It’s well known that practice is the key to becoming a better basketball player, but many youth players neglect practicing on their own time. Instead, they limit their practice hours to team practice.
There are a lot of benefits to doing drills at home or on the weekends. It allows you the opportunity to take what you learned in team practice and get more comfortable with it on your own time. These are the things that will make a difference come gameday — and something your coach will take notice of immediately.
Although you won’t have the luxury of practicing against a defense, there are countless drills that can help you mimic game-time situations at home. This is also a good time to work on the basics to your game.
Let’s take a look at some individual-style drills that can help you become a more complete basketball player.
Enhancing your dribbling techniques can spell the difference between making a play and turning the ball over. Many basketball players fail to focus on their dribbling, limiting their abilities on the court.
If you’re by yourself, doing some full-court dribble patterns can help you become more comfortable with the ball in your hands. You’ll want to start with the ball at the baseline, but be ready to perform the following dribble patterns the entire length of the court. Here are some of the patterns you can do:
- Speed – For this one, simply dribble the ball with your right hand and sprint all the way to the other side of the court. Try to avoid losing the ball. Switch to your left hand and head back to the baseline you started on.
- Crossover – Start with the ball in your dominant hand and take a few dribble steps — you’ll want to be running. After two to three dribbles, perform a crossover and continue dribbling with your non-dominant hand without stopping. When you get to the opposite baseline, head back doing the same thing.
- Hesitation – Start with the ball in your dominant hand, take a few dribbles, perform a hesitation move, then continue with the ball in the same hand. Switch hands once you complete a full-court dribble.
- Behind-the-Back – Similar to the crossover pattern except you’ll want to perform a behind-the-back move. Alternate hands everytime you perform a move.
This drill can also be used with spin moves, between-the-leg moves, and inside-out moves. As you get more comfortable with the moves, you can enhance the drill by performing multiple moves back-to-back.
Dribble Pull Up, Then Rebound
This drill will help with your shooting, but can also be combined with the dribble drills to make it more fun. You can either start with the ball at half-court or the opposite baseline, depending on how much dribbling you want to do before your pull-up shot. Mixing in a little of both can keep you on your toes.
Dribble to one of the elbows, pull-up, and shoot. Immediately after your shot, crash the glass. If you make it, secure the ball and start over. If you miss, secure the ball and take a layup until you make it.
As you get more comfortable with the pull-up shot, you can start performing a move before the pull-up — which can keep the defense guessing when in game-action.
With the dribble drills and the pull-up drill, you can start to feel more confident in your shot, dribbling, rebounding, and ability to putback the ball after a miss.