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Basketball Training Secrets

Few secrets are left in basketball training and conditioning because players and coaches tend to borrow from one another when they see positive results. But there are things you can do for an advantage such as developing another type of shot (don't forget the hook) or building muscle and cardiovascular capacity in the off-season.

Develop the Hook Shot
The hook shot used to be a standard part of every player's arsenal before dunking, three-point shooting and flashier play became the rage. But it can be effective for post players, as well as shorter players who need help shooting over taller players. When practicing a hook shot, square up to the basket (facing away from the hoop), fake a move to the left, if right-handed, and then pivot on your left foot and jump straight up, extending your right hand high as you shoot. As points out, start bringing the ball up before you pivot and use your left arm to keep the defender from getting too close. Your shot should be just a flick, but be sure to follow through. Practice this same shot from points all around the basket, from 10 to 2 feet from the hoop.

Weight-lifting and Running
Off-season conditioning differs from the work you do as the season is about to start and during the season. After taking a few weeks off from the end of one season, start a workout program aimed a building muscle (heavier weights, fewer reps) and long-distance running. As the season approaches, shift your training to just maintaining muscle (lighter weights, more reps) and basketball-type running, focusing on sprints. You'll also want to shift your playing from 75 percent skill development and 25 percent play to the other way around to get back into the flow of game conditions, according to's article on off-season conditioning.

The Dunce Cap
This is an old trick, and a little embarrassing for the player. But it works, if you tend to bring the basketball over the top of your head while you shoot, instead of keeping it in front of you all the time. Take a large sheet of paper and roll into a cylinder large enough to sit on your head, but not too loose that it falls over your eyes or it's too small that it won't stay on. With your new, tall "hat" on, start shooting and you'll soon find that if you want to avoid hitting the paper or knocking it off, you'll keep the ball in front of you so you have more control when you shoot. You can also try this with a baseball cap, keeping the brim up high.