Build a Better Player

Honing Your Skills During the Season

Part Two: Addendum to My Workout

The mark of a true champion is how
hard they work when nobody is watching.

Do you feel dead tired at the end of practice? Do you think you get all the practice you need during those two hours in the gym with your teammates and your coach, doing whatever it is that your coach has decided would help your team's development? Maybe. Maybe not. And what about the days you don't have practice? Sunday? Some Saturdays? What would it hurt if you worked out a little bit more? Took 50 more shots? Ran an extra mile? If you have a big game the next day, obviously it might not be in your best interest to wear yourself out, but if you can get into a gym or have a place where you can work on other aspects of your game, why not?

When I can get into a gym, I have a little workout that I like to do. Click here to see the basic workout. What follows is an addendum to the workout for when I have just a little bit more eneregy or when I need more conditioning. It is a combination of running and shooting. There are predetermined goals in terms of the number of shots you are to make for each phase of the workout. When you are tired, you need to concentrate more on your form and if you just throw any old shot up there, you will never reach those goals. A lot of times, at a regular practice, you never really get tired enough to have to concentrate on your form to the same extent to which you will have to during this workout. Or, if you do this makes you concentrate enough so that you actually have to reach a goal rather than just making it up and down the court during a scrimmage.

Full Court Dribble/Jumper Series

Starting at one baseline dribble down the right sideline with your right hand all the way to a spot near the opposite baseline that is in your shooting range. Square up to the basket and take your shot off the dribble. Think about your footwork. Depending on what your coach would like, you may plant your left foot and pivot on it to square up, you may make a jump stop, or you may angle your way to the spot from the sideline. Also think about where the ball goes as you bring it into triple threat position just as you prepare to release your shot.

Follow your shot to the basket and rebound the shot. On a miss, put the shot back up. On a make, count it toward your goal, which can vary depending on how much you need (or want) to run. I will usually try to make between 5 and 10. Dribble to the baseline and then dribble down the right sideline (now it will be the opposite sideline of the one you started dribbling down) all the way to a spot near the opposite baseline that is in your shooting range. Take your shot again, follow your shot, rebound and put it back up if needed. Continue in this fashion until you reach your goal. Basically, you are doing full-court sprints between shots.

10 Free Throws

Now do the same thing, but dribble with your left hand down the left sideline and pull up for a baseline jumper near the left baseline. The footwork will be a little different. Think about both your footwork and the way you bring the ball to triple threat position just before you release your shot. Continue until you reach your goal.

10 Free Throws

More of the same thing ... dribble with your right hand down the right sideline to a spot on the wing somewhere between your baseline spot and the corner of the free throw lane. Pull up for your jumper there. Continue until you reach your goal.

10 Free Throws

Now dribble down the left sideline to a spot on the wing and pull up for a jumper. Continue shooting until you reach your goal.

10 Free Throws

Back to the right side. Dribble down the right sideline to a spot between the free throw line and the top of the key, slightly right of center. Make sure that the shot you are taking is one that is in your range. Pull up for your jumper there and continue shooting until you reach your goal.

10 Free Throws

Now the same thing from the left side.

10 Free Throws

Open Court Moves Series

This series is very similar to the Full Court Dribble/Jumper Series in that you will be dribbling from one end of the court to the other, executing a move, and will continue until you reach your goal. You will do the moves both from the right and then from the left. First is the hesitation dribble. Start from the right. You may incorporate more than one hesitation dribble into each trip down the court. But the last one should be done near the three point line as you angle to the basket for a layup. Once you execute the hesitation dribble, explode to the basket using a maximum of two dribbles (preferably one) and lay it in. Sure, a layup is easy, but if you don't concentrate, it is not all that hard to miss which would mean another trip up the court. As you get more tired, concentration becomes more and more important just as it is in the Full Court Dribble/Jumper Series. And since layups really are easier shots, you may want to increase your goal by 3-5 baskets made, making this series even more of a conditioning drill.

10 Free Throws

Now do the same thing from the left side.

10 Free Throws

Next is the spin dribble. Again, you can incorporate more than one spin dribble into each trip down the court. (If you don't get too dizzy ... hehe) With the spin dribble, it is important to take the basketball with you on the spin. It's a difficult move. You almost have to carry the ball as you pivot on the opposite foot of the hand you are dribbling with. Do NOT dribble, spin, change hands and then bring the ball around. A smart player will pick your pocket EVERY time. I remember hearing Suzie McConnell-Serio speak at Penn State Lady Lion Basketball Camp about this very subject, emphasizing how easy it is to steal the ball from someone who incorrectly executes this move. She said she COULD NOT WAIT to get onto the court with someone who would practically give her the ball on every "spin move".

10 Free Throws

Now ... as par for the course ... from the left side, do the same thing.

10 One-and-One's with Suicides/Sprints

This final "drill" is just like the one that a couple of my old coaches used to use to end practice. Usually our whole team would line up on the baseline and everyone would get a chance to shoot a one-and-one for suicides or sprints, depending on the outcome of the free throws. When I work out by myself, I will end by shooting 10 by myself. If I miss the front end, I run a suicide. Different people call them different things, but virtually everyone knows what they are. A suicide is continual sprinting and starts on the baseline. You sprint first to the foul line and then back to the baseline. Then to halfcourt and back to the baseline. Then to the opposite free throw line and back to the baseline. Lastly to the opposite baseline and back again. Got the picture? I thought you would. Not fun, but if you are still able to do three or four of these after going through all of these drills, you can be reasonably assured that you are in good shape.

Back to the one-and-one's. As I said, if I miss the front end, I run a suicide. If I make the front end, I shoot the second shot. If I miss it, I run a sprint -- one baseline to the other and back again. If I make it, I just continue on to the next one-and-one. So the potential for running is ... 10 suicides. But if you make all of your shots, you may not have to run at all ... and if you want to get a bit more running in, you could then just do two or three for good measure. Would you?

That's it. That's my addendum. Give it a try. If you read this and I haven't explained something clearly enough, email me. I would be happy to elaborate on something that may not be clear to you. If you don't want to do the entire workout, don't. If you only want to do the Full Court Dribble/Jumper Series do that only. If you only want to do the Open Court Moves Series, do that only. Make it challenging and work on those areas of your game that you perceive to be weaknesses. If you have other spots on the floor from which you want to practice pulling up for a jumper, add them in. If you have other full-court moves you use, throw them in. If you only have a half court, dribble to half court and dribble back in for your jumpers and/or "full court" moves. Be creative. Of course you want to have fun, but it's not easy. It's hard.

"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't, everyone could do it.
It's the hard that makes it great." -- from "A League of Their Own"

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