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Top 5 Basketball Drills to Improve Overall Performance

One of the most thrilling games in existence, basketball requires five active bodies moving in sync on the court. Personal style must be balanced with proper technique. Too much showmanship must be curtailed by getting "back to basics." Most importantly, athletic ability will crumble without mental preparation. How can you perfect the total package? We have compiled a list of our favorite basketball drills. In our experience, mastering these drills will improve your overall basketball performance.

Drill #1: Mental Training

When a basketball player improves their mindfulness, awareness, and focus their intensity and performance drastically and rapidly improves. This can be accomplished in as little as 10 minutes before each workout or game. 

  • Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight and shoulders back.
  • Close your eyes and allow distractions to fade away.
  • Focus your attention to your natural breath.
  • Listen to an audio training, like the one found here.
  • If your mind wanders, focus on your breath again.

Calming mental noise and training your breathing allows for heightened physical performance. 

Drill #2: Stretching

Basketball Stretching to Improve Overall Performance

Stretching enhances flexibility and improves joint range of motion, allowing for peak performance on the court. Additionally, regular stretching increases blood flow to muscles and helps prevent injuries. Many athletes neglect the importance of stretching and rush through it. Athletes that take time to properly stretch position themselves for success. Prioritize the following stretches:

  • Calf and Achilles Stretch
  • Groin and Adductor Stretch
  • Hip Flexors and Quads
  • Hamstring

Spine rotation stretches are also important facilitate driving to the basket and quickly changing directions. If you experience an injury, take additional time to stretch the affected area. 

Drill #3: Defender Dribbling

Practicing dribbling builds great muscle memory, but nothing compares to a defender actually trying to steal the ball. Pair up with a partner and ask them to guard you closely and then vary their distance. This forces you to practice using your body to protect the ball, anticipate a defender's movements, and maintain your calm even when faced with contact. 

Drill #4: Shooting Drills with The Realistick

Drills to Improve Basketball Performance

Whether you are working an individual or team drill, The Realistick is a great tool to push you as a player. The padded, 4 foot defender stick extends to challenge players with shooting. Shooting drills with The Realistick simulate game-like conditions and encourage strong shooting. 

Drill #5: Visualization

A useful training method that can be practiced anywhere is visualization. Take time each day to mentally put yourself in a game situation and then visualize the ideal scenario. Think about every detail of what happens, down to the buzzer sounding as the ball swishes through the hoop. If you need help learning how to visualize, imagery tools can help.

Being on the court is imperative to become a strong basketball player, but there are other drills, both mental and physical, that help to build overall basketball skills.