I hear it all the time, a bunch of baloney about how training negatively affects your basketball skill:
- Lifting will hurt my sons jump shot (really? do you think NBA players don't work out?)
- My son needs plyometrics only to improve his jumping (are you sure that's his limitation?)
- My daughter doesn't want to work legs because she runs all the time as it is.
Look, I hate to be the messenger of bad news, but all of the above are false. That's right, people have been telling you a bunch of lies about how you should train and what you should do to become a better basketball player.
Unfortunately, a lot of the time parents and players assume that what they hear is true that they actually start to believe it's true themselves. Maybe you believe the above statements are true? Well, I'm here and I'm ready to change your mind! Let's do some myth-busting!
Myth No. 1: Getting Low on Defense is About Effort
Look, I'm in 100 percent agreement that playing defense is mostly about effort. BUT, getting low on defense has nothing to do with effort and everything to do with proper mobility. Your ability to get into an "athletic" stance is based on your mobility. Mobility, in simple terms, is nothing more than the ability for your joint (not just muscle or soft tissue, i.e. flexibility) to move through a motion.
In order to get into an athletic position you must have proper ankle, hip, and upper back mobility. If you've had multiple ankle sprains; sit in class with poor posture all day; and find yourself not being able to touch your toes, you probably have restricted mobility in at least one of the three joints.
Myth No. 2: Jumping is All About Plyometrics
Here's the deal: jumping is about plyometrics, but only for those people who need to improve their neural efficiency. What you say? Plyos take advantage of the strength that your body already possesses--basically plyo's allow you to "express" that strength quicker and faster than you previously could.
The issue here, is that while everyone needs plyos, more athletes' weak link in jumping is strength! If you haven't touched a weight before, it's time to start training now and watch your vertical continue to go up.
Myth No. 3: Lifting Will Affect my Shooting Ability and My Shot
Look, I've never seen a person's shot get worse from lifting. Shooting is a basketball skill (a fine motor skill at that) which requires thousands of hours and repetitions of practice to develop; and it doesn't just go away from a few weeks of lifting.
If you're a serious basketball player you should be shooting regularly anyway. As long as you continue to shoot regularly, the extra strength will do nothing but help your shot improve by making it easier and more effortless.
Myth No. 4: Run Distance to Improve your Conditioning
No, it doesn't have anything to do with improving your aerobic capacity. I know, I've heard it all before...it's always one of the first questions I have to answer for basketball players. I like you, therefore I'm gonna let you in on a little secret: there is not such thing as a true "aerobic base."
Back in the day (think old school) people used to believe that improving aerobic capacity was the first thing you should do to increase endurance. The problem with this belief is that research now shows it to not be true. "Conditioning," is muscle and movement specific, meaning that if you never train moving laterally you will never condition the muscles that move you side to side. Conditioning also consists of improving your body's specific tolerance to certain work:rest periods.
Bottom line, train how you play: short explosive intervals (5-30 seconds), and in all planes of motion (straight, shuffle, jumping, etc.).