Most sporting leagues, including most basketball leagues, only run for around half of the year. This means that, unless they are in a high league, most players have half of the year away from basketball. Although a lot of them play other sports during the basketball offseason, any extended period away from a sport is going to result in a loss of skills and fitness.
If you are a keen basketball player with visions of playing in a higher league in the future, then you need to make sure that you are doing some sort of offseason training. Simply handling a ball a few times per week bouncy castle can help you retain, and even improve your skills during the off season, putting you that little bit ahead of everyone else at the start of the next season.
Unfortunately, a lot of players don’t really know what they should be doing when it comes to offseason basketball training. This can lead to one of two things – inefficient training, or a lack of training altogether. Although it can be difficult to get started, the following top ten tips for offseason basketball training should help you get going:
- Stay fit:
Even if you do nothing else at all over the offseason, maintaining your fitness is essential. By all means, have a couple of weeks off at the end of each season and let yourself relax for a while. However, once those few weeks are up, you need to get straight back into training.
As is the case with most team sports, fitness is an essential part of basketball. Fitter players are able to move around the court easier and more efficiently, getting to the right places more often and having a bigger impact on games. Improving your fitness over the offseason will help get you started next season!
- Speak with your coach:
If you are already playing in a relatively high level team – even if it’s just your local A grade competition – then you should consider doing a season review with your coach. Speak to them about weaknesses in your game, and areas which you should improve on. As long as they are a half decent coach, they should be able to help you identify the things that you should focus on over the offseason to make yourself a more complete player.
- Do some gym work:
If you want to become a better basketballer, then you need to become stronger and faster. The offseason doesn’t come with the rigours of having to get up for a game every week, which means that you can train certain parts of your body harder. Many athletes choose to do a lot of gym work over their offseasons, putting on muscle and bulking up. Make sure that you do a complete program which works your entire body, rather than focusing on specific muscle groups.
- Stick to a good diet:
Unfortunately, it can be pretty easy to gain weight in all the wrong places if you start eating poorly and stop exercising at the end of a season. Maintaining a healthy diet is extremely important when it comes to staying fit over the offseason, and should be a focus of every athlete.
- Shoot, shoot, shoot!
If you want to improve your shooting and become a better allround basketballer, then you need to practice! The best way to do this is to put up a basketball ring at home somewhere. If you do this, then you will be able to get out and shoot a few hoops whenever you are feeling bored, energetic, or simply when you have a bit of time on your hands.
- Don’t be afraid to take a few days off here and there:
When it comes to offseason training, you should work hard, of course. However, you should also make sure that you give your body plenty of rest and recovery time. If you are consistently sore, then consider giving yourself a few days or a week off to make sure that you stay fresh and don’t get burnt out.
- Find a training buddy:
If you are someone who has trouble getting motivated to get out and train, then find a friend or teammate who will train with you. Having someone else there can help motivate you to get up in the mornings for those early sessions and to stay on the track when the going gets hard. Try it – it works!
- Work on your weaknesses:
Unless you are a very special player and a gifted athlete, you will have weaknesses and problems with your game. These can come in a range of forms, and include things like poor ball handling skills, poor shooting technique, or a lack of speed on the court.
If you are serious about improving your basketball game, then you need to identify and work on the things which are holding you back. At the start of the offseason, sit down and make a list of the things that you think you could be better at. Work on them every week, and watch yourself improve!
- Make sure that you keep your skills up!
There is no point getting super fit and toned if you lose all of your skills in the process. Sure, your offseason should be about fitness and conditioning, but you need to make sure that you keep practicing your simple skills as well. Wherever possible, try and play practice matches so that you don’t lose your touch.
- Get a personal trainer:
If you find yourself getting a bit stuck and feeling unsure about what you should be doing with yourself, then you should consider using a personal trainer. They will help motivate you, will be able to give you a personalised exercise plan, and will monitor and fine tune your progress over the offseason.
Offseason training can seem like a daunting prospect for a lot of people. However, it is absolutely essential if you want to improve your basketball game and become a better allround player. Sure, it will take some time and commitment, but it will be worth it by the time the next season comes around. Good luck!