- Rest - Take 2 to 4 weeks off after the season to rest to avoid emotional and physical burnout.
- Create a plan and develop a workout.
1. Play in the parks with some buddies and find some “old man” leagues.
I’ve watched my fair share of basketball. The problem certainly is NOT whether there is enough structured game play. Actually, it is the problem. Kids today are being over coached. They are becoming robots rather than players.
Why aren’t there higher IQ and creative players like in the generations of Jerry West, Bird, Magic, and MJ? Where is the next Pistol Pete? Why aren’t there more players like Magic and Jason Williams (the point guard)?
Did they play dozens and dozens of structured tournament games during the offseason?
Since kids are constantly competing for playing time, they are missing out on self-discovery (the best teaching tool) and creativity learned by playing in the parks with peers and against adults.
They are not allowed to push their limits and fail and get better because failure leads to less playing time in the structured game environment.
Who is your kid going to learn more from? Playing against the top-ranked 15-year old or the 40 year old vet with “old man” game?
I can tell you who I would want my kid to learn more from, and it’s NOT the top-ranked 15-year old.
2. Use pick-up games as a tool to improve your game.
Set up rules for yourself when you play pick-up games to enhance your skill development.
For example, maybe you can only finish with your weak hand.
- Maybe you can only drive to your weak hand.
- Maybe you only shoot jumpers. No driving.
- Maybe you limit yourself to 2 dribbles every time you touch the ball.
3. Play USEFUL 1 on 1 games
Similar to pick up games, use 1 on 1 games that will help you improve in the 5 on 5 games. Taking 15 dribbles to back your defender down to get an open shot is not going to work during the game.
Do things like:
- 2 Dribble Limit or 5 Second Shot Clock
- All made or missed shot attempts; turnovers, etc. begin with a “check” at the top of the key.
- Sprint to the key to begin the next possession. Make conditioning part of the game.
4. Pick 1 aspect to improve each offseason
"I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick
10,000 times." - Bruce Lee
This means that if you try to improve everything at once, you’ll probably be mediocre at best in everything.
Pick one aspect each year and become great at it. Here are a few examples.
- Pull up jumper
- Extension finishing move
- A counter dribble move to your hesitation move. Maybe a crossover or behind the back.
- A counter to your drop step move - maybe a back pivot.
If you’re unsure about what to work on, ask multiple coaches, parents, and players. That way, if you hear the same thing over and over, you know what you probably need to practice.
5. Go to high-quality basketball camps that also teaches character development
It has almost become uncommon to focus on developing the character of young people in today’s WIN-NOW environment.
A high-quality camp should teach work ethic, skills, and the knowledge required to become a good basketball player. In addition to this, a high-quality camp should also instill the character traits that will help you succeed after your playing career.
Everybody has a career after playing. Make sure you are developing the traits that will help you succeed as an adult.