowly, holding the stretch for 10 seconds, before releasing it slowly. Also remember not to bounce - hold the stretch. This will help remove lactic acid from the muscles so they won't be sore next day.
And That's It!
The drills contained in this basketball workout are intended to improve the basketball skills of guards in particular - post men have a somewhat different focus, with different drills to hone these skills. Players should pay particular attention to areas where they are weak, and try to develop them over the summer vacation.
Note, however, that this particular basketball workout does not help improve physical conditioning to any great extent. Players eager to do that need to also be given solid programs designed in two other areas:
So have your guards run this basketball workout 4-5 times a week during the summer. Remind them to focus on the basics of the game. Tell them to attend a basketball camp if they can. And most importantly, remind your players that more than anything else this summer, every chance they get, they need to...
"Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a second.
- William James
I recommend The Jump Manual - an excellent workout that works!
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