Labor Day has come and gone, which means a lot of teams are starting to rev up preseason basketball training. As you begin, here are five things to keep in mind in order to maximize your workouts.
1. Playing in Pickup Games ≠ Sport Workouts
If your team is anything like ours, your players are pumped about competing in open gyms. But just because guys are scrimmaging against each other doesn’t necessarily mean they’re getting any better. On average, one player takes 13 shots per hour of scrimmage play. With the right drill, a player can get 13 shots in under a minute. If player development is about reps, then a pickup game isn’t the solution to individual improvement.
2. Quality over Quantity
We live in a society that often believes more is better. Unfortunately, many players take that same mindset into the gym. I’ve heard of a player telling a coach, “Coach, I was in the gym four hours working on my game.” My initial response is, “What are you doing in the gym for four hours!?” More important than the amount of time spent in the gym is how that time is spent. Get in. Work hard. Get out.
3. Practice What You Do
Answer these questions: During those 45 minutes to an hour in the gym, what exactly are your players doing to improve? What drills are they using to get better at skills they must perform in games in order for your team to have a chance to win? Are they getting enough reps to actually see improvement?
4. “Faster! Faster! Faster!”
I’ll ask my freshman after they’ve been at college a few months, “What’s the biggest difference between high school and college?” Undoubtedly, one of their first responses will be connected to the increased speed of the game. I find most high school players that come to us play at three-fourths speed. I’m constantly yelling during individual workouts, “Faster! Faster! Faster!” My goal is for players to be so used to practicing under control at a high pace that games seem like slow motion.
5. Get Better on Both Ends
Players have a tendency to spend plenty of time practicing offense, but very little time practicing defense. Whether it’s because they don’t know defensive drills or because defense just isn’t fun to practice, players must get reps on both offense and defense.
Good luck this preseason!