Basketball can seem overwhelming to someone just starting out for the first time. You might be asking yourself, how do I get better at basketball, or what are the best drills for beginners.
Most basketball drills for beginners should work on your basic skills and fundamentals, like form shooting, stationary dribbling, and basic conditioning.
In this article I will be going over the best drills for beginners, that you can do by yourself, at home, or with limited equipment.
1. Mikan Drill
The Mikan Drill is a layup drill, designed to get you to take a lot of layups in a short amount of time.
How To Do It
Start on one side of the basket, make a layup, then go to the other side, and make a layup on that side, and repeat.
I recommend you put a set amount of time for this drill like 30 seconds or 1 minute, and record how many layups you can make in that given time.
I recommend to do it this way so you can record what score you get, and the next time you do this drill you have a score to aim at. That way you can track your progress and see how much better you are getting.
This is a great drill for beginners, because it can really help you get the basics of finishing the basketball, and be a stepping stone for more advanced layups and drills down the line
It is also a great drill because it can work on your conditioning, by getting your body used to more basketball movements.
For more information on how to do this drill check out the video below.
2. Form Shooting
Form Shooting is a drill where you get close to the basket, and really slow down your shot, and shoot the basketball.
The emphasis on this drill, is too get you warmed up, and fix any little things in your shot, before you shoot farther away from the basket.
This drill is great for all beginners because it really focuses on your fundamentals and mechanics of your shooting form.
This works well because shooting close and far from the basket, your still using the same form on your shot, this allows you to correct certain things and become a better shooter overall.
Tips on this drill
Mainly focus on shooting in the paint area and close to the basket at first, and the more and more you feel comfortable, slowly back yourself up and try and take shots farther away from the basket.
For a video representation of this drill check out the video below
3. Fatigued Free Throw Shooting
Free throws are one of the easiest shots in basketball, but they can also be a shot, that shows how good of a shooter you really are and what things you need to work on.
How To Do It
To do this drill all you need to do is, find some way too get tired on the court, that could be running up the court a couple time, maybe a few berpees, or even a suicide.
And after you feel like you are tired, then shoot two free throws.
I love this drill for beginners because it teaches you to shoot the ball when you are fatigued, but it also allows you to continue to work on your form shooting.
Tips For This Drill
Make sure when doing this drill, you keep the same form and routine on your shot. As a beginner it is crucial to develop a form you like and stick with it, so you can get the most reps and practice under your belt.
4. Around The World
This drill you start by shooting in the corner, whether that be mid range, up close, or even a three pointer, and only move to the next spot when you make that shot.
Most people like to shoot first in the corner, then move to the wing, then to the top of the key, back to the other wing, and then the other corner, and then keep going till there back to the spot they started at.
I love this drill because it can give you reps and practice at different spots on the floor, while also keeping you moving and active.
Tips For This Drill
When doing this drill, try to go fast while your doing this so you get used to be tired, and emulate game situations.
Also record how long this drill takes you to complete, so you can try and beat that score next time you do this.
5. One Dribble Pull Ups
How To Do It
The basics of this drill, is too get the ball, take one dribble from whatever spot you are at, and then rise up for a shot.
This drill works on getting you better at shooting off the dribble, while also getting you more used to dribbling into a shot.
While it might seem like a simple drill, even NBA players will do this drill from time to time, especially in there warmups.
And as you get better you can add more things to this drill, like combo moves, or even step backs. By right now as a beginner this drill is great for working on the fundamentals or shooting off the dribble.
Tips For Doing This Drill
Make Sure you mix up the spots you are doing this drill on. And while I recommend just doing one dribble for beginners if you feel more comfortable moving forward and feel like you mastered this skill then move on to more advanced moves and combos if you like.
6. Ball Sprints
One of the hardest things for beginner basketball players is learning how to dribble fast with the basketball.
In this drill, simply dribble up and down the court as fast as you can.
Tips on This Drill
Make sure when doing this, you work on pushing the ball out in front of you and not going to high with the ball.
Also when doing this drill, do not do it more than 3-5 times, that is because we really want to get you sprinting at full speed and going all out for this while also working on your fast twitch muscle fibers.
Which are the muscles that allow you to jump high and run fast, and in order to work on them, you need to do high intensity, long rest, workouts.
7. Stationary ball handling
Stationary ball handling, is where you stand in one place and dribble the basketball. You can add a lot of different variables and dribbles to this if you want. (see video Below)
Tips For This Drill
I recommend when practicing this is too keep a good stance and dribble the basketball hard. While you might not always have to dribble the ball hard, or be in a good stance in a game scenario, I recommend you over do it, in this drill so you can develop good habits and fundamentals.
Also start with things you feel comfortable with at first, and move up from there if need be. If you start to feel more comfortable with basic dribbles for example, then you can start to move up to crossovers, and in and outs if you want.
8. Cone Dribbling
This drill works on misdirection moves like crossovers or behind the backs.
How To Do This Drill
To do this drill, start at the corner of the court, and go to a specific spot, and do a move where you misdirect your opponent, like a crossover or behind the back.
If you do not have a cone or defender, you can easily use your imagination and just do a misdirection move like a crossover at the spot.
Tips on This Drill
When Doing this drill make sure you work on changing speeds, and really selling your crossover with your eyes a body.
9. Rip Thorough
Rip Through is a great drill to work on driving and finishing at the basket.
How To Do It
The rip through drill can be done at any spot on the floor, but it basically works on you driving to the basket as hard as you can, getting a rebound going back to the spot and driving and finishing at the basket again.
Tips on how to do this drill
When doing this drill, make sure you really focus on going hard, and making your layups. A lot of players when they get tired will go half speed especially on there layup attempts when doing this drill.
So set a timer for yourself, and over the course of the next couple of weeks or months when practicing this, try and go longer and longer when doing this drill.
10. Target Passing
A lot of players, do not practice passing, when they are doing there basketball drills. But especially for beginners you need to find some way to improve your passing as a basketball player.
How To Do It
To Do this drill, you basically need to find one point, that could be a wall, floor, or even backboard if you have to, and try to hit that point when your passing.
If you have a partner that is even better as you can work on passing it to him as well.
Tips To Do This Drill
When doing this drill, try to mix up the passing that you do. For example sometimes make it a bounce pass, chest pass, or even a lob pass.
Also make sure to do this drill standing and moving so you get used to making passes under both scenarios.
Plyometrics, when talking about basketball are any drills, that involve, jumping or some kind or running. The point of these drills is too get you more explosive and athletic as a basketball player.
How To Do Them
Jumping- As a beginner in basketball of the best drills you can do is simply jumping. Certain jumps like box jumping and even max jumping can be very effective, because they will train your body and muscles to become a better jumper which will obviously be required in basketball.
When doing max jumps, start on a court and just see how high you can get on the rim, record that, and over the upcoming weeks, and months in your training see how high you can get.
For more information on plyometrics for basketball players check out the video below.
Sprinting- I talked a lot, about fast twitched muscle fibers a little bit earlier in the article, because those are the muscles, that allow you to jump high and run fast.
And a reason I recommend sprints as a drill for beginning basketball player, is because sprints, are a great exercise to increase your fast twitch muscle fibers and get you faster in general, especially as a beginner.
For more at home workouts involving building muscle and athleticism check out the link here.
12. H.I.I.T Training
If you do not already know H.I.I.T is a workout that involves different types of conditioning in one workout.
For example in a H.I.I.T workout you might be doing a light jog for 2 minutes, and then a full out sprint for 30 seconds.
A reason this works so great for conditioning basketball players, and why I believe this is such a great drill is because conditioning this way for emulates that conditions you will face as a basketball player. And as a beginner there is almost no better way at improving your game then becoming really in shape.
How You Should Do It
An easy way to do this drill and workout, would be by doing a light shooting drill, then go into some hard ball sprints, back to a light ball handling drill, like stationary ball handling.
You can do this not in your skills workout either, you can do this at the end by doing 2 light jogs around then court, followed by a sprint around the court.
Whatever it is it can be up too you just make sure you mix up the intensity of each drill to get you more used to being in basketball shape.
This is just a little tip for all these drills. Make sure when doing these drills you really focus on your weak hand and making that stronger in all your drills.
I see a lot of beginning players really neglect this part of the game and in turn they can become one dimensional, and just not as effective as if they were good on both sides of the ball.
And especially as a beginner your weak hand is going to be much less effective than someone who has been playing a while.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Will these drills work at home?
Answer: Yes absolutely, even if you do not have a hoop at home, you can still effectively work on your conditioning, athleticism, and even dribbling at home.
All you need is a little space, and a ball and these drills can work for you at the comfort of your own home.
Question: Can these work at all age levels?
Answer: Yes, in fact, i even recommend these drills, to players who are a little bit more advanced, as I always believe no matter how good you are you should always come back to the fundamentals of the game.
Question: How often should I train as a beginning basketball Player?
Answer: As a beginning basketball player, I always recommend you practice as much you want at the first stages of your training.
But a general rule of thumb I have noticed to see general improvements is about 3-5 hours a week to see improvements quicker, and more dramatic.
But it depends on every player, it is not so linear, and straight forward, every player is a little bit different.
For a more in depth answer of how much you should train in basketball click here
Thank you for reading, I hope this article gave you some good drills for starting out in basketball. Let me know below, any drills ya'll like and have noticed have improved your game.
As always thank you for reading, and keep hooping my friends!