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Basketball Warm Up Drills

Before tip-off, basketball warm up drills successfully prepare the individual players for the game.

While some players take advantage of basketball warm up drills, I want to be the first to explain that is a horrible decision. Basketball warm-up drills are self-titled that for a reason.

They warm-up your body and prepare you for an hour or two of extensive physical fitness. If your body is not warm, it’s cold obviously, and that makes you much more vulnerable to injury.

Players can tear a muscle easily without proper warm-up.

Your body works as so: When you sit around or stay in a limited range of motion for a long time, your body’s muscles stay stiff and cold.

Like starting up a vehicle after a long winter night, your muscles also need ample time to warm up and get the engine running to full capacity. You cannot simply expect to show up and instantly play at full speed and effort.

Basketball warm up drills are designed by your coach not to only to keep you occupied until tip-off, but also as a way to warm-up your muscles.

Most coaches demand stretching before the team takes the floor. Usually on most game days, the players arrive one to two hours before tip-off. The players suit up and take to the floor, shooting jumpers.

Players who are close to returning from injury, will do light jogs, dribble, and shoot to test out the injured body part. The trainer and coach, along with the player, will reach a decision about whether or not he or she can play tonight.

After early shoot-around ends, the players will return to the lockeroom.

The coach will return to the lockeroom after a short period and begin to address pre-game issues such as starting lineups, keys to the game, and anything else the coach wants to address. The coach will also motivate his players and pump them up for the game.

After this “pep-talk,” the players will stretch and really get their muscles prepared for the game. This should take place about 25 minutes before tip-off.

Once the players are fully stretched and the floor ready, the team will take the floor for basketball warm up drills usually 15-20 minutes before tip-off.

Here are some helpful basketball warm-up drills, in the order they should be done in:



Instruct the players to form two lines both at the half-court line on each side of the hoop. The first player in the line on the right side of the hoop will have a basketball and dribble hard to the hoop. He will finish off the drive with a layup. The first player on the left-side line will run up and rebound the layup. He or she will pass the ball to the next player in line on the right-hand side.

The process continues until all players have done two lay-ups on the right hand side. The first player will then pass the ball over to the left-hand side, and the process will continue until each player has done two left-handed layups.


Shooting Lanes:

Keep the same two lines you formed for layups. The same process will continue, only now the ball handler is allowed to dribble and shoot wherever he or she wants on the court. The player on the other side of the line will rebound and pass to the next in line. The process continues until two shots are taken from each side by every player.


One-on-One Light Dribble:

Form four lines on the baseline. Pair up each player and have the first two in each line start. One player will dribble to the half-court line while the other player casually defends the ball handler.


The goal here is not to steal or “show-up” your teammate, but rather a light way to work on dribbling and defensive shuffling. When the pair reaches half court, instruct the ball handler to pass the ball to the defender. The roles are now opposite as the previous defender now dribbles the ball lightly down the court against a defense.

Light Shoot Around:

Break the team into two groups. One group begins shooting for five minutes, and the roles switch after five. The goal here is to allow players to individually work on their own shots and get any last warm-up’s in. The other group should rebound and pass the ball out to the designated shooters.



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