Top 5 Mistakes Basketball Players Make When They Workout - by Paris Davis

From the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook
Paris Davis is the lead instructor for One Up Basketball, an online training program that helps young athletes improve their skills and athleticism.


It is common knowledge that basketball workouts are crucial to player development and improvement. This is indisputable. Most workouts are going to help players develop to some degree. But if players want to get the most bang for their buck while doing a workout, there are a lot of pitfalls that they must avoid.

Over my years of training athletes and being in the gym I've seen THOUSANDS of workouts by players. I've witnessed lots of mistakes players make when doing a workout. These mistakes are holding these players back from reaching their potential.

These are the top 5 mistakes I see players making while doing a workout.

1. Not Having A Workout Plan

The number one mistake I see players make ALL OF THE TIME is not having a workout plan. I see players in the gym shooting, and then getting on their phone for a while, and then shooting again (same shots they were taking the first time) and then get on their phone again...well you get the idea. They have NO PLAN. They are wasting their time and will see minimal improvement compared to players who come to the gym with a well designed workout.

It is not about the amount of time spent in the gym, but the quality of the time spent in the gym.

2. Not Training At Game Speed

One of the BIGGEST mistakes players make when doing a workout is not going at game speed. Players will go through ball handling drills, shooting drills etc. with 50-75% effort. This would be great if games were played at the 50-75% level. But this is obviously not what happens in games.

Players are getting very little benefit if they are not going at game speed during the workout. They actually are probably doing more harm than good since they are forming the bad habits of not going at game speeds.

Players who do a workout HARD for 15 minutes will get more benefit than players who do drills ½ speed for 60 minutes! The more players can go game speed during their workout, the more quickly they will see a benefit to their performance during games.

shooting workout

3. Not Tracking Your Progress In Workouts

How do players know they are making progress during their workouts? It should be easy. Players need to track their workouts. This doesn't simply mean to check off that they did workouts Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. It means documenting specifics about the workout.

Not only should players keep track of the number of shots taken, but they should document how many makes and misses they have during each drill. Having this physical documentation will provide the player with motivation moving forward and will show them that their hard work is paying off.

As players progress tracking their progress, they may even start to document HOW they missed the shot (right, left, short, long). This will allow them to analyze their shot and begin fixing their misses and their game will improve more quickly.

4. Not Setting Goals

Players need to set goals during their workouts and they should be adjusting them once they reach these goals. The more specific and realistic the goals, the better. Goals should not simply be how many times they will get to the gym each week. While this may be one of the goals, the more specific the goals the better. Goals should also focus on the length of the workout and the number of shots or makes during a workout.

Players should be realistic with their goals and make them attainable. As they progress, the goals should be adjusted as well.

5. Not Diversifying Their Skill Portfolio

All players have a portfolio of skills they bring to the court. The more players can diversify these skills, the more valuable they are on the court. They also will make themselves harder to guard and more valuable to the team.

Players can't go to the gym and only do ball handling without working on shooting. They don't want to be an amazing ball handler that no one has to guard because they can't shoot. Likewise players don't want to go to the gym, take 400 catch and shoot jump shots and go home. Even if they become great at catch and shoot jump shots, they will become one dimensional and therefore easy to guard.

The workout must incorporate a wide variety of skills, from ball handling to finishing moves to pull up jumps to catch and shoot and more. Too many workouts focus on one or two skills. Players need variety in their workout to become great all-around players with a very diversified skill portfolio.


  Copyright © 2001 - 2021, James A. Gels, all rights reserved.

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