Practice

If you want to be a great player then you're going to have to practice your skills. The Training section on this web site is a resource to help you with that.
We plan to build it up to include all the key skills and give you specific things to practice as well as helping you to structure your personal training.
There's a little bit of theory to help you understand how to get the best results, and lots of practical suggestions and helpful videos.

Practicalities

You've got to find some time on a court. There are lots of outdoor courts to be had if the weather's good enough.
You can put up a hoop at home and use the drive or road, so long as it's quiet.
You can hire a badminton court at one end of a Sports hall and ask them to swing the hoop out for you. This generally costs around £8.00 and you could share the cost with a friend.
For many skills you'll only need a few square metres of concrete or tarmac.
One way or another, you've got to find a way to get some practice in or you'll progress very little.

Understanding

If you've ever seen a toddler trying to walk you'll know that they are substantially rubbish at it. You can see the look of concentration on their little screwed up faces as they try to get their limbs to move whist still keeping their balance. I imagine that, by this age, you've pretty much nailed it, and in fact, you probably don't have to think about it at all; your legs just do their thing and you seem to stay upright whilst moving forward. Miraculous!
Whenever you learn a new physical skill, then it's like being a toddler again. A huge amount of your brain is engaged just to get your body to move in the right way. it takes effort and concentration to get the movement right every time and there's little left for anything else.
When you've done it many, many times then it becomes like walking. You don't have to consciously think about it at all. We talk about a movement getting into 'muscle memory'. Of course, there is no memory in your muscles and it's still your brain that's commanding and controlling the movement, but now it's a part of your brain that's operating unconsciously leaving your conscious mind free to focus on other things.

Muscle memory



Where are you at?

You need to decide where you are on this diagram with regard to each of the skills you're trying to acquire. For one you'll be right at the left hand end, for others further along.

Starting out

early days

If you're at the left hand side (the toddler end) then you need to take as much time as you can to repeat the movements without pressure and with your full concentration.

  • Take shots from close in to get the 'form' right.
  • Work on improving one part of shot at a time
  • Work on static dribble skills
  • Concentrate on making your body do what you tell it.
  • Be prepared to repeat many times with limited success.

Intermediate

getting-it-nailed

If you've been working on a skill for a while then you can set yourself specific targets and up the intensity whilst all the time still concentrating on controlling your movements.

  • Work on specific aspects of your shot. Foot position, hand position, elbow position, follow through etc.
  • Add movement such as pull-up and step-back shots.
  • Speed things up a little
  • Practice dynamic dribble moves as well as static.

Advanced

automatic

When you can perform a skill successfully more than 60% of the time then you can start to put some pressure on. This makes all the difference because, in a real game, you will be under pressure and you have to be able to perform.
We want to work towards the skill becoming automatic, which means that your conscious brain is not involved at all.

  • Work to a higher percentage and keep going until you hit it.
  • Put yourself under time pressure by timing how quickly you can get off and rebound 10 shots
  • Work until you're tired and out of breath and see if you can still perform the skills.
  • Get someone to defend you with your dribble moves and try and finish each move with a score.

Onwards and Upwards

Click on the resources below to take you to some more information on how to manage and structure your practice and for specific ideas for drills and skills.

Practice theory

Structuring your practice

Shooting

Free throws

Basic ball skills

Dribble moves