Category Archives: Skill Development

Simple and Effective Jump Rope Workout

Jump Rope WorkoutFew basketball related exercises are as simple or as effective as jumping rope.

When used correctly,  jumping rope can jump start your cardiovascular conditioning, strengthen your feet and ankles, and improve your foot speed, agility, and coordination.

Here is a simple but very effective jump rope workout.

Start with 30 seconds for each set and gradually increase the time up to a minute.

The goal is to jump continually throughout the entire set without any “misses.”

    1. Jump on 2 feet
    2. Jump on 2 feet while moving side to side
    3. Jump on 2 feet while moving forward and backward
    4. Staggered jumps off 1 foot. Right, left, right, left, etc.
    5. X jumps with feet shoulder width apart. Cross right over left and then left over right
    6. Jump twice on your right foot and then twice on your left foot. Keep repeating
    7. Heel/Toe. Jump off the heel of one foot and the toe of the other foot

If you are really serious about your conditioning and want to make your workouts more intense and experience even better results, consider using a Heavy Rope.

Maya Moore Form Shooting Drill

 Form ShootingLast Sunday Maya Moore was named tournament MVP for her role in leading the United States to the Gold Medal in the 2014 FIBA World Championship in Istanbul, Turkey.

Her 16 points in the first half, including four three pointers, helped give the USA a 19 point lead at halftime and they never looked back while cruising to a 13 point win over Spain.

Below is the Maya Moore Form Shooting Drill that was taught in the Nike Skills Academy.

Do 50 reps of each shot.

1. Mirror shots – execute perfect form

2. Self shots – shoot the ball to yourself and freeze each finish
3. Knee shots – knees on the floor, keep your back straight and shoot to the rim

4. Chair shots – sit on the end of a chair, jump out of the chair right into your jump shot

5. Form shots – make 10 swishes while executing perfect game form from 5 different spots in the lane

Concentrate on each and every repetition and do not let your mind wander while shooting. Since there is no defense and you are shooting at your own pace there is no reason why every rep shouldn’t be perfect.

Concord Storm Pivot Instruction

Concord StormHigh school tryouts and practices will be here before you know it. How are you getting ready?

Are you working on your behind the back, between the leg, roll down your arm, figure eights or are you working on basic fundamental skills that will actually impress your coach and improve your game?

Here’s some info on pivoting from a Concord Storm handout.

Pivoting requires you to keep one foot firmly planted on the ground while you turn or spin your body around on the ball of your pivot foot. (This stationary foot is called your pivot foot.) Pivoting can be done with or without the ball. In order to pivot properly follow these five simple rules.
1. Keep your “fundamental basketball position” with your knees flexed and feet shoulder’s width apart or wider.

2. Pivots should be made on the ball of your foot; therefore lift up the heel of your pivot foot. If you pivot on your heel you will lose your balance.

3. You can make a full pivot, a half pivot, and even a quarter turn pivot. Regardless of which one you use keep your body low and feet spread wide.

4. Pivots are made in one of two directions:  A front pivot is made when your chest moves around your pivot foot. This is usually a good way to square up to the basket. A reverse or rear pivot is made by leading with your rear end.

5. You should practice pivots on both your right and left feet. Front right, reverse right, front left, reverse left. This will prepare you for all possible game situations.

6 Qualities of Great Bigs

Great Bigs1. Great bigs score the ball when they get paint touches and can find and hit open teammates when they are double teamed.

2. Great bigs run with purpose and get easy transition scores. They open up lanes and take away help defenders because they beat the ball down the floor.

3. Great bigs don’t accept bad positioning in the post. They get to their “couch” (desired position) then continuously fight for great position.

4. Great bigs don’t just sprint to screen but they also set a good, hard screen. They want to free their teammates up and create a defensive breakdown.

5. Great bigs not only block shots but make their opponents miss shots because they fear getting rejected. They are shot blockers and shot changers.

6. Great bigs get rebounds out of their area – not just the ones that bounce to them. They crash the glass with purpose and have an “I need the ball” mentality.

The above concepts were taken from a series of tweets on the Pure Sweat twitter timeline.

Want to Get Better? Just Ask!

Ask QuestionsOne of the best things about being a basketball player today is that there are so many other great players all around us. And I’m not just talking about the NBA either. There are great high school players, great junior college players, great four year college players, and great international players.

This means that if you are a serious player then you are literally surrounded by others who are actually doing all of the things that you want to do!

Do you want to be a more accurate shooter? Develop an ankle breaking crossover? Dominate the low block? Master the pick and roll? Then chances are there are other players relatively close by who are doing the exact same thing and who can clue you in on how you can do it too.

After all, if a particular skill, technique, or practice routine has worked for them then the odds are really high that it will work for you too. All you have to do is write, email, or call and ask for help and then read, listen or watch.

I know what you’re thinking – if it’s that simple then why isn’t everyone doing it? Well, for several reasons:

Simple doesn’t mean easy. It takes some effort to ask for help and even more effort to follow through and apply the answers. The “secrets” to success are usually disguised as hard work and for many players it is easier to say “I didn’t know,” instead of admitting “It was too hard.” Doing the difficult and doing it well is what separates the good from the great.

Most don’t think about it. None of our teammates are asking other players for help or advice. Our older brothers and sisters didn’t do it when they played and we never hear or read about any famous players reaching out to their peers so it never crosses our mind. However, just because you’re not aware of it doesn’t mean it’s not happening!

Fear of rejection. Author and motivational speaker once asked a group of 300 salespeople who knew the names of the company’s top 5 sales leaders. All 300 people raised their hands. Then Canfield asked how many of those in attendance had contacted one of those top 5 salespeople and asked for help. Not a single hand went up!

We’re afraid someone might say “No” when we ask for their help and so we simply don’t ask. Although NBA players are often more difficult to reach I’ve never heard of a college or high school player who wasn’t willing to help out another player.

It’s inconvenient. We might have to write a letter, make a couple phone calls, or track someone down using social media. Then we might have to drive to their high school or college in order to meet with them or to watch them work out. Sometimes it seems like its more trouble than it’s worth (even though it’s not) and so we talk ourselves out of it.

Let’s be honest – it’s easier to communicate today than it’s ever been before. Great players can be found in minutes not hours, workouts can be texted or snapped, and specific drills and techniques can be filmed and shared with smart phones and tablets. It doesn’t make any sense to ignore all of these opportunities and resources when they can help take our games to another level. Plus an added bonus is that reaching out will not only help us become better players but will most likely help us meet some new friends as well. If asking for help can make you life better both on and off the court, what are you waiting for? Ask!

6 Qualities of Great Point Guards

Great Point Guards1. Never get sped up and are always under control physically and mentally. They play with emotion and don’t let emotion play with them.

2. Set the tone on defense. They pressure without fouling, harass the ball handler without getting beat, and disrupt their opponent’s rhythm.

3. Make good players great and average players good. They get the ball to their teammates in spots where they know they will be successful.

4. Have their team under control and control the game’s tempo. They play at their pace and understand when to push and when to slow down.

5. Get in the lane and make the right play whether that’s scoring or creating a look for a teammate. The right play is better than the flashy play.

6. Extend outlets and create advantages in open floor situations before they get the ball. They get as far as the defense allows them then they find the gap and make plays.

The above concepts were taken from a series of tweets on the Pure Sweat twitter timeline.

Frandsen Skill Development Workout

Frandsen WorkoutIn our last post we listed Casey Frandsen’s three step skill development plan. Today we have one of his actual workouts.

Frandsen, who was a two time Washington State Player of the Year in high school and went to be a 1st Team All WCC performer at the University of Portland, now runs Next Step Basketball.

Warm Up

1. Form Shots from under basket: Middle, right side, left side.
Keys: Nothing but net
Make 20, no rim, each spot

2. Mikans
Keys: Make 20 of each
Keep the ball high
Jump off of inside foot

3. Game speed layups
Keys: Make 10 right handed and 10 left handed
Spin out, catch on wing, rip through baseline
Individual one-on-one moves, shooting workout

Game Speed

1. Dribble Moves (make 5 jump shots after each move)
Key: As you approach the chair, break down and stutter step before you make
your move. Stay on balance.
– Cross over
– Behind the back
– Between the legs
– Inside out dribble
– Inside out cross

2. Make 10 Free Throws

3. Low Post Moves
Keys: Focus on your foot work, wide base, knees bent, make yourself big.
Guards need to be able to play on the post too in order to take advantage of size
and strength mismatches and make the defense adjust.
– Drop step baseline
– Drop step middle
– Drop step middle, lift fake, step through
– Catch face up, jump shot
– Catch face up, lift fake drive
– Catch face up, jab step drive

4. Make 10 Free Throws

5. One-on-one catch, pivot, and jab step moves
Keys: Use feet, eyes, and ball to sell every fake to the defense (lift fake, jab step,
pass fake).
– Lift fake, drive
– Lift fake, crossover step
– Jab, crossover step
– Lift fake, jab, crossover step
– Jab, lift fake, drive
– Jab, lift fake, crossover step

6. Make 10 Free Throws

7. Shooting
Keys: Catch ready to shoot. Shoot shots in your range at game speed.
-Five spot shooting (left baseline, left wing, middle, right wing, right
baseline) make 20 at each spot

8. Shoot 10 Pressure 1-and-1’s
– Miss the first, run set of lines
– Miss second run down and back
– Make both, move on to the next 1-and-1

3 Step Skill Development Plan

FrandsenThe following skill development plan comes from former D1 star Casey Frandsen who is the founder of Next Step Basketball.

  1.  Diagnose your game (Evaluate what you bring to the table)
  •  Strengths – Make a list of your strengths, the areas that you excel and things you do that help your team the most.
  • Weaknesses – Make a list of your weaknesses, the areas you most need to improve in order to help your team as much as possible.
  • Goals – Make a list of goals that you hope to achieve. Goals can take any form. They can be in-game statistical goals like points per game average or shooting percentage, or they can be practice goals for shooting and ball handling drills.

2.  Write a prescription (Design a workout/workouts)

  • Design workouts – Workouts should help develop your skills and reach your goals by perfecting your strengths and improving your weaknesses. You can design a workout yourself or ask for help from a coach, parent, trainer, etc…
  • Design workouts for how you work out – Be as efficient as possible, whether you work out alone, or you have a partner, rebounder, and/or passer.
  • Incorporate game situations – Shoot shots you will get in a game. For example, if your team runs flex, make sure you incorporate elbow jumpers off a flex down screen.
  • Design workouts to be successful – You don’t improve with repetition, you improve with successful repetition. For example, in shooting drills instead of shooting 20 shots, make 15 shots.

3.  Administer treatment (Go to work)

  • Game speed – To be able to execute at game speed, you need to practice at game speed.
  • Don’t go to the gym to shoot around, go to the gym to GO TO WORK.

Improve Your Passing on the Fast Break

Fastbreak PassOne of the long time fundamentals that has been taught for decades is to always dribble with your right hand on the right side of the court and with your left hand on the left side of the court.

Most of the time that is still rock solid advice but it’s not the best way to execute a 2 on 1 fast break.

Instead, try working on dribbling with your inside hand in those 2 on 1 situations. The first thing you’ll notice is that it creates a much better passing angle.

Those who dribble with their outside hands often have to pass the ball through the lone defender or if they are skilled enough use a behind the back pass to get the ball to their teammate.

NBA players often lob the ball over the defenders head for a dunk but that’s not going to happen at most lower levels.

Secondly, with the ball already in your inside hand it becomes much easier to fake the quick pass and then finish off the break yourself.

The next few times you have the ball on a 2 on 1 fast break dribble with your inside hand regardless of which side of the floor you are on.

Chances are that you’ll see a big difference right away and won’t ever return to the old way of attacking.

Mike Lee’s Killer Scoring Workout

  1. Scoring WorkoutChoose a series of moves (change of direction, baseline, transition, bounce back, on the
  2. Execute 5 shots of each move without missing two shots in a row. If you miss two shots in a row then start the sequence over.
  3. Make 4 free throws
  4. Go to the next move in the series and repeat the sequence

Mike suggests using the following tips to make your work out even better:

  1. Workout to upbeat and motivational music
  2. Practice to “beat the best.”
  3. Keep workouts short and intense
  4. Write down your workout in a notebook before you begin
  5. Keep track of your workouts and constantly review them to see your progress