With the Christmas holidays in full swing, everyone has been enjoying a hard-earned break, especially after another challenging year.
This doesn’t mean you should stop practising basketball over the holidays. As the saying goes:
“Someone out there is working harder than you right now”.
Putting the effort in during your time off is what helps you develop as a basketballer and outperform your competition.
While there may be no school games or club competition during the summer, there are lots of things you can do to help you get a step ahead of others.
This is perhaps the most important thing to work on during an extended break. Starting the new year in peak fitness gives you a huge advantage as lots of other players will be slow and rusty when the new season starts. While it won’t directly impact your skills, being able to run faster up the court and jump higher than your opposition will help you stand out, which could be the difference between making the top squad or not.
Going for a run every day will ensure your aerobic fitness is maintained. Squats, lunges and push-ups also help with fitness and strength. And be sure to eat healthy and get plenty of sleep.
It’s easy to lose fitness when you take time off. But it’s also easy to lose your touch when it comes to shooting. The best shooters in the game take on average 300-500 shots every day. Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors recently became the all-time leading 3 point shooter in the NBA. And he attributes this achievement to hard work and practice. Even though he is the best shooter ever, he still takes 100 shots before every game!
If you don’t have a ring at home, walk down to your local high school and spend an hour putting the ball through the hoop. You will be the envy of the other players when you return to basketball training.
Dribble Dribble Dribble
If you can’t get shots up every day, dribbling is one of the best things to practice. All you need is a basketball and yourself. Being able to handle the ball is an important skill no matter what height you are.
As a kid, Lakers legend Magic Johnson had a basketball in his hand wherever he went. He dribbled to the shops. He dribbled to his friends’ house. He even slept with a basketball! If you live and breathe the game, it becomes a part of you.
Improving your game isn’t just about taking action. It’s also about learning. Watching old tapes (or should I say YouTube videos nowadays) of the best players can help you see the best way to execute the fundamentals, and help you visualise what is needed to be successful.
For post moves and footwork, we recommend taking a look at Hakeem Olajuwon and Tim Duncan. For jump shooting we recommend Steve Kerr, Mark Price, Ray Allen, Klay Thomson and of course his backcourt mate, Steph Curry. For defence check out Dennis Rodman, Gary Payton, Scottie Pippen and Olajuwon again. And for rebounding, you can’t go past Rodman, Wes Unseld and Moses Malone.
We hope you find these tips useful. Have a fantastic Christmas break and keep loving the game!