Basketball is a great way to keep physically active at home or in the park during this latest lockdown. With team sports suspended, five of the biggest stars in British basketball – Justin Robinson, Joe Ikhinmwin, DeAndre Liggins, Kevin Ware and Dirk Williams – who play for the London Lions share some easy exercises to master in your backyard or on your nearest stretch of concrete. Whether you’ve got kids bouncing off the walls at home or you simply want to hone your game, these are the drills for you:
The proper shooting technique involves the shooter focusing on their stance, how they hold the ball, aiming the ball, releasing the ball, and then following through. Bending your knees and elbow to shoot the ball are important as well as aiming at the back at the ring. The arm should extend as you release the ball with the follow through to be smooth and then held for a short time. Once comfortable with shooting the ball, consistency in hitting shots can be developed through these simple basketball drills at home:
Shooting from the free throw line is a great way to make that shot form consistent and to then build confidence in making shots. See how many goals you can make out of 20 and work to improve on that the next time round. The free throw line distance is about 15 feet from the backboard which is used in games once kids reach the age group of under 10/12. Ensure your child does not step over the free throw line until the ball has hit the ring as that’s a rule in the game!
Around the world
This drill involves making your way around set spots on the outside of the key with each shot they make. Start at one side until you make your way all around and back down to the other side of the key. If there is no key at the local park, a similar drill can be done but by taking a step outward with each shot they make. Once you reach approximately 15 feet from the ring, direct their steps towards the other side of the ring to eventually take steps back down towards the ring.
Dribbling in basketball is used to advance the ball up the court, take on the defence to get to the ring and to get away from opponents into free space. When undergoing these drills, you need to focus on pushing the ball towards the floor with force and then being able to control it through spread fingertips. The ball should stay at hip height or below and your focus needs to be up and forward, not on the ball. Simple basketball drills to practice dribbling at home include:
Weak hand dribbling
Dribbling on the spot with the opposite hand, to then dribbling with the opposite hand whilst moving. It’s important to emphasise that you keep your head up and eyes straight. Also, raising the opposite arm whilst dribbling should be encouraged as it will build good habits in protecting the ball from the defender.
Straight Line Dribbling
Walking and dribbling the ball through each leg and behind the back. Starting by making three dribbles with the one hand and then switching it to the other hand. Through the legs, behind the back whilst dribbling is also a great way to practice coordination. As you master the drill, you can do two dribbles and switch, one dribble and switch, and then constant switching.
Setting up cones (or similar) in a line advances straight line dribbling. Enhance your dribbling ability by dribbling fast and in between cones whilst making crossovers or through the leg’s dribbles. Make faster decisions and quicker moves by shortening gaps in between the cones. With practice, your dribbling will become more controlled. If you become too good at this, try to do it back when returning through the cones as well.
Passing the basketball is a great way to improve your passing skills and reflexes and this can be done with a partner or up against a wall. When passing, you need to focus on spreading your fingers to improve ball control and ‘snapping’ the wrist to pass the ball quickly. Having a wide athletic stance to pass the ball with control and power. It is key to remember that your feet should be shoulder width apart; knees, hips and back bent. Use widespread fingers and outstretched arms to catch the ball too. These three simple basketball drills can be used straight after one another for a great passing workout:
Overhead wall pass
Hold the ball above your head. Then throw it with both hands and catch it above your head with both hands. Repeat this process at approximately two metres away from the wall. Keep knees bent and aim to throw 20-30 passes. This is great for building strength through the arms and shoulders, making passing easier.
One hand wall pass
This drill is similar to the Overhead Wall Pass, however, get your child to focus on using just one hand. Remember to keep the ball up high, but this time around shoulder height. When using the right hand, the right foot should go forward and vice versa for the left side. Spread those fingers and extend the arm with each pass. Repeat 20 times with each hand.
One hand alternating wall pass
This is the hardest of the three simple basketball drills for passing and it requires very good hand-eye coordination. Start with both feet back in line and spread apart to shoulder width. Now, throw the ball back and forth off the wall alternating each hand. Keep the ball above head height and keep hands up high for the entire drill. Watch the ball as it comes back into each hand with bent knees. Get those arms working a try for a total of 20 passes!