Basketball Skill Development: How to Improve Your Game – in the Weight Room

You’ve probably heard the phrase “practice like you play.” This is known as sport-specificity. To enhance your basketball skill development, you must train the way you play by mimicking game situations in practice. The same applies to training your athleticism. Whether you’re doing Squats in the weight room or plyometrics on the court, to maximize basketball skill development, it is essential to perform drills and exercises that mimic sport-specific movements.

For example, the 3 exercises below are designed to mimic basketball specific movements so you can see how it’s possible to train for basketball in a very functional and practical way, which translates to improved performance on the court.

Dumbbell Band Reactive Step-Up

Dumbbell Band Reactive Step-Up

This exercise mimics the takeoff from a single-leg jump going up for a dunk or block. Focus on attacking the box with your foot pulling down and back through the heel, while exploding your hips forward for maximal height and distance on the jump.

Depth Drop to Box Jump

Depth Drop to Box Jump

This exercise trains the stretch-shortening cycle, which allows you to become more elastic so you can jump, land and get off the ground quicker on rebounds.

Single-Arm Overhead Jam Press

Single-Arm Overhead Jam Press

This exercise mimics the shooting motion, enhancing unilateral strength and stability to add range and precision to your jump shot. Start with the dumbbell over the shoulder and keep your elbow high and tight as if shooting a basketball. Extend your elbow until it is directly under your wrist at 90 degrees, then press up until your arm is fully extended and your elbow is higher than eye level.

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Article was written by Rakim Anim-Finney – a contributing expert at

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