Top Off-season Training Tips for the Holiday Season by Jennifer Reed

Top Off-season Training Tips for the Holiday Season

Duke has enjoyed some impressive wins recently, but with the Christmas season upon us it is time to put down the basketball, get some relaxation time in and enjoy all of the good cheer and great food that the festive season brings. At the same time, it is important for basketball players to understand that the off-season period over Christmas shouldn’t be squandered. Intense on-season training will have taken its toll on hip, ankle and knee joints, and the vacation is a crucial recovery period. Furthermore, you should be thinking about how to use the Christmas holiday period to prepare for the next burst of hard training. Off-season can be a bit of an ordeal for players who have grown used to the enforced schedule of training sessions and games on-season. Suddenly, players have to push themselves and organize their own regime, and balance recovery with the need to keep in good form. Here are some top tips to help you sort out the right off-season training program for you:

Top off-season training tips

1) Firstly, make sure you do accept that you should take some time to let your body relax completely for at least a couple of days. This means no Boxing Day three-mile runs and no sneaky 45-minute weights sessions in the gym on Christmas eve. Don’t feel guilty about taking two or three days off; you have worked hard and you deserve it!

2) Don’t forget the need to mentally relax as well, as this is just as important when it comes to preserving yourself for your next dose of on-season training.

3) The off-season period is time for reflection and making important new goals for the next installment of hard training. If you have not done so already, make sure you have a quick chat with your coach about your progress over the last few months and what you will need to try to improve on looking forward.

4) It can be just as useful to ask the same question about your strengths and your weaknesses of your team-mates as well over dinner or a beer, and to chat with them about how the team as a whole can improve. With some fresh focus about 2014, you will find it a lot easier to be motivated with your off-season training just before and after you have had those crucial couple of days off for Christmas.

5) Why not also consider grabbing a piece of paper, writing down the following skills in list form then marking yourself out of ten for each skill: speed, deceleration, changing direction, vertical jump, agility, footwork, balance, lateral movement, post and rebounding strength. Think about taking five minutes to try to summarize your philosophy when it comes to basketball too. Are you a runner and gunner or a trapper, for example? 7) Make sure you try to write down your off-season program properly. Don’t just assume you can make it up as you go along or keep it all in your head, else you will probably end up going off-track. It should also include a diet program and, if necessary, a list of no-nos- such as smoking or taking harmful drugs like heroin or marijuana. If it helps to motivate you, consider investing in a notebook to lay out your schedule properly.

6) Overall, your workout program should be biased towards working on your skills rather than playing matches with your team-mates. The ratio of skill and fitness work to playing should be about 75:25.

7) Your fitness program should have adequate emphasis on strength training. This means making sure you fit in decent sessions in the free weights room at your gym or at least put aside 45-minutes to lift your dumbbells at home if you own some. Strength training a minimum of four times every week is recommended two sessions dedicated to upper body strength and two sessions dedicated to lower body strength.

Basketball drill ideas

Finally, here are some basket ball drill ideas to get you started:

  • Ball handling: Take one basketball in each hand and walk in the direction of the center court from the baseline. Dribble both balls concurrently. Be careful to look up and keep your knees bent. Turn around and return on reaching center court.

  • Shooting: Take a score of basketballs in a rack and shoot each at the hoop in turn, paying attention to your wrist flick technique and consistency.

  • Defense: One of the best ways to improve defense skills is the side step and shuffle. Side step from one side of the court to the other. Make sure you don’t cross your feet over. Repeat this six times.


By Jennifer Reed

Brian HoraceTop Off-season Training Tips for the Holiday Season by Jennifer Reed