6 Things Great Players Do All Year Long
One of the easiest and commonly known ways to separate yourself during the season is by maximizing your practice time. There are also ways to gain an edge outside of practice and workouts that great players take advantage of as well.
Talent level, accessibility to gym time, and training available to players has steadily increased year by year. With this comes more competition. It's always important to train as effectively and hard as possible in practice. In order to become great, players must completely dedicate themselves outside of basketball as well. Below we'll breakdown 6 things that great players usually fin themselves doing outside of their regularly scheduled practices.
6 Things Great Players Do All Year Long
1. Health Eating
This is something that is often overlooked especially by younger players but is incredibly important to staying healthy and playing at peak performance. Every player and coach is looking for ways to gain an edge at their craft. Specifically for athletes, one of the easiest ways is by being cognizant of what they're putting into their bodies. We've all spent the weekends stuffing our faces with hot dogs, pizza, soda and sugary sports drinks while playing 3 back to back games. How many of us have actually tried to eat fruits and vegetables, while hydrating with water? When you have a healthy diet, everything in life seems to be easier - especially on the court. Your mind is sharper, you have more endurance, and you actually enjoy working out.
Much like shooting form, there isn't one specific diet that is recommended for every basketball player to adopt. Rather, the best athletes in the world have different diets, but in general they all eat clean, stay hydrated, and rest their bodies with sleep and ice.
2. Proper Sleep
Much like eating healthy, getting proper sleep is something successful people in general are great at doing on a consistent basis. This can vary between players but in general at least 7 hours of sleep every night is great to shoot for. This will allow your body to rest, heal an be ready for the next day of activities. Getting sleep is often much easier said than done and often depends on developing soli habits. While it can be addicting to spend time on the phone, watching TV, or playing video games before bed, those habits often are detrimental to your growth and development.
When you exercise and eat healthy, oftentimes sleep becomes much easier an more natural, as you depend the positive habit. By having a consistent routine an putting the phone away at night, it becomes easier to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep throughout the night. In turn, players often feel better and play better.
3. Warmup, Stretch and Recover
This is something that players of all ages often skip. It's easy for players to put their shoes on and immediately start playing, shooting or working out. It's a dangerous habit to get into and can often lead to injuries an ailments throughout the season. Having a warm-up routine is beneficial to warm up the soft tissue an fascia, as well as get the flood flowing in the muscles, joints and stabilizers.
Much like proper sleep, it comes down to having a routine. Proper stretching before and after practice can do wonders to a player's body, and help them perform better.
Lastly, allowing the boy to properly recover is extremely important. Coaches constantly preach hard work, working harder, etc. However, it is essential to work hard, but also allow time for your body to recover through proper rest, ice, nutrition and hydration. Nothing is more detrimental to a player's season than pulling a hip flexor every single practice and never seeing the court because of overuse, an lack of recovery.
4. Study the Game
This is a great thing to do when you're body is recovering. YouTube, an the internet makes it ever easier for athletes today to study the game by watching high school games, or college games.
The simplest way to study the game is by watching as much as possible on multiple levels. If a player is a point guard, they should watch the best point guards in high school and college, to find out what makes them so great.
How do they attack a pick and roll? What's their go-to move? How do they fin their teammates? How can you, as a player, incorporate those tendencies into your game? These are questions you should ask yourself as a player.
Other than watching the game, there are tons of resources on the internet to read and watch. Taking a little nugget from a tweet and another from a blog post, can help take your game to the next level. Just make sure to think critically and do your best to be aware of what is good information and what is not.
5. Get Up Extra Shots
Especially during the season, it's easy to overlook getting up extra shots. Be careful not to overlook getting up shots before school, after school, before practice an after practice. It's a great idea to keep building muscle memory, especially during the season. Early in the season, you're conditioning your body to play the game at a fast pace, from end to end, change of direction over the course of 32 minutes. Your body is making changes to adjust to that type of conditioning, and your routine from the summer of stand-still shooting just isn't going to cut it. You need to build muscle memory while you're body is adjusting and becoming acclimate to this type of in-practice conditioning.
Many times, players think that practice is "good enough" to keep their shot fresh. In most practices, players don't shoot very many shots, as they're focused on the team strategy. Between offensive and defensive concepts, fine tuning plays and scouting opponents, and special situations, they're just isn't' enough time to put up a large volume of shots.
Once again, it is very important to develop positive habits, and a routine as it can make a huge impact on your game. Getting in an extra 50 makes per day can go a long way, they can be form shooting, squaring up and footwork shots, free throws or three pointers. If you're treating your body right, you may be able to work on 1-on-1 scoring moves.
6. Work Relentlessly on Ball Handling
Much like getting up extra shots, too many players often neglect their ball handling. Ball handling is a universal movement, and very few coaches teach this concept. The extension of the shoulder, elbow and wrist to execute a pound dribble or crossover is the same as executive a jump shot. Think about it. You're pushing the ball in the floor with force on a pound dribble, and following through with your finger tips. You're doing the same exact movement when you're delivering a pass to an open player. You're doing the exact same movement when you're taking an open shot.
We aren't recommending intense 60 minute ball handling workouts - although you're more than welcome to do those an advance your game into the stratosphere. We're talking about doing 10-15 minutes each day of ball handling. We have a 5 minute challenge, the Rising Stars 500 that you can do every single day.
Getting familiar with the ball in your hands in the goal. Late game situations, the players with the best ball handling abilities tend to be in the game. Against teams that press, the players with the best ball handling abilities tend to be in the game. When it's tough to get a basket, the players that can utilize their ball handling skills to make things happen, tend to get extra minutes to make things happen.
If players can do these 5 things on a daily basis, progress and improvement will undoubtedly happen for them. Basketball practices are great forums for learning an refining skills, but great players understand that in order to be great they have to do extra. Ultimately, it's about building an sustaining healthy habits throughout the entire year that will en up showing on the court.
Rising Stars Basketball