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The Keys to Basketball Training

May 20, 2012

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In basketball training programs, most athletes generally follow a basic template. The problem is, this can lead to players training for the wrong position. No two athletes are identical—each has individual needs. You may need to work on strength to be tougher under the net. A teammate may need to improve speed and agility. Every serious player needs to address his or her strengths and weaknesses through a good basketball training program.

Kyle Korver

Chicago Bulls shooting guard Kyle Korver focuses on shooting in his game.

For your routine, a good rule to follow is 90 percent standardized and 10 percent individual The 10 percent allows you to focus on your specific needs. Still, many athletes struggle about whether to emphasize their strengths or weaknesses. If you focus solely on strengths, you'll enhance your lethal skills. By focusing only on weaknesses, you'll become a more balanced player. So, what is the right answer? Here's where it gets tricky. Although I believe players should devote time to curing applicable weaknesses, they should not neglect making their strengths even stronger.

Think of the Chicago Bulls' Kyle Korver. He is one of the best pure shooters in the NBA (not scorer, shooter). That is what separates him from everyone else. I am not suggesting he shouldn't work on other aspects of his game, but does he really need to spend hours working on creative finishes around the basket when the vast majority of his game consists of shots from the perimeter? He makes his millions shooting from the outside—not slashing to the bucket.

Three Rules for a Basketball Training Program

1. Make your strengths even stronger. They are what separate you from the pack, and you'll benefit from having a specialty. Being a great shooter, defender or passer is invaluable. In my opinion, it is better to be great at one skill than average at several.

2. Work to eliminate weaknesses that actually matter. If your weakness isn't preventing you from maximizing your role on your team (or playing at the next level), it shouldn't warrant too much of your time. Every player needs to be able to go right and left, but not every player needs to be able to shoot three-pointers or play post defense. Therefore, not every weakness needs to be addressed.

3. Don't rush your progress; you have to crawl before you walk and walk before you run. Eventually, you'll have to "run," and you'll have to run at game speed against a live defense. So prepare accordingly. One-on-none drills will only get you so far. Drills need to improve game performance; don't perform them to just get better at doing drills!

At the foundation of every player's game is strength and conditioning. By increasing strength, power, mobility, movement efficiency and stamina, you'll be able to perform your basketball skills at a higher level.

I strongly recommend using a 1:3 ratio on strength training to skill work. For example, if you plan to spend 10 hours a week on individual development, you should devote two and a half hours in the weight room and seven and a half hours on the court working on your game.

Use these three videos if you lack access to a weight room over the summer or need some inspiration for your basketball training.

As with any basketball training program, always make sure to warm up properly, have a spotter on hand when lifting heavy weights and make safety a major priority.

My main goal is to be a resource for as many basketball players and coaches as I can. Please email me if I can ever be of service.

Alan Stein
- Alan Stein is the owner of Stronger Team and the head strength and conditioning coach for the nationally-renowned DeMatha Catholic High School boy’s basketball program....
Alan Stein
- Alan Stein is the owner of Stronger Team and the head strength and conditioning coach for the nationally-renowned DeMatha Catholic High School boy’s basketball program....
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