Warm Up Drills Every Basketball Player Needs to Know
Warming up is a critical aspect of any sport before being ready for the actual game. The same goes for any basketball team that’s hoping to win a game. Good warm up drills help to set the mood and make you feel more comfortable when the tip-off time finally arrives.
Warm-up sessions primarily help make the team to flex their muscles and hone in on their skills at the same time. Below is a list of warm-up drills that every basketball player should consider performing before the game kicks off.
1. Free Throws
Before your team gets into any heavy shooting, it is better to start small. Walk up to the free-throw line and go through your routine free-throw sessions. This helps to warm up your shooting form significantly. It also gives the team a better chance to practice your rebounding and box out before the game starts.
Your team can form a line on the free-throw line with two lines at the baseline. Then one person from each line moves forward and starts the exercise. The player at the free-throw line shoots twice while two more players under the basket fight for any rebound.
2. Layups Lines
Layups have always been a must-do exercise for as long as anyone can remember. It is one of the oldest yet effective warm-up routines in basketball. The best part about it is that you can perform this drill at any point, which is a bonus before starting the game.
Layups lines require that your team splits up into two lines. Each team stands on opposite sides of the half-court line. The player with the ball at half-court drives to the basket and attempts a layup.
3. Defensive Lane Slides
This is one of the simplest warm-up drills to try in the court before a match. It is also one of the hardest to perfect and requires a lot of practice and time. And that’s because the drill is near impossible to perfect, especially in real game situations.
Many factors can force players to freestyle most of their defensive moves. Lane slides, however, do three different things; it forces you to keep your feet apart, stay low, and learn how to pivot. These are the three constants in any defensive maneuvering that your players need. The skill also helps with muscle memory, ensuring that you are always consistent. The drill essentially makes you a better defender.
4. Partner Passes
This warm-up drill is sure to get your team catching and passing ready for the game. You must change the type of passes that you make while performing this exercise. You can do a mix of chest passes, bounce passes, wrap-around passes, and overhead passes. Your team can use these drills during the actual game, which is why it is best to get into a rhythm early enough.
To perform this drill, you should stand about ten feet from your partner. Increasing or decreasing this distance as you exercise does not kill the drill. If possible, mirror your partner while running side by side. Face each other the whole way as you pass the ball back and forth. Making several different passes helps you to stay focused and alert. Consequently, it boosts the team’s reaction process as well as get the player’s legs warmed up and ready for the game.
5. Muscle Memory Shooting
This is a relatively easy warm-up drill to pull off. You can perform muscle memory shooting that includes one-handed shots. Start as close to the basket as possible and move out progressively. It is important to remember to keep rhythm each time that the ball drops through the basket and repeat the motion until you perfect the motion that you shoot. Muscle memory works as your introduction to the game.
6. Full Speed Dribbling
The shooting of the dribble is another essential warm-up drill that you want ingrained into your games. Coming up to the court full speed and shooting is near impossible and even more difficult to perfect. However, once you get it into your workout, it will at least feel like a natural drill to try out in an actual game.
Learning to run full speed in the court and stopping immediately to make a move or perform a skill isn’t easy, but not impossible either. Switch up the move by trying in-and-out, crossover, even a spin occasionally, and see how it works out, with caution.
The warm-up drills mentioned above are a great template to implement in your team’s routine to get everyone fired up and ready for the game. You can also customize these drills a bit to try something different provided it produces results. Do not hesitate to experiment!