5 Basketball Conditioning Drills You Don’t Need The Gym

basketball conditioning drills

Basketball conditioning may not be a player’s favorite drill, but it is crucial to their on-court success. Being in top shape allows you to play at a high level. While many may see conditioning as a hassle, the truth is there are many of ways to get yourself in shape without having to drag yourself to the gym. Here are five basketball conditioning drills you can do on your own to get into great shape.

Jump Rope

Jumping rope provides great health benefits, while also improving your explosiveness off the ground. A great source of cardio, jumping rope increases your heart rate and provides you with the same cardiovascular benefits as running. From a basketball stand point? Jumping rope helps elevate (no pun intended) your leaping ability. With quick jumps, you can increase your explosiveness off the ground, and finally find yourself playing above the rim, or grabbing those rebounds you seemed to be just missing.

basketball conditioning drills

Once wall sits become easier, you can add waits, or even try dribbling while you do it!

Wall Sits

Possibly the easiest conditioning drill on the list, wall sits help strengthen your lower body. By sitting against a wall at a 90 degree angle, your lower body muscles are forced to support your body. Strengthening these lower body muscles benefits you as a basketball player in two ways: it increases your jumping ability and also makes sitting down in a defensive stance easier. Wall sits are a great, weightless exercise to strengthen your body.

Ball Drops

This is the only drill that requires two people to complete, and all that is needed is two tennis balls. To start, have one person stand in a defensive, athletic stance and your partner five feet in front of him with a tennis ball in each hand. With an outstretched reach, the person with the tennis balls drops either of the balls, resulting in the other to accelerate forward and catch the ball before it bounces twice. This drill helps reaction time as well as speed and acceleration. As you become more comfortable with the drill, you can increase the distance between you and the other person.

Defensive Slides

A classic conditioning drill, and not always a fan favorite, defensive slides is always a sure way to get you into basketball shape. Starting on one side of the paint, simply slide back and forth across the paint: easy right? While the drill itself is simple, it is important that you focus on staying in a low defensive stance, and pushing yourself to go as fast as you can for a set time. One way to continually push yourself is to set goals, such as 40 touches in 30 seconds. Setting goals always gives you something to aim for.

basketball conditioning drills

Full Court Lay Ups

A drill with a little more to it than just ordinary full court sprints, full court lay ups let’s you condition yourself with the ball in your hands. Start at the baseline and speed dribble down the length of the court, finish with a lay up at the other end. Then, rip the ball out and immediately head back down the other way. Go continuously for a minute and see how many lay ups you can get in; as always you should always push yourself to beat your personal best!

No gym, no problem. These five basketball conditioning exercises will get your heart pumping, your lungs breathing, and ultimately get you into basketball shape. The offseason is a time for staying in shape as well as getting better. Happy conditioning!

4 Basketball Shooting Drills To Do During Every Workout

Basketball Shooting Drills

The recent success of the Golden State Warriors has spotlighted how vital outside shooting can be to a team’s success. The NBA’s reigning MVP, Steph Curry, alone has made 245 three-point field goals this season, 84 more than teammate Klay Thompson, who sits at second. As a result of this trend, we decided to provide players with four key basketball shooting drills that will help them become better shooters.

Form Shooting

Form shooting should be the first thing a player does when he or she steps out onto the floor. Form Shooting helps develop muscle memory and promote good shooting technique.

  • Start 3 feet from the basket
  • Shooting with your dominant hand, focus on lifting the ball over the rim
  • Focus on B.E.E.F (Balance, Eyes, Elbow, Follow-through)
  • You can rotate from center of the rim to both right and left sides as well as step back. Do not exceed your comfort zone, it will often result in poor shooting form – which is what you are trying to build!

Around The World 

Around the World shooting helps players get ‘catch and shoot’ shots up from all areas of the floor.

  • Start in one corner, shoot from that spot until you MAKE 10 shots
  • Once you make 10 shots, move to the next spot and repeat
  • Spots are baseline, wing, top of the key, opposite wing, opposite baseline
  • Toss the ball out to yourself to practice catching and squaring up to the hoop

Looking to become a better shooter? 2016 Hoop Group Skills Shooting Camp

Elbow to Elbow 

Mid range shooting has been called by some as a lost art. Elbow to Elbow jumpers help you master this lost art, and also can simulate game like shots.

  • Start on either elbow
  • Toss the ball out to the opposite elbow, with back spin so it returns to you
  • Work on catching, turning and squaring your body to the rim before shooting
  • Alternate elbow to elbow – this can also be done elbow to baseline

Distance Shooting

Distance shooting does exactly as it sounds: helps increase your shooting range. This should take one just outside one’s comfort zone and progressively extend their range.

  • Start at the foul line, make 2 shots in a row
  • Once you make 2 in a row, take a step back, make another 2
  • Continue to move back until you struggle to make 2 in a row while maintaining proper shooting form
  • You can do this drill on any area of the floor, as well as increase the number of shots needed to make in a row

One important thing to note for all these drills is that players must focus on maintaining proper shooting form. The goal is to get better shooting THE RIGHT WAY! These four drills will help players develop better form, increase their range and emulate game like shots. Keep Shooting!

5 Keys to Improving Your Ball Handling


Ball handling is one of the most important fundamentals in the game of basketball. While it might not be the same as scoring 30 points a night, being a steady and reliable ball handler is crucial to any good team. That’s why it is important for players to work on their handle every day, starting at a young age. Whether you are a point guard, wing or center, you can always afford to become a better ball handler. Here are five things to focus on when you are working on your ball handling.

Non-Dribbling, Dribbling Drills

That’s not a mistake, you can improve your handle by not even dribbling the basketball! Drills such as finger tip touches and ball wraps help you get a feel for the ball in your hands. The more comfortable you are with the ball in your hands, the less looking down you will have to do while dribbling, resulting in better court vision. Better vision on the court makes you a better guard. 5-10 minutes of stationary non-dribbling drills to start your workout will go a long way over time.

Use Two Basketballs

Using two basketballs allows you to work both hands simultaneously. Doing this forces players to work on their “off” hand, which many, especially younger players, avoid. Another key reason to utilize two ball dribbling is because it is challenging for most. It requires much more focus, which will make switching to one ball easier. If you can master two ball dribbling drills, you will be terrific with the ball in your hands.

Former NBA guard Jay Williams showing a two ball dribbling series at Hoop Group Skills Camp

Former NBA guard Jay Williams showing a two ball dribbling series at Hoop Group Skills Camp

Practice Full Court

When you finally do switch to one ball drills, use the entire length of the court to work on your change of direction handles. Going full court allows you to simulate game play, and work on your moves at a faster pace. Start at one baseline and use a different change of direction move every two dribbles. The more times you go up and down, the better you will feel when you are playing in live games. There is no such thing as too many reps!

Go Fast

The most common misconception players make when working out is it is bad to mess up; that is completely untrue. Players who don’t push themselves outside their comfort zone are actually preventing themselves from getting better. By going as fast as you can during every drill, you are training yourself to play at that speed, which will make it easier during games. DON’T BE AFRAID TO MAKE A MISTAKE WHILE TRAINING!

Play Live Competition

When it comes to working on your ball handling, the only way to improve is to work on drills by yourself. Playing games will not help your handle get better, but it is a great place to practice all the work you have been putting in; playing in front of cones only goes so far. Use team practices or scrimmages to test your handle in a live setting before you test yourself in real game play. Make sure you put the work in by yourself first, then test yourself in a little live gameplay.

With school seasons just around the corner, players everywhere are working on their games this preseason. These five keys will help make your ball handling workouts the best they can be. While many of them may be simple for older players, they are still crucial for all players looking to improve their dribbling, and everyone can always improve their ball handling.

Basketball Instruction with Coach Ryan Finch: Two Ball Stationary Dribbling

Ryan Finch on Basketball Instruction from Jake Brahney on Vimeo.

With the basketball season starting up, Coach Ryan Finch takes a few minutes to show you how to be a better basketball player this season. Every week will be a different focus, whether it is on the fast break, shooting, rebounding or whatever you need to get better this season. This week, Coach Finch will demonstrate some dribbling techniques that you can practice at home. Be sure to check back every week to see what Coach has in store!

Follow the Hoop Group:

Jake Brahney @JakerBaker58
Ryan Finch @ryanjfinch1212
The Hoop Group @TheHoopGroup

A “Social” Experiment: Commentary on Today’s Game

This past weekend, the Hoop Group did a “social” experiment to get a read for how players are working on their games. We took a poll and asked players to retweet if they worked on a certain aspect of their game that day. Here were the results:



The results were painfully obvious. Only 12 retweets for players working on their passing and defense. 23 players retweeted that they worked on the ball handling skills. Last but not least, a whopping 45 players retweeted that they worked on their shot.

Just about any coach in America will tell you that they want to see better basketball being played these days. The results from this poll show that players do not work on their overall game enough. Last night at the Hoop Group’s Elite Session I, Tim Legler described guys that can only score as “a dime a dozen”. As a player, you do not want to be known as “replaceable”. Whether it is a high school coach or a future college coach, the players that will be played are the ones that put them in the best position to win games.

In general, the teams that win games are the ones that shoot the ball the best(shooting), turn the ball over the least(ball handling and passing), and make life miserable for opposing offenses(defense).

So here’s some advice for players: be the best all-around player you can be. Shoot when you have a good shot to take. Take care of the ball. Work on both ends of the floor. Unfortunately, July is mostly about playing games. But when you get the chance to go the the gym in August, do more than just get a few shots up.