Off Season Training

Individual Practice

“If it’s going to be. . . It’s up to me.” – George Raveling

| Self-Evaluation | Goals | Do It Yourself | Fundamentals | Half Court Games |

From October to April, teams are made. From April to October, individual players are made. This is the time of the year that players must develop and improve their individual basketball skills and techniques along with their physical attributes.

During the off season players must improve to be successful. “You can’t play next year’s games with this year’s press clippings.” It is the time when players need to improve their individual offensive and defensive playing skills as well as recovering mentally, as well as physically, after a long season.


Identify your weaknesses and make them your strengths.

To be successful, however, while things are fresh in their minds, players must first take the time to do a self‐evaluation. They should compile a list of the things they did well this past season, along with a list of skills they must or could improve. Then use this information to set personal goals and objectives for their off season improvement. Emphasis should be on those skills and techniques that will make them a more solid, stronger, aggressive and intelligent player. This self‐evaluation will lay the foundation for planning and executing their off season skill development and workouts.

Achieving Goals

Caution: setting goals, like potential energy, is useless until action is taken to implement and achieve them.

Success is not by chance or luck. Successful people have learned the value of setting specific goals and focusing their efforts toward achieving them. “Goals are the bridges that allow you to cross from DREAMS to REALITY.” A player “without goals is like a ship without a rudder.” Goals are what give direction to physical and mental training and improvement. They are the basis of self-motivation and the foundation of all achievements. However, goals must be personal. Something that players, personally, want and have a strong desire to pursue and achieve. It is because of this intense, personal desire to reach goals that will push them through adversity to success.

High expectations can only lead to big disappointments. High ambitions, on the other hand, never get disappointed and are a root of all success. Players must stay ambitious, making every day the best it can be. One day at a time. The best and most productive place to be is in the present. Too much time thinking about the past causes regret. Too much thinking about the future causes worry.

Accomplishing goals and making dreams come through is incredibly satisfying. However, it is the journey, not the destination, that is the most important and rewarding part of dreams. Players must never stop improving and making it a goal to get better each and every day in some small way. Daily improvements eventually add up to huge gains. They should always keep moving forward setting new goals and dreaming new dreams. Players may never reach their ultimate, long term dream. However, this is irrelevant. The important thing is that they will become like their dreams.

Learn More  Dreams & Goals

Do It Yourself Program

Players must take their own initiative and responsibility when it comes to improving their basketball skills. To be successful, they do not need to depend on coaches, parents or personal trainers. In fact, individual improvement is an entirely individual effort. Players must be self-motivated and rely entirely on themselves. 

Baba Watson's recent winning of the Masters' Golf Tournament is a prime example of self motivation and development. He won the most prestigious professional tournament in golf without ever taking a golf lesson. He has learned and perfected the game of golf on his own initiative.

Basketball is like a savings account at a bank. What you put into it, is exactly what you will get out of it. Players must prepare for the best. They should work individually on the things they need to improve, not just their strengths. Individual improvement is not all fun and games. Much of off season skill development is repetitive, monotonous and tedious, and bad habits can be practiced as well as good.

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Mastering the Fundamentals

"Sound Fundamentals are the first principles in winning basketball." - Pete Newell

To create sound habits of play, basketball players must possess a thorough working knowledge of the fundamentals of the game, not just a general understanding of them, but a complete mastery of their details.  Sound individual fundamentals are synonymous with sound habits of team play. There is only one way to develop these sound habits, and that is through rigorous, repetitive work in daily practice sessions.

Basketball players should first attempt to learn how to handle themselves before they learn how to handle the ball properly. When the body control phase of basketball is learned, the participants can more readily master the other fundamentals of offensive play. Sound body balance is related to every phase of basketball. Proper body balance demands an equal distribution of weight. To be effective players must establish a low base of operation with the knees must be flexed or bent with the center of weight carried on an imaginary line through the hips. The feet should be comfortably spread. The positions of the arms and hands are up.

Learn More  Importance of Having Hands Up


Offensive Fundamentals

Various elements of basketball play are associated with offensive fundamentals. They can be listed in three main categories: Body Control, Ball-Handling, and Shooting. Important basic offensive fundaments include:

Learn More  Offensive Skills Development


Defensive Fundamentals

In addition to body balance and control, basic defensive fundamentals include:

Learn More  Defensive Skills Development

There is much to learn in basketball, offensively and defensively, as individual players and as part of a team. Practice, repetitious practice, is the only answer. There are no short cuts!

Half Court Games

Players should organize and play a lot of 3-on-3 half court games during the off season. Since 3-on-3 provides for much more shooting, passing, rebounding, screening, and defensive repetitions, it is by far, the most efficient and effective use of their time in practicing and improving their fundamental skills. In addition, after a long, hard season, 3-on-3 saves additional wear and tear of players legs. Playing full court only reinforces current abilities. It also will help eliminate burn-out that comes with playing full court games year around.

Learn More  Importance of Playing 3-on-3