Every Off-Season is critical for players to get their individual game to another level! Human nature has us let our guard down a little, relax and maybe show off our best basketball skills all summer long. When in reality we should be upping the workload and focusing entirely on our weaknesses while the games aren’t as critical. If every off-season you can identify your 3 biggest weaknesses and improve each of those — you will come back a much better player and your new confidence level will take you to a level of play that you will become obsessed with.
Suggested Off-Season Plan
Take 2 weeks off at the end of the season with no playing or shooting basketball. Have discussions with smart basketball people you trust (parent, coach, higher level player) and identify your 3 biggest areas of your game that needs improvement. An example would be (1) off hand dribbling, (2) perimeter shooting and (3) leg strength. Next print out a calendar for the entire summer and up to the 1st practice of your next season. I suggest 6 days per week of working on these weaknesses. These workouts don’t need to be very long, but they have to be focused and intense. You still have to play pickup games as often as you can. The single most effective way to become a better basketball player is to play basketball! I also suggest scheduling these workouts in the morning. Nothing will get in the way when you have an 8am workout. If you plan on doing it later in the day, you will end up missing due to other obligations. You will probably want some help with putting together workouts specific to your weaknesses, but the key isn’t the drill it is how hard and focused you work each time on getting better. Use today’s technology like Youtube and Google to help keep the workouts new and fresh. If you attack these weaknesses with everything you have – it will change your game and could change your life!
Off Hand Dribbling Workout
I am going to talk more specifically about this weakness because almost all players can benefit from improving their off hand. The obvious drills you want to complete are any dribbling drill that you have ever done in the past, but do it repeatedly with your off hand. I like to put pressure on the dribbler both with a defender and with a penalty. A penalty will be extra off hand work or push-ups for any turnovers they make while conducting the drills. This will improve your focus level. You can also play games of 1 on 1 with the rule that you can only dribble with your off hand. You should be able to move in all directions while dribbling with your off-hand to include backwards and to both sides. You also should be able to complete all change of direction dribbles with your off hand just as confidently as with your strong hand to include crossover, between the legs, reverse and behind the back. Every week should include very different workouts than you executed the week before. For example, I read an article the other day that Kyrie Irving’s Dad had Kyrie dribbling basketballs wrapped in Walmart plastic bags to make it more difficult. Great idea and that guy’s handles are pretty good!
Basketball like most things in life is a simple math equation. The more time and focused effort that put into a particular skill, the better you are going to be. Don’t hope that you get your weaknesses and game better. Guarantee that you get better by putting in the time. What is more important to you this summer? Sleeping 1 more hour each morning or becoming the best basketball player in your league, school, etc… Put in the work!!!