Three Easy Keys to Improve Your Offensive Game
We’re all working towards the same goal when we pick up a basketball: improvement.
Whether you’re a younger player looking to take your game to the next level, or a men’s league hooper aiming to add skills to your repertoire, there are always opportunities to hone your craft. I’m not talking about a complete overhaul of your shooting form or anything major. It’s the little changes that build up over time and make you a better player.
Here are three easy keys to improve your offensive game.
Lock down a warmup routine
As a former high school player and men’s league employee, you would be shocked by the number of players I’ve seen over the years who just walk into the gym and start chucking up threes.
This strategy is far more likely to result in an injury and doesn’t give your body a chance to develop a rhythm heading into your practice or game. Crafting a unique warmup routine allows you to focus on specific aspects of your game that will be utilized throughout the upcoming contest.
Find the warmup routine I developed during my playing days below as an example:
- 10 minutes of stretching (focusing on specific tight areas)
- Five made baskets from each block
- Five made baskets from each hash mark
- Five made free throws
- Five made dribble pull-ups moving to the left and right of the free-throw line
- Five made threes from each corner and the top of the key
- Five layups finishing with only the right and left hand
That warmup can take a while, but the results pay off. After doing it, I felt completely prepared to perform in the upcoming practice or game. Try it out and add your own twists to it.
Develop a variety of finishing moves
From a young age, coaches drill the concept of developing your weak hand when finishing. While I’m sure it got on all of our nerves, they were right. It is significantly easier to defend a player who can only attack the basket with one hand.
Not only will developing the finishing ability of your off-hand make you harder to guard, but you’ll also gain more confidence throughout the process.
The first key to developing off-hand finishing is making sure your form is correct. Whichever hand is taking the layup, the corresponding knee should also be driving up (left hand, left knee).
The basics can be boring, but you need to drill them to the point where it becomes muscle memory. From there, you can add different moves to your repertoire. I would start with reverse layups with each hand, specifically mastering the spin that it requires. From there, learning moves like floaters and other one-handed layups are natural progressions.
Move without the ball
Do you know which players coaches love the most? You guessed it, the guys who move without the ball.
Arguably the best example of that is Klay Thompson. After all, he scored 60 points in a game with just 11 dribbles. That doesn’t happen without insane off-ball movement. There are countless compilations of Thompson moving without the ball, I would recommend heading to YouTube and watching them immediately after finishing this article.
Luckily for those of us who aren’t Klay Thompson, this key doesn’t require an otherworldly shooting ability. It requires effort.
In your next practice, make a mental note not to stand still for more than five seconds, unless your team is running a specific play that requires it. Cut to open spaces, set a variety of screens, just stay active.
That movement will create scoring opportunities for you and your teammates. After all, a player who is constantly in motion requires consistent attention from the defender.
Those are three keys that you can immediately add to your offensive game to become a better basketball player. Stay tuned for my next article, which will break down three keys to improve your defense!