Basketball Skills Workout

When it comes to basketball training, there are two phases that a basketball player really needs to work on.  One is strength and conditioning and the other is skill development.  About two weeks ago, I posted a prototypical strength workout that my basketball players go through.  The workout  is on a four day split and was meant to be done over the course of about a month before it was changed.  Since that time, I have been flooded with emails asking about a skills workout that basketball players can add to their training regimen.  Last week I spoke about the six keys to skill development and how they need to be included in your workout.  When designing a basketball skill workout, I always take these six keys into consideration and you will see those elements in the following workout. 

Dynamic Warmup

Basketball Specific Warmup: I usually start each workout with ball handling so my players usually go through a series of pound drills with either one ball or two.  Each specific dribble (crossovers, between the legs, inside outs) takes about 25 seconds.

Full court ball handling (w/ one ball or two balls): This usually consists of various full court ball handling drills that incorporate the different change of direction moves (crossover, between the legs, behind the back, spin dribble, etc.)  as well as changes of speed.  This is also meant to work on the player’s game specific conditioning, so rest between reps is often limited to 30 seconds or less.  Beginners usually perform one up and back per move at 75% of their max speed and two up and backs per move at full speed and I encourage you to add to that as the player advances and their conditioning increases. 

The next series of drills usually consists of weak hand development drills.  These drills incorporate passing the ball with your weak hand either on the catch, off a pound, out of a change of direction, or in a half court situation off the dribble.  For these drills, the player usually performs two drills that are stationary and two that are done while moving with the dribble.  During each drill, the player completes 8-10 reps per set with about 30 seconds rest in between sets.

My players will then get into their jump shooting or finishing drills or both depending upon the length of the workout.  If the player is focusing on finishing around the rim, they will start off with one or two warmup finishing drills like circle layups (which consists of continuous finishes off the catch).  Upon completion of the warmup, we will get into a series of finishing drills that incorporate creating space off the catch (like a side angle step across or rip through series) or finishing off the dribble (like a six cone attack drill).  Throughout both drills, it is important to incorporate various ways to create space and/or change direction.

If the player is working more on their jump shot that day, they will start off with a series of form shooting drills. We will then get into different shooting drills that allow that player to get shots off the catch and off the dribble.  All the while these drills must be done at game speed, from game spots.

With the finishing and shooting drills, the reps are usually determined by a number of makes.  In other words, the player must make 10 shots during a set or 50 shots during the workout.  It should be noted that if the focus of that workout is on jump shooting then the player will take considerably more jump shots in the hour or hour and half session. 

At the end of each set of drills the players are challenged to make a one and one free throw situation.  If they miss the front end, it is 10 pushups.  If they make the first and miss the second, it is five pushups.  If they make both, they do none.   

Often times, the players will finish with some sort of competition shooting game that puts pressure on the player to make shots consecutively.  For example, the Bird Drill is a five spot shooting drill that gives the player two minutes to see how far they can get around and back.  The key is that they cannot move from one spot until they have hit two jumpers in a row.  This is a challenging but fun drill that the players really enjoy.

This workout, is a template for some of the workouts that my players go through.  It can and should be modified to fit the player’s needs.  There is no one generic workout, that can be given to players because all players have their strengths and weaknesses that they need to work on.  However, there are certain apsects of the game that should be worked on in each training session, and I have tried to lay them out for you here and in my previous posts , The Six Keys to Basketball Skill Development and 10 Keys to a Shooting Workout.

2 responses to “Basketball Skills Workout”

  1. ali warner says:

    Loved the video of the girl with two balls that came last week. A real girl, showing nice work. I had my daughter watch – we enjoyed it. Now we are out there trying it. Thanks!

  2. Rich says:

    Thanks! She has come a really long way in a short period of time and it is all because of her hard work and effort. She is a pleasure to work with, because if you tell her to go home and practice something, she will. I am glad that you had your daughter watch. I have a daughter too (a little too young for basketball now) so it is important to show them that they can play basketball too.

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