Do You Know Your Basketball Weaknesses and Strengths?
With the summer right around the corner, the basketball off-season is upon us here in New Jersey. That being said, The Time is Now to begin your basketball training for next basketball season. If you are like every other basketball player, you most likely have weaknesses in your game that need to be addressed this off season and whether they are basketball skill related or sports performance related, now is the time to assess your game, find your weaknesses, and come up with a plan to work on them. The following will address how to determine what those weaknesses are and provide a step by step outline on how you can develop your weaknesses and turn them into strengths.
Basketball Comfort Zones – Explore Yours
It has been stated many times on this site that there is no place on a basketball court that a player should be uncomfortable. That being said, a simple way to determine your weaknesses is to determine where on the basketball court you are uncomfortable. Now, I do not mean a specific location like in the corner of the baseline, but rather a specific skill that if asked to perform will make you go running for the hills. For example, many taller players at the youth, middle school and high school level are uncomfortable handling the basketball. Most of the time taller players at the youth level are stuck under the basket and never allowed to step away from there or even consider dribbling the ball. Consequently, ball handling becomes a major weakness for these players that often times gets overlooked.
Ask Your Coach And Basketball Trainer
Aside from figuring out what skill makes you uncomfortable, a really simple and effective way to identify your weaknesses is to ask your coach or trainer. Aside from just X’s and O’s, your basketball coach has a good pulse on his team’s strengths and weaknesses as well as each player’s strength’s and weaknesses. They will know your capabilities and how you currently fit into their schemes and how they envision you fitting into those schemes in the future. Therefore they can tell you exactly what to work on this off-season. Beyond your actual coach, your basketball trainer is another great resource for determining your weaknesses. There is not one basketball skill development or sports performance workout that goes by that I do not address the players that train with me and provide them with feedback on what they are doing well and what they need to continue to work on. From there, they can use this information to develop their weaknesses while training on their own until the next time they see me.
Commit To Basketball Development and Change
Now that you know how to identify your weaknesses it is time to begin the process of turning them into strengths. The first step is breaking down the identified skill into its specific parts and work on each individual component separately. Let’s take the jump shot as an example. The jump shot has multiple different components that include: the release, the hip hinge, footwork, the off hand, etc. Each one of these components can and should be worked on separately in order to perfect that specific component. This is done through understanding the proper mechanics and then completing a multitude of repetitions with the proper mechanics. For example, at Elite Basketball Training, we teach that basketball players should release the basketball off their index finger and that on the follow through, the index finger should reach up and through the center of the rim. In order to obtain the muscle memory needed to make this a habit, the player must repeat that perfect release every time. They cannot reach the index finger up and through the center of the rim one time then point it to the right of the rim the second time, then to the left of the rim on the third attempt, then back to the middle on the fourth and so on. This inconsistency will only create bad habits and delay the or hinder the development of proper muscle memory for that specific component and it will delay advancing to the next step in the process of turning your weaknesses into strengths.
Once you have identified the issue, broken down its components and worked to develop good habits the next step is to start to perfect the skill in a low stress, non-competitive environment. During this phase, drills should be done at 50-70% of your threshold speed with no clock involved. Doing so will eliminate any sort of competition from the drills and allow you to work on maintaining positive habits while continuing to perfect them at a slightly higher speed.
The speed at which you can go through these drills without breaking form will continue to increase with each workout and eventually you will be ready to move on to the final step of the process. I refer to this as the transfer phase and it is where the drills become competitive again. The previous two steps have been about developing muscle memory and now you should not have to think about it but just do it. Now is the time to add the clock to the drill and compete against time or add a closeout defender and compete against a live body. This will allow you to transfer your new or refurbished skills into a game-like situation which is essential to you eventually being able to perform that skill on the court.
The basketball off-season is here and now is the time to begin preparing for next winter’s basketball season. The preparation must include turning your weaknesses into strengths. This is done through a multi-step process that includes identifying your weaknesses, breaking them down to their smallest components and working on them at a slower less competitive speed in order to build muscle memory and finally transferring the skill to game situations after your have built up the muscle memory necessary to do this correctly. These steps are crucial to your success on the basketball court and if you work on them consistently this spring, summer, and fall you will have turned your weaknesses into strengths that you can use to dominate you opponents next winter.
Interested in finding out your current weaknesses? Contact me today for a free assessment of your game.