You Don’t Need To Get Into The Gym To Improve Your Game

A gymnasium doesn’t hold any special “magical” powers that infinitely increase your skills once you step foot inside. In fact, I believe that unless you are completely intentional about spending purposeful time in the gym and working on specific skills each time you are there, you will waste your time and could create bad habits.

Most of us don’t have unlimited access to a gym unless you are the coach, your dad is the coach, or you have an unbelievable coach and athletic department that will let you in whenever you want. Even your local YMCA won’t let you in the gym at any hour. Most likely they have some Spinning or Zumba class taking up the basketball floor.

So, what should you do when you can’t get in the gym? Here are five excuse-busters when you don’t have access to a gym.

  1. Use your driveway: If you’re a baller than you obviously have a ball or ten laying around the house and access to a driveway, parking lot or street. Most, if not all, of the greatest basketball players to ever step foot on the court started by dribbling a ball in their driveway. Ever hear of Steph Curry:
  2. Use your bed: Pistol, Pistol, Pistol. Every kid dreams of having his name cheered on the basketball floor. And what’s even better is when you nickname gets chanted. If you’ve ever seen the movie Pistol Pete you will remember Pete Maravich crawling into bed, basketball in hand, lying there working on his shooting form. Limited access to a hoop is no excuse for not working on your shot. Laying in your bed and correcting or mastering your form is all on you. We all have a bed of some kind and most, if not all, players have a basketball. Tonight, after your mom and dad tell you to go to bed, instead of checking Facebook or Instagram, work on your shooting form.
  3. Use your local park: If it’s free it’s for me. No matter what town you live in there is most likely a park nearby that has a basketball court. And the best part is you don’t need a coach to let you in. If you drove by a basketball court at the local park 20 years ago you would have seen pick-up games in full swing with 15-20 guys who all claimed they got next! Drive by those same parks today and you see weeds growing through the cracks running across the half court line and no players in sight. This means you will have the entire court to yourself to work on your game and put in those “unseen” hours.
  4. Use your phone: My 10-year-old has an iPhone and can access YouTube and so can you. You have so much access to incredible content right at your fingertips. You should have zero excuses for having such a low basketball IQ. Quit updating your status and use the technology to watch film. The game is broken down in such an easy way to learn that it boggles my mind at the lack of basketball knowledge we see in today’s game. Take 30 minutes a day to research one aspect of the game you want to improve on then go out and practice it.
  5. Use a wall: No partner, no problem. 100 ways to improve your handles, 96 scoring moves off the dribble, Shake and Bake dribbling moves… I could go on and on. No doubt that ball handling is an essential part of the game but we’ve (basketball trainers) have over trained that part (5% of the game) of the game. Mostly because it’s fun and looks good on Instagram, SnapChat and YouTube. Watch some of the most successful and disciplined teams in the game and you will see constant movement without the ball and precision passing. Most scoring opportunities occur off the cut and pass and not off the dribble. If you can drop dimes, thread the needle and any other passing jargon you can think of then you will be an extremely valuable asset to your coach and team. Find a wall in your basement, at the park, in the gym, against your garage and start passing to your “teammates”. Use your imagination and work up different scenarios in your mind to play out. Get creative with chairs and trash cans. Use tape as markers on the wall to hit. There are endless possibilities to improve your passing game.

It’s up to you to improve on your own. Don’t let your lack of access to a gym or a trainer stop you from getting better.

Coach Nate Boykin