Improving your basketball skills doesn't have to happen when you have a team practice. Drilling on your own helps you find your rhythm and improve technique without breaking to let other teammates have a go at the basket. You don't necessarily need to be at the gym to perform these drills -- all you need is a level, hard surface, such as a driveway, and a hoop.
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Mad Shooting Skills
Start your shooting drills close to the hoop to help you get warmed up. From just a few feet away, start with upward tosses into the basket. After making at least three in a row from each side, step back a couple of steps and shoot some more, again trying to get three in a row from each side. Change your position, shooting from the free-throw line and the three-point line, at varying angles. Running back to get the ball after each shot will also help with your conditioning.
Rebounding skills are essential for keeping control of the ball at each end of the court. Practice these skills by running toward the basket at an angle and tossing the ball off the backboard so it bounces to the other side. The objective isn't to score, but to catch it on the rebound. Keep running after you throw the ball, judging where it's headed so you can catch it. Try one-handed catches as well as two-handed ones, bringing the ball close into your body to mimic protecting it from opponents when it's time for game play.
Adept at Dribbling
Dribbling skills keep you moving down the court and will benefit you when your team is on the offensive end. Work on changing hands with each bounce, either standing or down on one knee. Adjust the height of the bounce as well. While standing, bounce the ball from hand to hand in front of you and behind you to mimic changing sides to dodge an opponent. Gain more control of the ball by dribbling in figure-eight patterns around and between your legs.
Putting It All Together
Putting several moves together at game speed helps prepare your for your next contest. Place one or two lines of chairs on the court, spaced just far enough apart for you to squeeze between them while dribbling. Zig-zag through the chairs as fast as possible, continuing to dribble throughout the drill. This helps you work on footwork, direction changes and dribbling skills as if you were dodging opponents. To work on shooting, run a pivot drill by placing a ball on a chair outside the three-point line. Start under the basket and run to the chair, picking up the ball as you pivot back toward the basket. Aim and shoot quickly, running to get the rebound before dribbling back to the chair to pivot and shoot again. This fast-paced drill helps you develop strong shooting techniques under pressure.