Basketball Pre-Game Warm-Up Drills
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Basketball teams usually take 10 to 15 minutes to warm up before the start of a game. Teams can take this opportunity to run, shoot around and conduct drills. Teams typically put together a standard pre-game routine that highlights all the major basketball skills: lay-ups, rebounding, passing, position-specific skills, shooting and free throws. If you know how long you'll get for warm-up, time your drill sequence to switch every few minutes so that your players know which drills to perform.
Run and Rebound
Running is a good way to get your athletes prepared for the basketball game. Rather than just sending them to jog around the court a few times, dress up the drill to get your players excited. Line your athletes up by height, shortest to tallest, outside the doors of the gym. The first player has a basketball. When you're ready to start the warm-up, send the athletes running into the gym, instructing every other athlete to run in the opposite direction around the court, so that half the team runs around one direction and the other half runs around the other direction. Tell them to run around the court a certain number of times, then converge at center court, melding back into a single line. The single line of players should then run to the basket on one side of the court to start the rebound portion of the drill. The first player "shoots" the ball against the backboard, purposely missing so that the next player in line can rebound the shot and immediately throw it back against the backboard, progressing through the line until the ball reaches the final player. The final player should catch the ball and then shoot a lay-up to finish the drill.
Lay-up and Shooting Drill
Have your players split into two lines, lining up on opposite sides of the court, starting at about the half-court line. The first two players in line on the right side of the court should have a ball. The first player with the ball dribbles toward the basket and performs a right-handed lay-up while the first player from the left line runs to the basket and rebounds the ball. The shooter and the rebounder each head to the opposite line and continue the drill. Each player should have the opportunity to rebound and shoot twice. Then instruct the players to pass the ball to the left line, so that each player can practice left-handed lay-ups. ??After players have performed lay-ups on each side of the court, have them pass the balls back to the right line where players will practice outside jump shots on both the right and left sides of the court.
Free Throw Practice
Amy Loomis, a sport and fitness coordinator in Salem, Oregon, suggests that after players have had the opportunity to warm up and run, they should practice free throws. Have them line up around the key with a single player at the free-throw line with a ball. The player with the ball has the opportunity to shoot two free throws while the remaining players rebound the ball. After the two shots, the entire team rotates to the left, and the next player takes two shots. Each player should have the opportunity to practice at least two free throws before the end of the warm-up period.
- Amy Loomis; sports and fitness coordinator; Kroc Center, Salem, Oregon
Laura Williams has worked in recreation management since 2004. She holds a master's degree in exercise and sport science education from Texas State University, as well as a B.A. in exercise and sport science from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.