Basketball players have different strengths and weaknesses. Some players are fast and can jump high, while others are masterful with the ball in their hands. However, no matter what type of player you are, you always need to be able to move powerfully and control your body.
So, next time you step into the weight room, take a moment to think about your weaknesses. Do you have knee pain or a slow first step? Are you always getting boxed out by stronger opponents? Once you identify your weaknesses, adjust your training so you can improve your overall game.
Below are two types of basketball players I often see and my guidelines on how they should alter their training.
- Highest vertical jump on team
- Quickest first step on team
- Has knee issues, including patella pain (just below the knee cap)
- Often sprains ankle
If you are like this player, you are very athletic, but you lack the ability to control your body. Your knees are taking abuse, most likely because your hips aren’t strong enough. Also, you probably did not properly rehab your ankle from a previous sprain and are now paying the price.
You should focus on improving your hip and knee strength to eliminate knee pain and protect your ankles. Perform foundational, multi-joint lifts, but focus on controlling the downward motion so you can increase joint control. A great place to start is with the lower-body foundational workout I provided in a previous article.
In addition, you should perform two or three extra sets on the leg that you land on or the leg that has sustained multiple ankle sprains. This will build the strength and control you need to prevent further injury. Also, add a hip dominant exercise, like Lunges. Try them barefoot and work on feeling the ground with every toe. Perform this exercise by driving slightly forward and up out of the Lunge to place the load on your hip. Also, try hugging a weight instead of holding dumbbells at your sides.
- Strong on boards and in the paint
- Biggest Bench Press on team
- Slowest first step on team
- Average vertical jump
If you are like this player, you have excellent upper-body strength, but you don’t spend much time on your footwork or range of motion exercises. Instead of continuing to build upper-body strength, you should focus on moving faster.
Like Player 1, you should regularly perform foundational lifts; however, you should do each rep explosively. Perform most movements without weight for a specified time rather than for reps. Once you master the movements, add resistance with light weight resistance bands.
You should also regularly perform drills to improve your overall quickness. I recommend supersetting explosive exercises with these drills to increase intensity. As a starting point, perform the classic Red Light, Green Light Drill, where you stop and start on a partner’s or coach’s signal to improve acceleration and deceleration. Another excellent drill is Line Hops, where you hop back and forth over a line on one foot for five to 10 seconds.
These two players can train side-by-side in a team setting, but still have a different focus. Small changes in your training can go a long way to addressing your weaknesses as a basketball player.
Bryan Meyer is a leading expert in athletic performance coaching and the founder of B Meyer Training in Orlando. In 2005, he became Dwight Howard’s sole performance coach. Other top clients include pro athletes DeAndre Jordan, Kim Glass and Brian Dawkins. Meyer and his training methods have been featured in ESPN, Sports Illustrated and Men’s Health. On a more personal note, through the D-12 Foundation, Meyer makes a personal commitment to influence the lives of children by stressing the importance of education, fitness and health.