Those who know me, know that I’m all about making efficient use of your time when it comes getting the most out of your game. Afterall, reaching your potential takes a lot more than countless hours of 5-on-5 pickups games. It takes individual skill work, and time spent in the weight room to improve your strength and reduce your chance of injury. The video below is an abbreviated version of what I did (and still do) each and every time I went to the the gym to work on my game. (or before the others players got to the court before we played against one-another)
A Few Extra Minutes Really Add Up
As I mentioned in the first video, I always get to the court a few minutes early to get my dribbling in. It helps me become one with the ball, so to speak. My goal is to make the ball feel like it is on a string. Sometimes this takes 3-4 minutes, sometimes it takes about 10 minutes. All I know, is that it greatly helped me improve my dribbling skills. Most of my friends would show up and shoot deep 3-pointers, or mess around and throw up a few half court shots before it was time to start the game. I would take these 3-10 minutes very seriously, and work on the handles. These extra ~5 minutes added up to be a TON of extra time over the years.
Method to the Madness
My template is as follows;
-Stationary dribbling first
-”Semi-Stationary” is next – this is the verbiage that I use with my clients. If you can think of anything cooler, or more appropiate than “semi-stationary,” let me know.
-Full speed dribbling – either moves up and down the court, or moves to the basket.
Most coaches out there that watched me play over years really appreciated how my dribbling skills helped make me, and my teammates better. But I’ve come across a few coaches that thought that this kind of “dribbling warm-up” was unnecessary. And guess what? I couldn’t DISAGREE more! Obviously I’m not suggesting that anyone should check into a game and start performing little quick between the leg moves, or “combo” moves with no one guarding them. “But the moves from your video are not specific to the way you are going to dribble in a game.” So. I don’t hear anyone say anything negative about baseball players that warm-up with a little “pepper” before practice. What about putting a bar on your back and performing squats in the weight room? I don’t remember the last time that happened on a basketball court. The point is that ALL sports use “non-specific” drills to help improve the athlete’s game. In the case of “my” warm-up, I do this to improve my ability to control the ball, and to improve my quickness with the ball in my hand – to help me to better create space off the dribble, or protect the ball from an opponent. When it comes to game time, we should only use the move necessary to get the job done, nothing more. Sometimes that calls for the simplest of moves, and other times it requires a more advanced, fancy move. I can say without a doubt, that my pre game (pre workout) warm-up routine played a HUGE role in any success that I had.
Getting to the gym a few minutes early to work on your game can make a big difference in the long run. When it comes to improving your ball-handling, start at your own level and progressively incease the speed and difficulty over time.