How to Improve Your Basketball Skills While Being Quarantined

Bloomberg (Manuela Davies/Getty Images)
Photo: Bloomberg (Manuela Davies/Getty Images)

Being able to work on your game regularly as a basketball player is a big part of skill development. You want to be able to spend a certain amount of time every week, and sometimes, every day, at the gym working on your game. Whether it is putting up shots, finishing at the basket, or whatever, players must be able to work on these areas regularly. What do you do, though, when this is not an option? 

With everything that is going on right now with quarantine and social distancing, it can be easy to say, “I will start working on my game again when everything opens back up,” which is what a lot of players are saying. However, just like any other day, you don’t want to waste valuable time that you could be using to improve your basketball skills. As a basketball player, it is up to you to find ways to always be developing and improving. 

That is why this article is going to offer you five different ways to improve your basketball skills while being quarantined. This will allow you to continue to progress as a basketball player and will help you to get a step up on your competition. 

Read, Watch, Learn

One of the biggest mistakes that players make, especially younger ones, is thinking that everything comes down to physical development. If you look at the best players in the world, though, you will see that a big reason they are so good is because of their basketball IQ. They are not only physically skilled, but they can see the game better than everyone else and can anticipate what was about to happen. 

So while you are stuck at home during quarantine, this is the perfect opportunity for you to read, watch, and learn more about the game of basketball. There are so many great online basketball sites out there, books you can read, videos you can study, etc. that you should be taking advantage of. So instead of wasting your day away on social media, take the time to study the game of basketball and learn.

A really fun way to do this is by studying and learning from your favorite players. Go on YouTube, and instead of just watching highlights for the pure enjoyment of it, sit down and study the different moves that you are seeing. Watch how they sell their move, change up their pace, use their body, etc. The more you can study these types of things, the easier you will be able to do them yourself when you start practicing again. 

Ball Handling

If you are able to use your garage, driveway, or even the street (be safe), an excellent way to improve your skills during quarantine is with ball handling. To work on your handles, all you need is a basketball and a flat hard surface. If you have two basketballs and a tennis ball, as well, you will be able to work on hundreds of different basketball dribbling drills right there. Here are a few of our favorite dribbling drills that you can work on during quarantine. 

In and Out Between the Legs Basketball Dribbling Drill

This is an excellent one ball drill that will allow you to work on a game-specific move. When doing this drill, really lock in on selling the move each time, and then transferring the ball as quickly as you can from one had to the other. 

Weak Hand Kill the Grass Basketball Dribbling Drill

Quarantine is an excellent time to develop your weaknesses and focus on the areas that you need help with. This one ball drill is going to allow you to do just that. It will force you to work on your weak hand and will allow you to develop confidence in handling the ball with either hand. 

High Low Pound Two Ball Basketball Dribbling Drill

This two-ball drill will allow you to work on both hands at the same time, and it will also force you to be able to do two things at once. It is an excellent drill for working on finger strength and ball control. 

Circle Two Ball Basketball Dribbling Drill

Perfect for working on ball control, this two-ball drill will allow you to work on both hands at the same time. Rather than pound dribbling the basketballs, this drill is about ball control and putting the ball where you want it to go.

Windshield Wiper Toss Tennis Ball Basketball Drill

This tennis ball drill is going to combine working on hand-eye coordination and ball control. Each hand will be working on something different, and it will challenge you to be able to do both things at the same time. 

Between the Legs Toss Tennis Ball Basketball Drill

Working on quick hands and a quick handle, this tennis ball dribbling drill will add a lot of value to your game. By tossing the tennis ball up in the air and then having to catch it, you will be forced to execute the between the legs move that much quicker. 

Hand-Eye Coordination

Another critical skill that you can work on during quarantine is hand-eye coordination. This skill is going to transfer to so many areas of the game of basketball. Whether it is handling the ball, catching it, finishing at the basket, shooting, etc., all of these things require hand-eye coordination. So the more you can master this, the better you are going to be in all of these areas. 

And, just as with the dribbling drills you don’t need much, there are simple and effective hand-eye coordination drills that you can do with a partner and tennis balls. Here are two hand-eye coordination drills that I do with my players at Tampa Basketball Training regularly and that you can do with a partner. They are great for players at all levels to be using to develop quick hands and being able to use their eyes to help them catch the tennis balls. 

Same-Hand Toss Tennis Ball Drill: Both partners are going to stand facing each other a few feet away. Player #1 will have both tennis balls in a single hand. When the drill starts, Player #1 will toss both tennis balls at the same time from their hand, and Player #2 must catch one tennis ball with each hand. If Player #2 catches both tennis balls, nothing happens, but if they drop one or both of them, Player #1 receives a point. Player #2 will now place both tennis balls in a single hand and toss them back to Player #1, and they must try to catch a tennis ball with each hand (use the same scoring). 

The goal is to try to make the toss as tricky as possible for the other player, while still giving them a chance to catch both tennis balls.  

Alternating Toss Tennis Ball Drill: This drill will start with both players facing each other a few feet apart as well. Player #1 will have a tennis ball in either hand. At their discretion, they will toss either tennis ball underhand to Player #2. Player #2 must catch that tennis ball overhand and then immediately toss it back. At this point, Player #1 can toss the other ball or catch the first ball and then quickly toss it back. Continue this pattern for the desired amount of time. 

All catches must be overhand, and all passes must be underhand. Also, you are not allowed to reach across your body to catch a tennis ball. You must use whatever hand that is on the side that the tennis ball came from. 

If you are standing on a flat hard surface, you can also add in bouncing the tennis balls to up the challenge of the drill (bounces can be made overhand). 

Develop Your Strength

Basketball players don’t need to have huge biceps or walk around like bodybuilders, but they do need to have functional strength. This is going to be critical in games when needing to be strong with the ball, finishing through contact at the basket, playing defense, fighting for position, and so on. And while you might not be able to go to the gym to lift weights during quarantine, there are plenty of at-home options. 

With the right bodyweight exercises, you will be able to work on pretty much any muscle group. You will be able to spend your time in quarantine getting stronger and ready to dominate the courts when everything gets back to normal. 

If you are still unsure of what you should be doing as far as a workout goes, there are plenty of online fitness resources that you can take advantage of. Do some research and find a plan that fits your needs and the space that you have available to you. 

Work on Footwork, Speed, Quickness, and Explosiveness

If you are fortunate enough to have access to a yard or driveway during quarantine, there is no reason why you can’t be working on your athleticism. With the right drills, you will be able to work on your footwork, speed, quickness, explosiveness, and more. 

The more you can develop these areas, the more you are going to be able to dominate on the court. You will be able to drive past your defender, sky for rebounds, lock up on defense, etc. All of your movements will be that much more effective because you have put in the work to become a better athlete. Here are some drills to work on these different areas. 

Foot Ups Footwork Basketball Drill

Pretty much everything that you do in basketball is going to require light quick feet. With this drill, you will be able to work on exactly that. 

Figure 8 Footwork Basketball Drill

Another excellent agility drill, this drill is going to really develop a player’s footwork. It will help you to become light and quick on your feet. 

Squat Jump Exercise

This jumping exercise will help teach you the correct way to load, and then how to explode upwards. You will be able to develop the proper techniques for jumping, and then also work on improving your leg muscles. 

How to Improve Your Basketball Skills While Being Quarantined Conclusion

It is not ideal to have to work out at home instead of the gym, but it can be done, and it can add a lot of value to your game. In fact, even after quarantine is over, these at-home skill development tips are still going to be valuable. If you can consistently work on these different areas, you are going to continue to distinguish and set yourself apart from the competition. 

Before you know it, you will be understanding new areas of the game, handling the basketball at a high-level, more muscular, more athletic, and so on. 

These tips for improving your basketball skills while being quarantined are something that you should take advantage of now and then also continue on with for as long as you pursue a basketball career.

This article was written by Kyle Ohman