Basketball for Beginners

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Most Winning “Must Know Basketball Drills” for Beginner Ballers

So you want to become a ‘baller’, eh?

You have some skills in running, jumping and shooting the ball, but you want to improve your all-around game on the court. To become a better basketball player, you will need a training program to increase and improve your shot game, your dribbling and your defensive work. On top of that, you will need to constantly build your stamina and endurance level.

There are drills that you can follow and implement to enrich your game and become a better basketball player.

The first and most important part of becoming a better basketball player is knowing how to handle the basketball on the court.

Let us consider a simple drill to advance your bounce game on the hardwood.

Dribbling Skills:

Setup: Each player takes a basketball and then lines up on the baseline.

Process: The coach will order players to use different dribbling movements to dribble up to either the half-court line or across the full court.

Dribbling Styles To Consider:

  • Right hand up, left hand back
  • Crossovers
  • Behind-the-back
  • Through-the-legs
  • Dribble low
  • Dribbling backwards

Style of Movement While Dribbling:

  • Players should keep their heads up, with their eyes looking forward.
  • Players start by pushing off with their outside foot when making a move.
  • Players should bounce the ball in each hand while walking and running.
  • Players should try to bounce the ball through their legs while striding forward.
  • Players should dribble and shift the ball between their hands then and pass repeatedly once they reach the half court point.

The players should start all drills upon hearing a whistle blown by their coach and stop the drill upon the second doubled whistle being blown.

Passing Drill

Passing Process:

Partner passing helps players to learn the basics of passing. It allows players to practice different types of passes to improve their passing style, by applying a correct technique.

Style of Passing:

Players get into pairs and share one basketball.

Once players are paired up, they stand at length across from each other at three point shooting line, parallel to their partner.

Passing Style:

Players quickly pass the ball to each other pushing the ball outwards from their hip area, as quick pass.

  • Players send bounce pass to their partners.
  • Each type of pass should be repeated 40 times, by each player.
  • Players should also alternate the pass types to combine them into a passing routine.
  • Every minute or so the coach can change the type of pass the players are performing or increase the distance they are apart if it’s too easy.

Multiple Drills for Lunges

To ensure that you are able to move quickly, on your feet and to be able to shift from one side to the other, or to be able to turnabout easily.

Practice Application:

Before you begin any lunge variation on our list, go through this pre-workout checklist:

  • Prepare your body for movement through mobilization and a proper warmup
  • Drive through your heel(s) to maximally recruit your glutes
  • Keep hips aligned to protect any knee deviation
  • Brace your core to create abdominal pressure
  • Keep your head still throughout each exercise and transition

Start with 3 sets of 10 reps for each leg. Work towards 10 sets of 10 reps on a more advanced exercise, like the rear foot elevated lunge, while holding dumbbells in each hand.

1. Static Lunge

The static lunge may be your starting point to develop a good movement pattern. Working on the eccentric (lowering) phase of this exercise is very important, because you want to recruit as many muscle fibers as possible. The static lunge will challenge your balance and your hip flexibility.

How to do it: Take a split stance to lower yourself into the lunge. Ensure that both knees are bent at 90°. If your right leg is forward, then place most of the load through this foot. Keep it firm and flat against the floor, at all times. Your trailing left leg should be used to support and balance you, as you drive upwards through the heel of your right (forward) leg. Make sure to  stay on the balls of your feet as your left (trailing) leg comes back up.

2. Walking Lunges

The Walking Lunge is an effective variation, if you want to target your glutes and hamstrings. Walking lunges place huge demands on your cardiovascular system, because you are activating many primary muscles.

How to do it: Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on your hips. Step forward with your right leg, placing your foot down, as if you were setting up a static lunge, flexing your knees (90°), and dropping your hips. Lower your left knee toward the ground. Just before it makes contact with the floor, drive up and forward through your right leg, stepping into a lunge on your other side.

3. Reverse Lunge

The reverse lunge is a great alternative if you suffer from minor knee pain, intermittently.  Unlike conventional lunges, this lunge allows your knee joint to more favorably respond to hip flexion.

How to do it: The starting position is exactly the same as a walking lunge: Maintain a neutral spine, take a step backward — exactly the same width as you would, if you were moving forward in a walking lunge—with your right leg. Once your knee almost touches the floor, push back up and forward to your starting position. Try to maintain level hip alignment throughout. Keep your weight on your back leg. The big difference here is that you are using your front leg to stabilize your body.

4. Curtsy Lunge

The unique action of crossing over your legs is the most challenging part. This process putting emphasis on all three gluteal muscles (gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus)

How to do it:  Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Take a large step back with your right leg, crossing it behind your left leg. Your weight should be on your left foot, as you slowly bend your knees. Lower your body straight downwards. Your left front leg should remain parallel to the floor, with your abs held tightly, keeping your back straight up. Push back up to a strong starting position.

5. Rear Foot Elevated

Get ready to build hip strength and become more flexible.

How to do it: Place your right foot on a bench or step. Keep your toes pointed forward with your foot flexed. Focus pressure through the ball of your left foot and on the top of your right foot. Descend downwards, until your right knee nearly touches the floor, then lift yourself back up, through your left leg to the starting position. Make sure your back knee doesn’t collapse toward your body, and that your forward knee doesn’t slide past your toes.

6. Front Foot Elevated Lunge

This is the perfect exercise to prep you for a jump shot or to strengthen your knees to be better able to absorb your body, upon repeated swift landings. Be sure that you are employing the right muscles. Keeping your knees aligned, over your toes and make sure that your front heel stays in direct contact with the ground.

How to do it: Place your right foot in front of you on an aerobics step, or a 25kg Olympic lifting bumper plate. Keep this foot flat against the surface. Stay on the ball of your left foot, which will bear your weight. Hold your abs tightly and keep your back straight, all the while driving your front knee forward so that it passes over your toes. Let your left knee lower naturally, until it nearly touches the floor. Drive back up through your right leg.

7. Slider Lunge

The slider lunge challenges your body because it changes in range-of-motion; this becomes exceedingly more difficult when you add a weighted vest.

This great lunge variation is great for strengthening hip flexion and extension, and working on your body’s awareness and coordination. (Note: The slider lunge can be done using Valslides (plastic sliding workout discs), furniture or carpet sliders, or a paper plate if you’re on hardwood or tile floors.

How to do it: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Place the slider under your right foot and push back until your hip is fully stretched, with your knee is nearly touching the floor. While bracing your core, apply pressure into the slide and bring your leg back to the starting position. Your body is designed to move in all planes of motion. Get creative and move around in multidirectional angles.

8. Around-the-Clock Lunge

The around-the-clock lunge is a well-rounded, multi-directional exercise. It trains the lactate threshold of your quads and hamstrings. This is great for long-distance cyclists and runners. Your body is constantly moving, therefore your heart rate rises rapidly, as you try to hit every number “on the clock”. You are also placing your muscles under tension for a prolonged period of time.

How to do it: Imagine that you are standing in the middle of a clock, with the numbers 1 through 12 around the outside. Face forward so your chest points toward 12 o’clock; you are going to face noon for the entirety of the exercise to make sure that you are moving in a lateral plane of motion, each time you push back to the starting position. Your goal is to hit every clock number. Start with your right foot, using your left leg as a stabilizer. Lunge forward to 12, then forward and slightly right to 1, all the way until you’re stepping back to 6. Then, switch feet and finish the other numbers with your left foot.

9. Lunge and Reach

Build a rock-solid butt and strengthen your hamstrings and glutes, all at once, with a lunge and reach exercise. As your trunk leans forward, you are lengthening your glutes underneath, which requires your muscles to fire maximally to produce enough force to push you back to the starting point. If you suffer from lower-back pain, then this exercise could be a great lunge alternative. It takes pressure and weight off of your lumbar muscles. Your glutes, hamstrings, and quads are the primary movers.

How to do it: Lunge forward, starting with your right foot. At the same time, lean your trunk forward so your hands touch the floor on either side of your right foot. Keep your rear foot in the same position and explosively push back to the start position. Maintain equal balance before alternating to your other leg.

10. Reverse Lunge Step-up

Single-leg stability is a must if you play contact sports or if your sport involves quick directional changes; such as basketball. The reverse lunge step-up offers a platform to increase your range-of-motion. This enrichment is crucial, if you are trying to become more athletic, add muscle, run faster, or jump higher.

How to do it:  Stand on a step or box that’s roughly mid-shin height. Sink into a reverse lunge, with your right leg, keeping your ankles and knees aligned. As your right knee nears the floor, push through your left heel to drive back up onto the step.  Continue driving upwards, until your right knee is raised up to waist height. You will shift all your weight onto your left leg. This results in maximum glute activation.

11. Overhead Walking Lunge

This lunge variation will make you faster, stronger, and more flexible, while working all of your lower-body muscles andactivating muscles in your core, thoracic, shoulders, and upper and lower traps.

How to do it:  Take a weight (barbell, plate, kettlebell, or dumbbell. Hold the weight directly above your head, keeping your elbows in line with your ears and your arms completely locked out. Take a step forward with your right leg into a deep lunge, keeping your arms locked and elbows in line with your ears. Forcefully drive your forward heel into the ground, to assist in return to the start position. Continue on your opposite leg.

12. Jumping Lunge

Jumping lunge is perfectly suited for high-intensity interval training. This plyometric bodyweight conditioning exercise helps you gain balance, power, and speed.

How to do it:  Begin in a split-stance lunge position, brace your core, while keeping your upper body straight. Lunge down (starting with your right leg), so your knees are at 90°, then jump high in the air and swap leg positions, bringing your back left leg to the front. Go from one lunge jump to the next, without pausing. A weighted vest can add to your strength training and provide more resistance.

13. Windmill Lunge

Windmill lunge works ankle mobility and hip flexion / extension. The rotational element works on trunk stability. Whereas, the external rotation of your arms improves shoulder mobility and improves your range-of-motion. Shoulders are commonly very tight and short in men.

The Windmill lunge is most useful in increasing reach for basketball players and developing immediate ‘grounding’, upon being in a fast movement process, during running, blocking or ‘shooting the ball’.

How to do it:  Stand tall with a neutral spine, step forward with your right foot, and perform a typical lunge. Then take your left hand and touch the inside of your big toe. In doing so, take your right arm and externally rotate as far as your body allows, aiming for your right hand to point up toward the ceiling. You want the motion to be as seamless as possible, flowing from one side to the other.

To be a better basketball player you need to bounce better, pass faster and jump higher and land with ease. The exercises reviewed herein will assist any serious basketball player to become better and more capable on the court. You can enrich your game, if you maintain a regular exercise pattern that incorporates the noted drills. Be sure to consult a Medical Doctor and Personal Trainer before you begin any new training system or exercise.

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