Unlike football players and hockey players you won’t usually find young basketball players in weight rooms till later in high school. Some players don’t even start strength training till they get to college.
Most basketball players that play at the college and professional level are long, have low body fat percentages and a lot of natural reactive strength, but that is just not enough in this game anymore. As the game of basketball changes into a much more athletic one, coaches and parents are starting to realize you now have to go build athletic explosiveness and strength in the weight room.
Many players and coaches however do not understand what “lifting weights” means for a basketball player, it is quite sad. Basketball players are beginning to lift weights too late in their career and when they do start they don’t know what to do in the weight room. It is not their fault though, they are misguided by their coaches, parents or sadly “trainers” who simply don’t know what a basketball player’s needs are and what actually needs to be developed in the weight room for a basketball player.
Below are seven of the biggest mistakes basketball players make when training in the weight room.
1. Hiring a trainer who doesn't know about training for athletic performance
Just because your coach or skills trainer is good at basketball, doesn't mean they know what to put you through when it comes to training in the weight room. Make sure you hire a certified strength & conditioning coach or specialist to work with you in the weight room. Your everyday P.E. teacher or high school/club basketball coach may just end up making the six mistakes below, and the worst thing about that would be is you'd buy into it because your already accustomed to listening to them for on-court advice. When it comes to improving your performance and body, be very careful who you chose for guidance. Only a true professional can help. Get with a trainer who knows what they are doing when it comes to strength & conditioning training, has experience, a good reputation for getting athletes more ATHLETIC and can do the actual workouts themselves.
2. Delusion and Misconceptions: Everyone has a limit.
Many players begin working out in the weight room thinking that they will transform into LeBron James or Dwight Howard overnight. Players and their coaches go in thinking that simply by lifting weights for an hour in the gym they will turn them into a super strong freak of nature who can blow by defenders, take the contact and dunk on a 7 foot center. Chances are you won’t develop LeBron James or any superstar type of strength. Know your body, don’t be delusional. Your game will improve tremendously if you train properly in the weight room, but everyone has a genetic limit and the LeBron James, Michael Jordans, RG III’s of the world simply have better genetics and natural strength, power and agility than you and me. The superstars you see all over ESPN and TV are gifted genetic freaks even before they train in the weight room and when they do train in the weight room they become even more powerful. Almost 95% of athletes coming up are not genetic freaks and won’t be able to be like those players. Sucks right? Know your body and train to be the strongest YOU can be!
3. Bodybuilding Workouts
This is one of the most frustrating mistakes a young baller can make in the weight room. These days basketball players hit the weight room and are ready to become stronger athletes but do bodybuilding workouts! They perform traditional bodybuilding workouts, 5-day splits with one muscle being trained each day, which means only one leg day.... Spending an hour a day on isolating the one muscle is the worst thing you can do in the weight room. You'd almost rather not workout in a gym at all. These are bodybuilding workouts and are for guys who want to have a beach body or compete in shows, basketball players and any athlete should not touch these type of workouts. Performing these bodybuilding workouts will literally destroy your game, kill your explosiveness and reactive strength turning you into a slobby turtle who can’t run up and down the court twice. Stay as far away as possible from bodybuilding.
4. Train for the look (Beach Bodies)
You’re a basketball player, train for performance on the court, not the look! You are not on Jersey Shore and shouldn't be training to look better. Big biceps and big pecs won’t do a thing for your game on the court. Get your priorities straight, if you are in the weight room don’t be there to build a beach body that you think girls will like, or is socially celebrated. That's is basic. Be an athlete. As a basketball player you should be focused on building athletic power, muscle and functional strength that helps you perform well, NOT a beach body. The weight room is much much more than just a place where you can go build big puffy muscles.
5. “Bigger arms will help me become a better shooter and help me hits shots from further out”
Unless you are a post player, big muscular arms won’t do a thing for you on the court. They certainly won’t help you become a better shooter, if anything they'll hinder your shooting ability. For the love of GOD please don’t spend your workout performing super sets of preacher curls and triceps extensions, they will do more harm to your game than anything.
6. Unorganized workout plans
Too many ball players are lost in the weight room, they don’t know what they are doing and are kind of just choosing random exercises and pumping out 12 reps as fast as possible, getting a drink of water, talking to a friend or staring at a hot girl then going back and doing some other un athletic movement for 12 reps. These guys end up at the gym for two hours and in turn actually hurt their gam. Stick to one organized athletic workout plan that will help your game, know what you are doing the second you step in the weight room or get with a good strength trainer that knows what to put you through.
7. Too much use of dumbbells and traditional weights
Everybody thinks getting in the weight room means they lifting dumbbells and barbells. This is far from the truth. Basketball players do many different movements using weights than a regular person trying to build muscle would. Medicine balls, benches, ropes, kettle bells, tires, chin-up bars, chains etc... All these things come in to play when training for basketball. It's not always about dumbbells and barbells.
Speak with a Youth1 Recruiting Counselor
Youth1’s Recruiting Counselors are on a mission to educate you on the recruiting process - one that's very competitive and starts early. Let us provide guidance through the most important decisions that shape your athlete's journey in sports.
Learn how to become a recruitable student-athlete, find out what colleges you match best with, and get the ability to message college coaches directly with a specialized recruiting package.
Don't wait, schedule a time to speak with a Youth1 Recruiting Counselor. It's FREE! Just fill out the following information and then select a date and time in the form below.