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Three Basketball Practice Essentials from Home



As the NBA season is getting ready to tip-off again and we push towards a new school year, where it seems sports will be reactivated, it’s time to start getting our basketball chops back.

Today we are going to look at a few tips that students, coaches, and people who just want to improve their park pick-up game can use to get to the next level over the summer – even if you’re stuck inside.


Conditioning is perhaps the most important aspect of basketball, especially for full-court play. No matter how talented you are, if you are exhausted, a less talented but better-prepared opponent will beat you.

Personally, I notice this playing simple pick up games. When I’m out of shape, my defense gets lax and my rebounding slides downhill as the minutes wear on. So, what’s the key? Explosive cardio.

Now, ideally, you should be outside running lines. But what if the parks are closed in your area? Here are a few exercises you can do at home:

  • Box Jumps – sets
  • Squat Thrusts (burpees) – sets
  • High knees – 30 second or 1-minute sets
  • Mountain Climbers – 30 second or 1-minute sets
  • Rotational Jacks – (great for defensive stance)
  • Plank Jacks – sets

If you create a routine that utilizes all of these exercises and do them as explosively as possible for as long as possible, you’ll be ready for the courts, regardless of whether you were able to get outside and run sweet-16s.

Watch Tape and Ask Questions

You might not have a tape of your opponents while sitting at home, but there may be some youtube footage of them. Regardless, you can watch tape of the greats and study how they move as a team.  For example, pull up some Lakers games from this season. There’s a reason why the Lakers are favored to win the NBA title on 2020.

Watch how they run the floor. Pay attention to how they handle transitions. Are they leaving one guard back to retreat or two?  How do successful teams run their offense and why do they work that way?

The answer is usually because they are either playing to their strengths or against their opponent’s weaknesses. So, what are you or your team’s strengths? Do, you have a couple of sharpshooters and a forwarder that’s an excellent ball-handler? If so, then it might be worthwhile to study how the GSW ran their offense over the last few years. Do you have a highly-physical team that can pressure, and effectively force an opposing offense to move where you want them to and be uber-aggressive on the pick and roll, continually able to get four hands up high on the ball-handler? If so, then you might want to study the Lakers.

Ball-handling Drills

No matter what position you play, it’s always beneficial to be a better ball-handler. The good thing is, there are a plethora of exercises you can do inside, many of which don’t even require you to dribble the ball and annoy the downstairs neighbor.

  • Ball-Slaps – slap the ball back and forth from hand to hand to warm up.
  • Wrap the Ankles – weave the ball around the ankle without touching the ground 10 to each side.
  • Ankle Weaves – weave the ball in and out around both ankles in a figure-eight pattern.
  • Waist Wraps – circle the ball around your waist exchanging hands.
  • Head Wraps – circle the ball around your head while exchanging hands.
  • Leg Wraps – circle the ball around your upper legs one at a time, 10 to the left, then 10 to the right.

These are just a few basic drills that you don’t even need to dribble the ball to improve your handles, but here is a list of 50 dribbling/handles drills that will take your dribbling skills to the next level.

Although it’s been a tough year for athletics, with these three simple tips, you can come into the fall prepared for basketball season. Work your cardio and calisthenics hard. Study tape and basketball theory, and work on those handles.

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