5 Tips for GREAT Basketball Workouts

By October 5, 2013Blog Post

A great basketball workout is much more than a trainer leading you through drills or a teammate passing you the ball; a great basketball workout is about achieving meaningful reps, and not just logging time in the gym (think quality vs quantity). Your daily basketball workout is a small piece of the bigger picture, and it’s important that you maximize your time and energy when you are in the gym. Here are 5 tips to help you have a great basketball workout.

1) Have a plan before you get to the gym

A great basketball workout has several elements to it; a warm-up, skill work, progressively challenging drills, strength and conditioning, and a cool down. Plan as much of your workout as possible before you get to the gym. Write it down in a notepad or on an index card. You can always adjust if needed, but don’t go to the gym and try to make up your workout on the fly. You will inevitably leave a key component out or forget a drill your coach wanted you to focus on. A good plan has variety, is interesting, and challenges you! Your basketball plan is what you would “ideally” do; in reality, you will have to make some adjustments for time, reps, or space. It is better to take drills out or squeeze some reps in that you really want than to overlook a key piece of what you wanted to complete. Your plan brings clarity to your workout … you don’t have to guess what’s next and how to do it because you’ve already made those decisions before you stepped into the gym.

2) Mediocrity has a home; it’s called the comfort zone

Do you want to be mediocre? I doubt it. Hopefully you want to be great! I’ve never met a successful person that enjoyed mediocrity.  Find your comfort zone and then leave it behind to get the most out of your basketball workout. Exploring your limits is the only way to know your limits. After you have gotten comfortable with a certain move or drill, go harder or add some variety to it. It’s great (and essential!) to get solid reps in, but after you have mastered a move/drill/skill, it’s time to challenge yourself. Be creative. Find out how many you can get in 30 seconds or how many you can make in a row. If you can do it perfectly in the gym all by yourself, it’s time to challenge yourself. Attack your workout with enthusiasm and energy and an eagerness to improve!

3) Be present!

You chose to be at the gym, get the most out of your basketball workout! You can only control RIGHT NOW, so take command of your basketball workout. Your mindset and mental focus is just as important as your skill level! Tough-minded players stay in the moment and pour all their focus into the task at hand.  Be awake, be focused, be present. Don’t think about what’s going on around you. Focus on you, the ball, the court, the rim, the defender. Some of the drills you work on might appear goofy to others or maybe you are trying a new move. Don’t worry about the other folks in the gym. Stay locked in to your workout and your improvement! Don’t get distracted by what could be, what might be, or what was. Concentrate on the task at hand, the rep you are on, the drill you are doing now. Players that play present get the most out of their talents.

4) Your body is an engine, fuel it!

A solid, pre-workout meal or snack, and a good night’s sleep is essential to a good basketball workout. If you want your body and your mind to be at its peak, you have to get it there with proper fuel. Prior to your basketball workout you don’t want a “heavy” stomach, but you do want to have enough energy to make the most of your workout. You should be drinking water leading up to the workout, but not so much that you feel bloated. You want to eat something light and full of nutrients. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich. A power bar. A couple of eggs and some toast. Some fruit and string cheese. Whatever you decide to eat, be sure you give yourself time to digest it before you work out. You don’t want a “heavy” or “full” stomach, but you don’t want to start strong and fade because you are light-headed or weak-kneed from a lack of energy. There is tons of information on the Internet to help you decide on a pre-workout meal, but much of it depends on how your body digests and uses food. You may have to experiment a few times to find what works best for you, and when you do, you’ll find that you can make the most your time in the gym. The energy you put into your body dictates what you get out of your body during a workout.

5) Analyze and evaluate

What went well during your basketball workout today? What was a challenge for you? Did you stick exactly to your plan? Did you go longer or shorter than you anticipated? When you are finished with your workout, look back and see where you excelled and where you struggled. This is your framework for the next workout. Oftentimes, your workout plans will have to be altered. It is important to record those changes so that you know where to pick up the next time, or where to make modifications. The better you become at evaluating yourself the more effective you will be at making adjustments, both in basketball and in life.

Arvin Mosley Jr. – @CoachMosleyJr
Lead Skills Trainer – Chris Hyppa Basketball
Head Men’s Basketball Coach – The Evergreen State College (NAIA)