In order to improve your game, you must think outside the box. Plenty of NBA players practice other sports and other workouts in order to help them have an edge in the game of basketball. There are practices out there that can perfectly complement and improve your skills in basketball, as everything is relative if you can find a way to fit the pieces together. Let’s take a look at some sports and practices that can help take your hoop skills to the next level.
1. Boxing– Okay, so if an NBA player knocks someone out in a basketball game, they’re not going to get anything but a hefty fine and then some. However, there are skills in boxing that definitely apply to basketball. Boxing is such an intense cardio workout that it complements basketball very well, allowing players to play at an intense level for a longer amount of time. From jumping rope to drills on the focus mitts, boxing will definitely increase your endurance. In addition, the footwork that’s learned and practiced in boxing can apply to defense in basketball. Cutting off the ring is definitely beneficial for a baller to learn because it will help them stay in front of their man on defense. Not to mention, boxing allows your hands to be quicker and you reaction to be sharper. Plenty of NBA players, such as Carmelo Anthony and David West, practice this popular sport that they should hold live NBA sparring sessions. If you’re thinking about ways to improve your basketball game, try putting on some gloves.
2. Yoga– This one is kind of obvious and is beneficial for almost any sport. There are two essential things that can definitely give you an edge on the hardwood floor: strength and flexibility. That’s exactly what yoga can do for you. Driving down the lane, you’ll have an edge if you have to extend or contort your body to get a shot up. For players that want finesse and power, then yoga will couple nicely with the routine basketball workout. Additionally, with added flexibility, that means a player is less susceptible to getting injured. One of the elite players in the league that incorporates yoga in his workout routine is Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin.
3. Volleyball– There is quite a few NBA players out there that also play volleyball. It’s an intense sport that urges players to use good mechanics, like solid hand-eye coordination, strength, quickness, and foot work. Not to mention, volleyball helps you practice perfect timing, which helps because a lot of smart split-second decisions need to be made in basketball. Another thing that both sports have in common is jumping, as you need to be able to time your jumps to block in both sports; in addition, you also need to time your jumps well if you want to rebound the rock, and volleyball helps with that too. The legendary Wilt Chamberlain is one of several NBA ballers that have practiced volleyball.
4. Biking– It’s simple. All you have to do is peddle and steer. Sometimes the simple things are the most effective. Getting on a bike and peddling to your next destination will allow you to stay in shape, increase your endurance, and also potentially boost your explosion mode on the court. Endurance is important in the game of basketball because fatigue is always around the corner. If a player’s endurance isn’t up to par, by the time the fourth quarter rolls around, the ball gets heavier, the player’s knees start to give in, and their arms become noodles. Ballers like LeBron James make it a point to bike often. Did I mention it’s also an eco-friendly way of transportation? If that’s not a win-win situation, I just don’t know what is.
5. Strength training– All Kevin Durant jokes aside; strength training is more than just lifting free weights in order to look like a bodybuilder. The point isn’t to be bulky, but to be, well, stronger. For basketball players, building some mass in the weight room will allow them to withstand harder hits, and bounce back faster from collisions in the paint. Exercises like squats, curls, bench press, planks, and so on are the standard for strength training, but they shouldn’t be overlooked. How Durantula manages not to get broken in half is a miracle. Okay, so maybe just one Durant joke.
So, there you have it: five ways to improve your basketball skills through other sports and practices. Of course, playing more basketball won’t hurt either; just don’t sit around thinking you’re getting better by playing NBA 2K games.