Basketball Workouts
Summer Training for Guards

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...

Summer Basketball Workout for Guards

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.

Summer Basketball Workout for Guards

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.

basketball workouts - the basic four

A. The Basic Four

  1. Speed
  2. Hesitation
  3. Crossover
  4. Spin

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.

basketball workouts - combination dribble

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:

  • Behind the back
  • Onside

Summer Basketball Workout for Guards

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.

basketball workouts - standstill shooting

A. Standstill Shooting

  • The player takes 5 shots at a time, from 5 different spots on the floor, at about 10'-15' from the hoop.
  • The player cannot move to the next spot until he makes 3 of the 5.
  • Each time the player runs this drill, he should change the shooting spots.

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.

  • The player takes a shot from the first spot near the baseline, his partner rebounds and outlets to him at the same spot, and he shoots again immediately upon receiving the pass. He does this 5 times in total before moving to the next spot. Eventually he will take 5 shots from each spot, 25 shots in total.
  • The player needs to concentrate on the mechanics of the shot - receiving the pass, squaring to the hoop, jumping straight up, executing the shot and following through, landing on balance and shooting again.
  • This should also be a speed drill - all shots need to be completed as quickly as possible, to help develop a quick release.
  • NOTE:If the player doesn't have a partner rebounding for him, then he simply spins the ball out, steps in to catch it, squares to the basket, and shoots. He gets his own rebound, returns to the spot and does it all again, taking 5 shots from each spot before moving to the next spot.
  • Players should aim to make at least 13 of 25 shots.

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:

  • Dribble to both sides - try not to favor one side
  • Execute individual offensive moves - Fake right, go right; fake left, go left; fake right, go left, etc.
  • Again, aim for 13 of 25 or better.

D. Lay-ups

  • Drive from both sides of the floor.
  • Take 10 left- and 10 right-handed lay-ups.
  • Use reverse lay-ups driving the baseline, as well as hard drives from wing and elbow areas.

Always simulate game situations by:

  • Driving hard
  • Protecting the ball
  • Finishing strong

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:

  • The game begins with the player taking a foul shot. If he makes the foul shot he gets one point, but if he misses it, the pro receives 3 points.
  • The player then takes jump shots from different spots on the floor. For each basket he makes, he gets 1 point. BUT, for each basket he misses - the pro gets 2 points.
  • Whoever gets to 12 first wins.
  • NOTE:The player must shoot about 70% in order to beat the pro.

Summer Basketball Workout for Guards

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.

On-Ball Defense

  • Starting on the baseline, slide three or four strides, change direction and slide again - zig zag - until reaching half-court
  • Using the same stride, zig zag back to the baseline
  • The player must remember to use short, choppy slides and stay low to simulate on-ball defense

Lane Slide

  • The player starts in low denial stance with his left foot on the left block, right hand high, left hand low, head up and eyes forward.
  • In this stance, the player slides across the key until his right foot is on the right bloc.
  • He then changes direction and changes hand position - left hand comes high, right hand goes low - and he slides back across the key to the left block.
  • The player continues for 30-seconds before resting for 30 seconds, and then doing it again
  • Players should try to increase the number of slides they can make during each 30-second interval.
  • As the player's time improves, he should increase the intervals to 1 minute.


  • Player starts in the key in a "swordsman" stance - feet in a 'T' position with the lead foot pointing to the wing - and closes out to the wing (as if the man he is guarding is just receiving a pass at the wing)
  • NOTE: Players should spring the first two-thirds of the way, then break down into short, choppy steps with hands up and weight back to complete closeout.


  • Player runs two suicides, trying to complete each of them in 30 seconds or less.
  • Player shoots 50 free throws to finalize workout.

Summer Basketball Workout for Guards

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.

Summer Basketball Workout for Guards

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:

  • Strength training
  • Aerobic conditioning

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

For players wanting to gain inches on their vertical leap:

I recommend The Jump Manual - an excellent workout that works!

Vertical Jump Program That Works

The online bestseller for increasing vertical jumps ...Click on the image above for testimonials and videos.