For those of us who love basketball so much that taking a day off is out of the question, you don’t always need a court or team to improve your game. There are plenty of things you can do at home and by yourself to help you get better. Check out these three drills you can do at home by yourself to help improve your game.
There is such a wide variety of options when it comes to improving your ball handling. We challenge you to get creative and have fun while thinking of your own drills to practice your ball-handling skills. A few examples of activities you can do at home include playing with a tennis ball, dribbling with a plastic bag over the ball, and juggling.
Each of these examples is not necessarily working on dribbling, but they are great for building hand-eye coordination. Ultimately, your ball handling on the court will improve if you are intentional about working on your hand-eye coordination. Passing a tennis ball back and forth in your hands, moving it around your body and through your legs, or dribbling it will improve your skills. Putting a basketball inside a plastic bag will make the ball slippery and the knot where the bag is tied will cause unpredictable bounces which tests your reflexes. Juggling is not directly related to ball handling, but it is a fun way to challenge yourself while practicing hand-eye coordination. Think outside the box to create your own drills!
The best shooters in the game are successful because they have done the work and repetitions that help build muscle memory. Muscle memory allows you to not think about the movements you are doing because it is natural for your body after so many repetitions. One way to build muscle memory is by laying on your back and going through your shooting motion.
To start, lay down on your back, raise your arms into a shooting position, and shoot the ball straight up in the air. You want to focus on your follow-through from your elbow all the way up through the tips of your fingers. Flick your wrist and allow the ball to roll off the tips of the fingers on your shooting hand. Your off-hand should only be there to guide the ball and not to shoot it. The goal is to shoot the ball with good backspin and so it lands right back in your hands. If you do not have a basketball, that is ok. You can improvise with a tennis ball, pillow, roll of toilet paper, or just your imagination. The important thing is to go through this shooting motion so it becomes natural for your body.
A very useful training method you can practice at home is visualization. Any chance you get to put yourself in a game like situation is going to be beneficial even if it is just thinking about it. The goal of visualization is to put yourself in a situation so when you face that situation in real life, you have already gone over it. You don’t have to be sitting still with your eyes closed to visualize. You can be in your driveway and pretend that there are three seconds left in a game and you have the last shot. You could also be in your kitchen and pretend to shoot a half-court shot into the recycling bin with an empty bottle. Just make sure your parents won’t be too upset if you start shooting things inside the house. Visualization will take practice just like any other part of your game but will be very helpful throughout your basketball career.
These are just a few examples of ways to improve your game at home. Although going to the court for practice is important, it is not necessary to grow as a basketball athlete. Come share your awesome at-home training ideas at Nike Basketball Camps this summer!