The world’s best are set to hoop it up again – a wonderful sight for us sports-crazed basketball fans.
But, for those who play the game, summer is typically marked by blacktop pickup with friends, a little bit of recovery and preparation for the season ahead. Whether it be working on your jump shot or learning to dunk for the first time, we’ve got you covered with these summer training tips.
THE WEATHER MAY BE GREAT FOR CONDITIONING, BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE
During the summer, it’s not imperative for you to be in great basketball shape, so don’t worry about endless suicide sprints just yet. You should be able to get some decent conditioning with your skill work – some pickup, cross-training or even a jump rope.
If you want to simulate game conditioning and the stop-and-go nature of basketball, go hard for 20 to 30 seconds, then go slow for 20 to 30 seconds (and repeat for 10 to 15 reps).
IT’S ALL ABOUT CONSISTENCY
The world’s greatest players have had a reputation for being the first player in the gym and the last player to leave. They take hundreds, if not thousands of shots from each and every angle, day after day after day. You know how players complain about how their shot “doesn’t feel right,” or how they don’t have “the right touch?” That’s no fault of their own.
Professional hoopers are so in tune with their shot that it becomes second nature to them. They’re so good that they know the exact precision and mechanics that exist when their shot is feeling right (or wrong, for that matter).
At the very least, consistency will allow you to get to know your shot – just like you know how to ride a bike, drive a car or type on a laptop. With enough practice, things like free throws can become practically automatic.
USE YOUR SMARTPHONE FOR A FILM SESSION
Instead of posting that trick shot or overly slick crossover, why not leverage your smartphone to break down jump shots, defensive stances and overall game mechanics?
BROADEN YOUR HORIZONS
In a pre-COVID world, the summer months were a basketball player’s dream when it came to accessing the sport’s best minds. Most major colleges held summer camps for youth and high school players, with appearances by the coaching staff and alumni. Many professional teams held fantasy camps featuring franchise legends, where grown-ups got to live out their basketball dreams.
But, with COVID-19, many camps are moving online, which means that it may take just a tablet to garner unique insights from the game’s greatest coaches, icons and teachers.
FIND A FRIEND … OR A PET
While anyone can work on their jump shot with just a basket, passing and dribbling may require an additional set of hands (or paws). It takes just one friend to work on throwing a great bounce pass, especially if there’s a cut to the basket involved.
And beyond a feel-good movie, have you ever seen a golden retriever play defense when bouncing a basketball directly in front of them? They aren’t afraid to give your dribble a solid test.
DON’T SKIP OUT ON NUTRITION
You are what you eat and drink. Treating your body right during the off-season won’t alienate you during the season itself.
There’s the obvious, like taking in more calories than you burn, finding a good protein shake and pre-workout, and avoiding overindulgences in beer, brats and barbecue. But, for those looking to pack on the pounds (muscle, not fat), we suggest working in small, attainable amounts – like 1 to 2 lbs. each week. If you’re able to accomplish it, not only will you accumulate 10 to 15 lbs. of new muscle, but it’ll also be far more natural than putting it all on at once.
FOCUS ON THE FEET
Try doing a set of modified walking lunges or other exercises barefoot as a means of improving mobility.
The most underappreciated weapon for a basketball player is their own two feet. Not only are they integral to staying injury free, but they can also help you maximize performance on the court in terms of quickness and finesse.