Basketball Weight Training:
5 Areas to Focus On Off the Court

by Stephen Evans

Basketball is a sport that demands technical on court skills, tactical and mental acuity and athletic ability.  The greatest athletes aren’t just born with these qualities, they put in the sweat and train for the game of basketball.

Simply shooting 500 shots a day and focusing only on your technical skills isn’t enough to excel at the game of basketball.  Most high school players think they can get by with their natural ability and some technical skills.  That does happen for some players.  But to be a complete player, a dominant player and excel at the highest of levels, training your body is imperative.  That’s where basketball weight training, strength and conditioning and overall athletic development come in.

The problem: not only do players not train enough or correctly, when they do, they tend to focus all their energy on improving their on-court skills.  That’s better than nothing.  But it’s not enough to be a complete player who dominates all facets of the game.  Isn’t that our ultimate goal?

Putting in the time and sweat in the weight room (the right way) makes you stronger, quicker and more explosive, and that directly translate into on the court performance.

1. Strength

Getting stronger allows you take contact and finish when attacking the basket.  Hold your ground in the paint going for boards and handle bigger opponents on both ends of the floor.

2. Quickness

Being quicker helps you blow by your defender with an electric first step.  Out run your opponent to loose balls. Leave the opposing team in your dust on fast breaks and keep your man in front of you on defense.

3. Agility

Being able to change speed and direction explosively can help you to take your man off the dribble and stop on the dime for the shot. Agility is the missing piece for a lot of players; improving footwork and the ability to transition from shuffling to sprinting, backpedaling to shuffling and so on can take you game to another level.

4. Power

Power is more commonly referred to as explosiveness by basketball players.  It’s the guy who explodes up for the dunk with defenders hanging all over him.  It’s grabbing rebounds above the rim and tossing an opponents shot into the stands.

5. Conditioning

It is imperative that you’re physically fit to handle the demands of the game.  Being gassed in the 3rd quarter isn’t going to get help your team win.  And chances are you’ll be on the bench if your not in good condition.  You need to be able maintain the same high level of play from the 1st quarter into double overtime.  If your legs die and you get winded your entire game will break down.  You’ll start settling for bad shots.  You will get beat on defense and to loose balls.  You will hurt your team.  Improving your conditioning will allow you to play your best game, all game.

So when the off-season hits focus a good amount of time on targeted basketball weight training to improve your physical capabilities. The more time you spend improving your athletic ability the better you will play and remain free from injury. The best players spend just as much time on court as they do in the weight room.

Pros like Danny Granger, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, and Amar’e Stoudemire know that improvements in the weight room are important for staying healthy and getting better.

You should to!

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