Top 7 Basketball Workout MISTAKES

Top 7 Basketball Workout MISTAKES

Everyone has heard the expression “players are made in the off season!”  This statement however, isn’t EXACTLY correct. The expression should be:

“Players are made during their off-season WORKOUTS!”

Off-season workouts are far and away the number one way that players improve. Great players are ones that put time and effort into their workouts. If your plan to improve relies solely on the practice time you have with your team, I have some bad news for you. This is not enough! Other players are getting better daily by doing individual workouts to improve their skills.

By deciding to start doing basketball skill workouts,  you are already beginning to separate yourself from the players NOT willing to do this. I’ve spent thousands of hours training basketball players through individual workouts. While in the gym I’ve watched countless other players doing basketball workouts.  I can tell you right now that many players are not improving at the pace they should be. Most are falling into some common workout traps and aren’t getting the most out of their workouts.

Below I’ve listed 7 of the most common basketball workout mistakes that I see on a DAILY BASIS!  After reading through the list, do a quick self-assessment. How many of these mistakes are you making??? Be honest with yourself, and then set a goal so you can fix these mistakes and improve at a faster rate.


7 Basketball Workout Mistakes

1.Failing To Plan 

Stepping into the gym without a plan is usually going to be disastrous. You will spend too much time thinking about what to do next, you will bounce from one drill to the next randomly, you will stop and take a break and post on Instagram about how you are “killing the workout today”.  

The bottom line is, you are wasting your own time. 

Step into the gym with a workout plan that you are ready to follow. You know what drill you are starting with, how many reps you will take, and what the next drill will be. You will be in the gym for less time and get more out of the workout this way.  



2. Reinforcing Bad Habits

If you go to the gym with bad shooting form and take 300 shots, this moves you further away from your goal of being a great shooter rather than closer.  

You just reinforced a bad habit. 

When you come to the gym for your workout, follow the finer details of your workout plan.  If you are doing a shooting workout, make sure you are using correct form. Take the time to analyze your shot. Don’t just put the reps in.  

Constantly strive to improve your footwork, form, or technique of each drill.

Remember, the idea of the workout is to get better. Focus on doing each drill better than the time before. If you don’t, there is a chance you are reinforcing a bad habit.


3. Not Taking Game Shots

Make sure you are focusing on taking game shots…..specifically YOUR games shots. And remember, your game shots might come from different locations on the court than other players

First you must realize where your shot opportunities are within your offense. If your offense uses lots of screening actions, focus on catching and shooting off the screen. If you’re a post-player that rarely steps out to the 3 point line, focus on your shots and your moves within the 15′ area.  I’m not telling you to never work on shooting from the perimeter, rather make sure you focus the majority of your time on the type of shots you’ll see in games. 

Some players come to the gym for an hour and spend 40 minutes working on dunking and 20 minutes on EVERYTHING ELSE.  Basketball is fun and should be fun. Just make sure you are working on things like dunking…..after your primary workout is complete!

The more you can focus your workout time and real game situations, the more you will see your game improve!


4. Practicing At Less Than Game Speeds

This is maybe the most common problem I see in the gym.

Players working on moves or shots but going at about 50% of the speed they will go at in the game. They jog as they toss the ball out to themselves, they take a jump shot and they repeat this over and over. They make a crossover move to the basket that is SLOW and at about 50% speed.

I constantly see players shooting with a partner. Most of the time these players don’t have their hands up calling for the ball or their feet set ready to catch and shoot. They receive the pass from their partner and take their time shooting a jump shot…..and they repeat this over and over.


This is a huge problem with basketball athletes. They may come to the gym with a plan,  but they execute the plan at 50% speed. They are forming bad habits and not preparing themselves for game shots. They might make a high 60% of the shots during this workout, but will probably shoot a MUCH LOWER % in games since they did not practice these shots at game speeds.

Is there a time to go less than game speed during a workout? ABSOLUTELY.  

Slow down when you are figuring out the footwork in a drill or when you are working on correcting a mistake in your shooting form. Slow down in these cases, make sure you are doing things 100% correct, then you can work up to game speed.


5. Always Shooting Fresh

Some players don’t push themselves in their workout. They might go at game speed for their shots, but they stop the workout when they start to get tired or they take long breaks between drills. 

In order to get the most out of your workout, you need to push through and complete the workout when tired. You will end up shooting a lot of your shots during the game while tired. You need to make sure your workout is pushing you to this point and you are practicing moves, ball handling, and shots while you are tired.

And let’s face it, the majority of game winning shots are taken by players who are exhausted on the floor, but still able to push through and hit the big shot at crunch time…..because they have prepared for this!


6. Phone Being Out

Ok, let’s clarify. 

Using your phone to follow a workout you are doing.  This is GOOD!

Using your phone to text or post on social media during the workout. This is BAD!

Obviously if you are using your phone to follow or track your workout, use it.  But way too many players sit and do other things on their phone while they are in the gym. Focus – your workout may last 30-60 minutes.  This is a small window for you to work on improving your game. You need to focus for this time period on 1 thing and 1 thing only…..your workout. 

Basketball is a game that requires discipline on the court. It also requires discipline off the court. Have the discipline to stay off of social media and texting during your workout. 

It’ll pay off and you’ll be happy down the road that you did this.


7. Afraid of Mistakes

Too many players are afraid of making mistakes. They want to look good in the gym. Fear of mistakes holds them back from reaching their true potential.

The great players are great because they can make moves at full speed and hit shots at full speed. The only way you can get to this point though is by making some mistakes. 

Yes, it’s OK to lose the ball when making a move. 

Yes it’s OK to miss a shot because you are working on a quicker release. 

The only way to get better is by pushing yourself.  Mistakes will happen. If you keep doing the workouts and keep going hard, the mistakes will gradually lessen. Going so hard in your workout that you make mistakes is a necessary step to improving.


Analyze Your Workout

OK, which mistakes are you making with your workout?  

Don’t feel bad if you are making some of these mistakes. They are common mistakes and easy traps for everyone to fall into. But now it is time to eliminate these mistakes from your workout so you can begin to reach your true potential. 

Good Luck!

Written By: Paris Davis
One Up Basketball



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