Do you enjoy watching and playing basketball? Do you watch professionals like Lebron “King” James or Stephen Curry or Nikola Jokić in awe at their on-court skills, such as dribbling around opponents, incredible 3-point shooting or insane no look passes? To get to the top of their game takes a lot of hard work, with constant training, along with the passion to achieve their goals. If you want to improve your own skills, then there’s a few drills you could be doing.
For professional athletes, training doesn’t always happen only at team practise. They have specialised gym sessions to help them strengthen their bodies specifically for the game. There are also many drills they do on their own to help them hone their skills, some of which are covered below.
All you really need is a clean flat surface and a basketball. Ideally A sports court is preferrable if you have access to one, as this will allow the ball to bounce and react the way it should, returning to the correct height. If you have plenty of space in your yard, you might also want to consider a backyard basketball court.
Single Ball Dribbling Exercises
Crossover Dribbling – A great skill to learn at all levels to help improve your touch. From standing still and bouncing the ball from one hand to the other at about a 90-degree angle, and as hard and fast as possible. Ensure you are bent over the ball and when you get comfortable with this drill keep your head up. Do this for 30 seconds at a time.
Low Dribble – This drill has the aim to develop your handling skills. From standing still dribble the ball in a figure 8 pattern, around one leg, then through and around the other leg. As you get better at this drill you should be pounding the ball hard and fast.
Double Ball Dribbling Exercises
Alternating Circle 2 Basketball Dribbling – This is an advanced exercise but has been popularised by some NBA players as a part of their pre-game warm up routine. Best to start off doing this exercise slowly. From a low stance bounce two balls simultaneously, one in each hand. Every second bounce you need to feed one ball through your legs from back to front but ensuring the same ball returns to the same hand each time. You also need to alternate the hands each time. Given the difficulty of this exercise it’s best to watch what you’re doing until you get the hang of it. After that you should be able to do it without watching, and then speed it up!
Crossover Hold 2 Basketball Dribbling – This drill can really improve your hand eye co-ordination. Keeping the 1st ball held to your stomach with one hand, dribble the other ball as a crossover. You need to quickly switch hands so that your hand holding the 1st ball can receive and return the crossover, and the other hand must catch and hold the
To improve your shooting skills, you’ll need to ensure that you have access to a basketball court with a regulation height ring. Learning to shoot on a ring at the wrong level can result in you learning to always aim too high or low. If you have enough space, it might be worth considering to install your own sports halfcourt.
Perimeter shooting. The best method to improve shooting is to replicate the same shot and position over and over again. A good idea is to create a shooting workout sheet, which plans the shot that you will take, and allows you to list how many successful attempts you made from that position. This will allow you to identify and work on the locations where you are not so good. You should use the same location and same shooting motion and take 20-30 shots at each place. Examples of the positions that could be used are:
- right wing /30
- right elbow /30
- top of arc /30
- left elbow /30
- left wing /30
- free throw /30
There are many more locations that can be added to this list. You can then elaborate on this with about how much dribbling is permitted before each shot, or even which hand should be used to take the shot. Exercises like this can easily be turned into a shooting game if you have a friend or another team mate with you.
These key to all these exercises is repetition. In addition to helping you develop your basketball skills, they will also help keep you fit and provide plenty of fun. If you want more information on installing your own home basketball court, check out APT or another reputable basketball court installer in your location.