In order for players to get better they must have an effective skill development workout. I see a lot of players in the gym that say they are working on their skills, but they are really just wasting time and energy. A lot of players are never really taught how to workout on their own.
Listed below I have some tips on how to make your skill development workout effective and efficient.
- Keep workouts short and intense. There is no need to be in the gym for 3 hours when you can get done what you need to in 60 minutes. Skill development workouts should last no more than 75 minutes. The intensity of the workout should be that of a game if not greater. There should be no lag time in between drills. While players are getting a drink or shooting free throws the next drill should be getting set up. You want the majority of the minutes allowed for the workout to be productive minutes.
- Make drills competitive. Players love to compete. It keeps their attention and makes them go hard and give extra effort. If a player is practicing by himself they can compete against a clock, the drill, or themselves. If they are competing against a clock they may have to make so many shots in a set amount of time. Competing against a drill the player may have to make 7 out of 10 shots. Players can also compete against themselves by performing a drill, setting a record, then trying to beat that record. In a small group or team setting when there is a loser they have some sort of punishment.
- Have a plan. You can’t say I’m going to the gym today to get better and not know what you are going to do. How are you going to get better? What type of shots are you going to take? How many shots are you going to shoot? How much time are you going to spend on ball handling? Those are things to take into consideration when going to the gym to have a skill development workout. Take 5 to 10 minutes before you go to the gym and write out what you are going to do. This also gives you the opportunity to go back and see what you actually worked on.
- Have drills that carry over to a game. YouTube can be a valuable asset when trying to find drills to help improve your game. At the same time you can also find drills that are a waste of time and that have no meaning. Be careful when you are researching for drills. Ask yourself if the drill is game like. Can you take what they are doing in the drill and apply it to a game? You don’t have to get all fancy and have a bunch of props and basketballs to make for an effective drill. When it comes down to it all you really need is a ball and a hoop. If are a wing that shoots a lot of shots on the perimeter in your offense, then design drills that have you shooting those shots in a game.
- Use progression in drills. My dad used to always tell me you have to crawl before you walk. There are some players that just want to take off running. Progression is very, very important in skill development. Put together workouts that have you progress from one drill to another. Progress from one workout to the next. Here’s what I mean. If you find a shooting drill where you have to make 5 shots in a row before moving to the next spot, instead of making 5 in a row you should start with 2 in a row. As you improve, progress to 3 or 4 and then on to 5. This will limit your frustration and allow you to see how you are improving in a particular skill set.
- Use short rest periods to improve endurance. I tell players I train don’t let fatigue beat you. Don’t be the player that can’t defend, secure a rebound, make free throws, or hit that big shot because of fatigue. To improve your endurance during a skill development workout you should keep your rest periods short. Shoot no more than 4 free throws at a time, unless you are at the end of the workout. Shooting only 4 free throws also simulates game like situation when you step up to the line.