Basketball skill development can be a tricky process – and sometimes it is easy to get lost in the share vastness of just how much there is to learn and work on. So here are my views which I hope will give you, the athlete/parent some direction with what to do when.
Between your first team training and your first game.
During this time, you need to become familiar with where you will be fitting into your team. What do they need you to do, based on your current ability.
From that point you need to focus your training on a few things:
- Conditioning – you need to make sure you are fit enough to play 40mins even if you won’t necessarily do so. Can you sprint the court in both Offensive and Defensive transition? Can you stay down in an athletic stance, move quickly from coverage to coverage and slide to stay in front of the ball several times, then bump and bang on a box out all while yelling communication cues to your team-mates?….. Can you do this for many consecutive possessions?
- Skills – What positions are you playing and what are you expected to be able to do? Maybe you are expected to cut lots as part of the offence: Can you quickly cut, catch and finish in a number of ways? No? Get to work. Every coach will have ideas around what they want to do from a team perspective, and they will be looking to you to develop and execute the skills to make things happen.
- Gym / Weight Room – 3-4x Per Week. Big emphasis on Muscular endurance, moving through into Strength training, and making good habits through foundational motor patterns.
Pre-season is about general development – towards team based responsibilities.
During this time, your workouts should be tailored specifically towards your specific work-ons you need to make you successful in this season with your role in this team. At this stage, you and the coach will have a better understanding of your role on the team and expectations of what you as a player need to be able to achieve out on the court – Work to this!
- Skills – A mix of a) Rhythm reps, continually sharpening what you already do to help your team. And b) Specific needs which you have to address to either make adjustments or improve a blaring shortfall that is hurting your effectiveness on the court.
- Gym / Weight Room – 2x Per Week. Maintenance & Lower Volume programs (Strength and Power focused).
- Recovery – This is the time of the year in which you are expected to perform. You must be keeping your body fresh in preparation for those big moments so you can get out there and Ws!
During this time it is important to TAKE SOME TIME OFF. Michael Jordan used to play golf in the off-season, then get into heavy training just ahead of pre-season. It is also an opportunity, once you have rested the body sufficiently, to get in and work on your skillset and scrimmage aiming to evolve your game in some way to make yourself a more versatile, effective player the following season.
- Rest immediately following the end of the season for 2-4weeks (2 if you are healthy / 4 if you have nagging overuse strains) to let the body recover from the season. No organised high intensity trainings. Once you have rested, it is time to reset and build for next season.
- Skills – Focus on skills that are outside the purview of the player you were last season. Maybe you need to extend your shooting range? Become a better defender? Develop a skillset in the pick n roll? Add an off the dribble or in between game? It is easy to become boxed into a position as a developing youth athlete, but the position you play now may not be suitable for you when you become an adult – so a key here is to use the offseason to evolve your game and add another point of versatility.
- Gym/Weights – Get on a program to drastically evolve your athletic ability including getting stronger, adding or reducing your weight, change of direction, vertical jump ability. Without the team commitments this is a great time to focus on your changing your body for the better next season.
I hope this gives you a bit more guidance with how to tailor your training. The athletes that truly develop are the ones that take responsibility for their development into their own hands – and from a trainers perspective, they are the most fun to work with!
Catch you next time! - Coach Zac