Basketball Training Tips: How to Become a Great Basketball Player
It Won't Happen Overnight
With technology constantly making our lives easier, it’s easy to want results quickly. Just about any question you have can be answered in seconds by a google search. Getting in contact with somebody can not only be done just as quickly, but in what feels like a million different ways. Lebron dunks on somebody and it’s on Twitter before you can even load the app.
You get the point - we can get things done quickly nowadays. Yet, no matter how good technology gets, one thing we will never be able to do overnight is become great at anything. We can’t just be an OK three-point shooter today and wake up tomorrow shooting like Steph Curry.
All of us players should understand that the journey of becoming a great basketball player is going to require patience and a change of mindset. In this post, I’m going to break down how you can take the first steps in training to become a great basketball player.
You Have to Decide What Player You Are Going to Be
When your career is over, what type of player do you want to have been? What do you want to have accomplished? Deciding the type of player you want to be is going to set the standard for everything that you do.
Imagine you have no idea what skills you want to get better at and you just step onto the court everyday shooting from wherever the ball lands next. Occasionally you put the ball between your legs and take a layup or two. Are you really getting better by doing this? No.
Let’s say you have a little more direction in what you’re doing and now you are working on some skills everyday. You decide that today you’re going to work on using a ball screen, then shooting some pull ups, then your layups and free throws. Tomorrow comes around and you will work on four other skills.
A few days later you will work on some other skills. Are you working on your game? Yes. But, how is working on this many skills going to help you become really great at any of them? It won’t.
The truth is that even if everyday you’re working on adding new skills to your game, you’ll only be average at best at them. It will extend the amount of time and effort necessary for you to achieve a significant level of skill at any one of them.
But, when you decide the type of player you want to be, you start to work on the very skills needed to get you there.
Decide that you want to be a great shooter and you will start finding drills that will help you become a great shooter. Decide you want to be a great post player and you will start finding drills that will help you become a great post player.
In philosophy, it’s called the Law of Attraction, but that’s a topic for another day.
Deciding the player you want to be will give you direction on what drills and workouts you need to do in order to improve those skills. Take it a step further and decide the type of player you will be mentally.
Be the player that trains everyday. Be the player that doesn’t make excuses. Be the player that gets to practice early and stays later.
Once you have the player you want to be in your head, write it down. Make every decision in your training align with becoming that player.
Create Goals For Yourself
It goes without saying that as a member of a team, your overall goal is to win the championship - every season. But, it's just as important to create individual goals for your personal development.
Get a pen and paper and write down three measurable goals you want to accomplish for yourself next season. They could be as simple as get my free throw percentage above 80% next year or become a consistent 40%+ three-point threat. It may even be just to make the team.
Keep in mind - your work ethic will have to match the size of your goals.
If you want to be a starter on your team next year, there is no doubt you’re going to need to outperform a lot of your peers in getting there. In reality, you will have to be better than most of the kids on your team.
If you want to be a league MVP or nationally ranked player, you’re going to need to outwork everybody. Everybody. This means that your commitment to your training and goals will need to elevate to a whole other level.
Your current skill level could be far from even being a starter on your team, let alone being a league MVP. Some may tell you to be realistic in setting your goals because you’ll never be an MVP.
Be wildly unrealistic.
Matter of fact, change your goal from being a league MVP to the #1 player in the country, align your work ethic with what it takes to be the #1 player in the country and watch how much better of a player you become just by raising your standards.
Will you eventually become the #1 player in the country? No, probably not. But, if you truly do train like one, you might actually be the league MVP one day. There’s a saying that goes "shoot for the moon - if you miss, you might still land among the stars."
It comes down to this, match your work ethic with your goals and good things will happen.
You Need to Put in the Work
No great basketball player you know has ever become great without putting in the work necessary to get that level. Nobody.
If you are going to be a great basketball player, you are going to have to discipline yourself to train effectively as much as possible. Key word - discipline.
When you first set out on your mission, you will be as motivated as ever. You might work on your game an hour longer than usual or run some sprints harder than you ever have. Everything about your first few workouts may show signs of you really having what it takes.
"That Day" Will Test You
That is until “that day” comes along. There will be a day where you just don’t feel like going to the gym. It will come up over and over again in your journey. You will probably think of an excuse as to why you need to rest today or how you’ve earned the right to take a day off.
Now, there’s a fine line between taking rest because you’re listening to your body and taking rest because you’re making an excuse.
I don’t recommend anyone to risk aggravating an injury for the short-term when your career is a long-term game. But, in these moments you have to look back to Step 1 and ask yourself these questions - what type of player do I want to become? Would the player I want to become skip this workout?
Only you know that answer.
And the thing is - you don't need to stay motivated forever. You just need to be motivated long enough for your work ethic to become a habit. Since it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit, you need to hold your motivation for about 2 months until training becomes a part of who you are.
You Can Become a Great Basketball Player
Let’s see how this all comes together:
Decide the player you want to be. What skills will this player master? How hard will this player work? What will this player accomplish when it’s all said and done?
When you’ve answered this question, align your training with the type of player you want to become by creating goals to get you there.
Creating goals will put your training and development in the direction of the player you want to become. Everything you do now has a purpose, so that no minute is wasted when you’re training.
You’ve decided the player you’re going to be, you’ve created goals to align your training, now you have to put in the work. The only shortcut to getting better at a skill faster is working on it efficiently as hard as you can, as often as you can. Although this is a long-term commitment, the beauty of training this way is that you'll start to enjoy the process and see yourself getting better along the way faster as time goes on.
If you stay honest with yourself, make sure you’re putting in the work necessary to match your goals and embrace the journey along the way - you make progress.
If you consistently make progress, you’re on the path to becoming a great basketball player.