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Basketball Training

13 Summer Training Tips for Basketball Players


Whether you are in high school or college, the fall semester will be starting soon, with preseason team training workouts soon to follow. Hopefully you have been putting in work all summer and are prepared to make a great impression on your coaching staff upon your return to school.

This article is collection of thoughts and suggestions to make sure you maximize your workouts over the summer. For those of you in high school, most of the premier camps and AAU events will be winding down by late July; which gives you the month of August to focus on your training.

Heal Up

First and foremost, before we talk training, you must acknowledge and address any nagging injuries you may have. You don't want to ignore something little and allow it turn in to something big. Now is the ideal time to address these issues.

As a general rule, if a little rest, ice, and Advil don't do the trick, go see a doctor or physical therapist immediately. Whether you suffered a minor ankle sprain in an AAU game two months ago or you tweaked your groin at camp last week; go get a professional opinion on your condition and then follow their advice. Don't wait until school starts; do it now!


Hopefully, sometime after your season ended or sometime at the beginning of summer, you sat down (preferably with your coach) and evaluated every aspect of your game to get an accurate feel for your strengths and weaknesses. Certainly a good portion of the evaluation should have been directed at your fundamentals; shooting, ball handling, etc. However, for this piece we will focus on the qualities of strength, explosiveness, agility, flexibility, reaction, and power.

It is important you honestly evaluate each of these components so you can better prioritize your training. Regardless of your strengths and weaknesses, I firmly believe in having a comprehensive training program and recommend you address all areas of performance on a consistent basis; but accurately knowing your strengths and weaknesses can help you prioritize each component of your workout.

What to Work On

With the exception of individual differences, at this time of the year you should be putting most of your focus on increasing full body strength and power. There are numerous strength training philosophies and the goal of this article is not to ignite a debate on which is the best. However, there are several fundamental rules most quality strength and conditioning coaches will advocate:
  • Work your entire body; address every muscle group from head to toe including the legs, hips, core, and upper body. Have proper muscular balance by addressing areas around each joint; ankle, knee, hip, shoulder, and elbow.
  • Work your body through all three planes of motion; choose exercises that go front to back, side to side, and rotating/twisting. Go through as many angles and alternative ranges of motion as possible. For instance, there are five primary angles for an upper body pressing motion: overhead, incline, horizontal, decline, and vertical. Same angles for upper body pulling motions. You can also do lunges and step-ups through several different planes and ranges of motion (forward, backward, lateral, cross over, step behind, plus several additional angles).
  • Work within an appropriate repetition range. For basketball you should work roughly between six and 15 reps. While there are certainly instances when it is appropriate to perform more or fewer reps, 6-15 is a good rule of thumb for most sets.
  • Work progressively to add resistance over time and always use proper technique with every exercise.

In addition to those universally accepted fundamentals, I also offer the following recommendations:

  • Give special attention to your feet; they are integral to staying injury free and maximizing performance on the court. I currently have my players do one or two (appropriate) exercises barefoot every training session. Basketball shoes are designed to be very supportive; thus they limit mobility. One of the goals of training is to improve mobility. With that said, basketball shoes are not ideal for strength and conditioning workouts. Do a set of walking lunges with no shoes on and you will see what I mean!
  • Make sure you work your core thoroughly as it is the center of all movement and is actively involved in almost everything you do. I will define your core as everything from your chest to your knees; hips, glutes, low back, abs, obliques and everything in between! The day and age of lying on your back and doing crunches is over! You need to incorporate a variety of methods; throwing (and catching) medicine balls from every conceivable angle and motion, twisting with cables or power bands, static holds, etc.
  • At least once a week, work your body unilaterally, meaning "one side at a time." This is especially important for your lower body; make sure you throw in exercises that must be done one leg a time like lunges and step ups. Again, try to go through a variety of different angles and motions when performing.
  • When performing plyometric exercises; pay close attention to your landing technique (not just your jumping technique). Try to land with your weight evenly dispersed over your entire foot, use your entire body to absorb the impact, land "chest-over-knees-over-feet", and land "quietly" (soft landing; like a cat). Make sure your knees don't buckle in and don't land straight legged. Creating solid landing habits is important for injury prevention; especially for females in preventing ACL injuries. While I most certainly recommend incorporating some type of appropriate plyo exercise in to your workouts; don't overdo it. Limit your volume!
By Alan Stein

Ray Allen Shooting Drill

The Ray Allen shooting drill is a great drill that you can use for a shooting warm up or to end the workout in a fun, competitive manner. It can easily be adapted for beginners and pros. Check out the instructions, diagrams, and video below for more details.

There are 5 lines. From each line, there are 5 spots. This is approximately the distance on each shot:
Spot 1 - 4 Feet
Spot 2 - 8 Feet
Spot 3 - 12 Feet
Spot 4 - 16 Feet
Spot 5 - 20 Feet

You have to make a shot from spot 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5 in 5 consecutive shots in order to advance to the next line.

If you miss from any of the spots, you start over in that line. If you miss a shot in line 3, you start over from line 3. You don't go back to line 1.

Your goal is to finish all 5 lines in 2 minutes.

Taps Drill

Double your rebounds per game by practicing this drill. Not to mention, the coach will love it when you're getting the team more possessions with your rebounding.

Drill Purpose:

This drill improves ball control and rebounding around the hoop. You also improve your jumping.



  1. Throw the ball up against the backboard. As the ball comes off the backboard, jump and tip the ball with a designated hand. Continuously do this for a set amount of taps (let's say 10). On the final tap, try to score the ball.

  2. Switch to the opposite hand and do it again.

  3. Use both hands at the same time to do the drill.

Dribble while catching a tennis ball

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