The Value of On-Court Drills and Pickup Games

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According to Mike Moreau, IMG Academies' director of basketball, a complete player is "one who is proficient in all fundamentals of the game." This obviously includes offensive and defensive skills, but it also implies coachability, attitude and an inspirational work ethic.

Here, Moreau explains the value of pickup games and on-court drills— two valuable, but very different, methods to improve your game.

Balancing Act. Balance pickup games equally with on-court drills. A simple rule of thumb is that if a player is doing too much of one and not enough of the other, then it's time to swing the pendulum the other way.

IMG's Schedule. Monday through Friday, all high school, college and pro players have two on-court basketball workouts per day [skills, moves, shooting, situation, structured pick-up games], as well as one workout for strength and conditioning, speed, agility and movement. Saturday morning typically features one on-court workout.

Drill, Drill, Drill. Drills allow for detailed teaching, instruction and repetition to develop and groove proper habits. IMG believes in short, focused, intensive training sessions, as opposed to "six hours a day in the gym or 1,000 shots a day."

Who's Got Next? After you hone your skills through carefully crafted drills, transition into competitive pickup games in a controlled environment to develop instincts and understanding of function within a team. Pickup games are a waste of time if they consist only of fast breaks with three or four players trailing the play, or players taking turns going one-on-one. Sloppy games aren't conducive to development.

No Ball Required. IMG also works hard on developing necessary character traits to build a foundation for future success—on and off the court. Moreau has seen countless talented players fail because of character flaws, but also just as many lesser-talented ballers elevate to higher success because of impeccable character. Success as a person can directly lead to success as a player.
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