It’s that time of the year where players are back in the gym trying to improve their skill set. The great players are always critiquing their game and trying to find ways to improve. Players like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are always trying to add something to their repertoire. It could be a post move, a dribble move, improved shooting, finishing around the basket, or anything that can make them a more complete player.
As a skills coach I have the responsibility of making players better. Some believe you just show up at the gym, run the players through some drills, collect their money, and then send them home. Well, it’s more to it than that. There are some very important ideas to consider before you just put some player through a bunch of drills.
- Keep the workouts short and intense
- Good productive workouts should last 45-75 minutes in length.
- Make every minute count. Be productive with every minute of the workout so you can get the most of the time you spend with your players.
- Don’t slack off. If there are cones, chairs, or any other equipment that needs to be set up, be sure to do it while the players are shooting free throws or getting a drink of water. Setting up equipment at the wrong time can disrupt the flow of the workout.
- Make every drill competitive
- How many shots can you make in 60 seconds? Can you make 7 out of 10? These are some of the standards placed on players during the workouts. To do this, have the players compete against the clock (so many makes in certain amount of time), themselves (if the player makes 10 then repeat drill and try to make more than 10), or drill (make a certain number of shots before you miss a certain number of shots).
- If there is more than one player, you can have them compete against each other. Loser has some type of punishment (push-ups, crunches, or sprints).
- Standards should be placed on players based on skill level. A high school player’s standard maybe to make 10 shots in 60 seconds, where a 5th grader may try to make 5 shots. The better the player, the higher the standard.
- Vary your training
- Create practice situations that mirror game conditions.
- Beginners should have limited varied practices.
- Don’t be predictable. Vary the order of your practice sessions. If you normally start the practice with ball handling, change it up by moving ball handling to the middle or end of the workout.
- Modify the workout whenever possible. Change the amount of reps, rest period, number of drills or any other appearance of the workout.
- Emphasize makes and shooting percentages vs the number of shots taken in a drill.
- Shoot no more than 4 free throws in between each drill to simulate being winded when shooting free throws in a game.
- Teach proper technique on skills.
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