2020 has hit us hard on many levels, sports not being the exception. Even if not before an audience, many championships were canceled due to the risk involved. A lot of people that practice sports on an amateur level had to quit for a year as getting too close and breathing into someone’s face during a friendly game suddenly became a serious foul.
Some of us managed to stay committed and continued practicing even on our own, however boring that can be. Others had to make do with sitting and waiting, but hopefully, this year will be different. With the promising vaccines coming to our hospitals we can expect this year to open up a bit more, so it’s high time we start preparing for it.
Improve Your Fitness
Many amateur athletes lack a professional education in sports or P.E, which can be plainly seen from their overall fitness and stamina. To excel in any sport one must be properly physically prepared to endure the pressure and outdo their opponents.
Even when working alone you can take great steps in becoming a better basketball player.
Stamina is best worked by doing cardiovascular exercises, that is – exercises that aim to increase your heart and breathing rate and maintain them elevated for a longer period of time. It is a known fact that all sports that contain a lot of running, basketball included, require players to dedicate a huge part of their exercise to building stamina.
Running, jumping jacks, swimming, bicycle riding, etc, are all great activities you can do on your own or in a group to help you with your performance later. The key to getting better is the quickness of execution and time management. Note that longer distances are better than faster ones.
Learn From the Best
Studying how the professionals do it in the upper leagues is a great way to learn tried and tested techniques without having to invent and refine them first. However, just watching them on TV is usually not enough as things may happen too fast for you to notice but there are other options too. Some stars have dedicated their time to document and teach how to properly play basketball, like this Jordan Kilganon’s training program, where they lay out and lead you through a series of exercises to start playing like them. If you are a fan of any of them – this is a great option for you.
Another learning resource is taking basketball classes organized in high schools, where anyone looking to become a professional should get their foundation. But considering the current epidemic has made group teaching so troublesome it’s a question of whether sports classes are even open.
Practice Specific Techniques
The core of the game is, of course, knowing how to lead and shoot the ball. Apart from the very basics of being able to physically last an entire match of running and jumping, one should be familiar with the techniques specific to basketball.
Controlling the rubber sphere is crucial to any good player. Many exercises are great for this, and we can highlight a few of them:
- Fake shot and shoot – an exercise where you receive a ball from a pass, fake one-shot, dribble, and then shoot for real
- Changing directions – dribble with the ball between obstacles (ie. chairs) changing directions and hands whenever you pass one
Passing and receiving the ball is a basic move in basketball. Those who don’t know how to do it properly will either tend to single out and act as a one-man team or just look plain stupid, both of which are very bad in a team sport.
Passing is best exercised with several players at game speed. A handy tip is to shout out the name of the player you are passing to as they should be aware of it’s coming from a blind spot.
For better shooting you could try out a few exercises:
- Basic 1-2 step shot – You make two steps or jumps and shot for the basket
- Slam dunk – the most exciting shot you can make, it should be practiced with several players trying to block you.
Dribbling and tricks
Leading the ball over a field filled with enemy players is much easier after these:
- Knockout – two players dribble in front of one another and try to knock out the other one’s ball without passing them
- Four-way dribble drill – players jump and stop and dribble at each line of the field while not looking down. The exercise can be performed with eyes closed too.
A very fun and exciting sport such as basketball is so much better when you play it instead of just watching it.
So put on your shorts and get ready for the next season for an exciting new game!