Basketball is a great mix of athleticism, skills, and court awareness. Playing the game, you learn how to put these parts of the game together, but you really improve as a player when you work on each of these parts in isolation.
You don't get ballhandling skills like Kyrie unless you spend hours working on your dribbling, and you don't become a shooter like Steph Curry without shooting thousands of shots!
The training equipment presented in this article will help you get the most out of your workouts.
This might seem obvious, but the most important training equipment for a basketball player is a good basketball!
The most popular indoor basketball is the Wilson Evolution. The ball comes with thousands of micro-touch points and a deep channel design which really improves the grip, especially if the ball is broken in properly. It also has moisture-wicking channels that take the sweat on your hands and absorb it as you play – this way you don’t lose your sharpshooting skills even when your hands are dripping wet.
If your team is using another ball in games, it might make sense to buy yourself this ball and really get used to the handle and feel of the ball you play important games with.
Basketball Return System
This is something I wish I had as a kid. I used to spend hours shooting free throws, and if you don’t have a rebounder you spend most of the time chasing the ball down the driveway. A ball return system not only allows you to do a lot more shooting in the same time period, but it also lets you practice catch and shoot situations you couldn’t simulate otherwise.
When I grew up I had a basketball hoop in the driveway and I would spend hours shooting free throws, pull-up jumpers, and three-pointers. But there is one shot that is very common in basketball that you can't really practice when you are on your own: the catch & shoot.
Players like Klay Thompson, J.J. Reddick, or Ray Allen have perfected the art of catching & shooting within fractions of a second. The Solo Assist allows you to work on this skill without a buddy passing the ball.
If you want to see the Solo Assist in action check out this Youtube video.
Vertical Jump Training Program
Every basketball player wants to be able to dunk! But not a lot of players are actually able to do it...
If you are looking for a gift for a disciplined basketball player who wants to work on his game, why don't you get him the tool that will make him jump higher and improve his athleticism?
I did the 8-week Vert Shock program myself and improved my vertical from 29 to 37 inches and became a consistent dunker for the first time in my life!
My Tip: Find out more about why I think that Vert Shock is the best vertical jump training program, especially for young and motivated high school players!
Weighted basketballs look, feel, and dribble similar to regular basketballs but are much heavier at either 3 lbs or 6 lbs . Spalding also sells a basketball that is 10% larger than a regular basketball at 33".
The increased weight of the ball strengthens your grip, makes your dribble stronger, and helps you snap passes like never before. If you feel like your upper body could use a little more strength this is a great way to work on it in a basketball-specific way!
If you are looking for inspiration for a heavy-ball workout check out this Youtube video.
All Net Shooter
The All-Net Shooter is an innovative design that attaches to your fingers and spreads out your hand to better palm the ball during shooting. This helps you control the direction of your shot and avoids the balls "slipping" off of one or the other side of your hand.
The idea is that you form a habit that will stay with you after you take the Allnet Shooter off. If your shot often misses left/right (instead of long or short) getting the All-Net Shooter is almost guaranteed to improve your shooting.
Home Court AI App
The Homecourt AI app was created in 2017 by former Apple, Google, and Facebook engineers and raised money from the NBA team owners, players, and the NBA itself.
It uses the camera of your smartphone to track your dribbles, shots, and moves. For example, you can set it up on your court before a shootaround, and afterward, the app will tell you exactly how many shots you made, from where you shot, and it even gives you recommendations on your shot angle and release time.
Recently they also teamed up with Nike to offer interactive workouts created by Kyrie Irving. So, if you want Kyrie to teach you his deadly crossovers and dribblings, check out the HomeCourt app!
Steph Curry's Masterclass
Kids love Steph Curry. And they will love his masterclass too!
In this collection of 17 online video lessons (over 4 hours of video), they will learn how to shoot, dribble and score the basketball like the 2x NBA MVP and 3x Champ.
The masterclass also comes with a 54-page workbook, shot-tracking worksheets, and the chance to ask Steph Curry questions during the “office hours”. It's a unique opportunity to learn basketball from one of the best players of all time!
My Tip: Want to learn more? Check out my thorough review of the masterclass!
To get better at basketball you need to put in as much time as possible. I never had enough time in the gym to practice in ideal conditions, but fortunately, we had a basketball hoop in our driveway that allowed me to work on my shot whenever I wanted!
If you don't want to ruin your good indoor basketball when it bounces into your mom's rose garden it might make sense to get a more durable outdoor basketball.
I'm a big fan of the Spalding Zi/O as it provides a good mix of outdoor durability and indoor handling.
A jump rope is a great tool to warm up before your basketball practice or game as it gets the blood flowing and activates muscles all over the body.
Focusing on short and quick ground contact is a form of plyometric exercise that improves the "elasticity" of your lower leg and adds to your quickness and the speed of your first step.
Skipping rope also improves your coordination as it's not as easy as it might look to synchronize your hand and leg movements, especially if you go for more challenging drills.
An agility ladder like the SKLZ ladder is a great tool for ambitious basketball players who want to improve their footwork and coordination. Almost every good basketball coach will do some type of agility work during pre-season, so working at it at home is also a great way to attract the attention of the coach.
An agility ladder helps you improve your speed, agility, and quickness. In-game, this training will help you to stay in front of players on defense and improve your first step and shiftiness on offense.
Using a foam roller like a Blackroll doesn't directly improve your game, but it improves recovery times and reduces injury risk. In turn, you spend less time with your physiotherapist and more time working on your game!
The myofascial massage technique improves blood circulation in the muscles and relaxes and reduces the tension in the muscles after a game or hard workout.
So if you suffer from tight hamstrings or lower back pain after workouts, you should definitely try out some Blackroll exercises.
Staring at the ball while dribbling is one of the most telling signs of a beginner basketball player.
Looking at the ball improves the control over your dribbling, but you lose the ability to see what's going on on the court. You don't see your players cutting, or the help defense rotating from the weak side to steal your ball.
That's where dribbling goggles come in handy. They block your vision so you have a harder time seeing the ball which forces you to dribble by feel.
So if you have troubles with tunnel vision as soon as you start dribbling, the dribbling goggles are a great training equipment for you!
Basketball Defender Dummy
You don't have a brother, sister, or friend who likes pretending to defend (who does??). The basketball defender dummy is the next best thing!
The dummy is easily portable, quickly assembled, and the height is adjustable between 6.5 and 8.5 feet which allows you to practice your shot with a hand in your face. You can also use the dummy to practice your spacing doing crossovers, spin moves, or euro steps.
Overall, the defender dummy is a great tool if you want to take your time working out alone to the next level!
Cones / Court Markers
These cones are 2 inches tall, come in 4 different colors (5 each), and won't break if you step on them.
How you want to use them is limited by your creativity only. You can use them to mark spots on the floor for shooting practice, set up an agility drill, or use them for dribbling exercises.
A very versatile training tool and part of every basketball coach's inventory for a good reason!
Many advanced basketball dribbling drills use tennis balls to improve the effectiveness of your workout. They are a great tool to work on your hand-eye coordination and make sure that you don't look at the basketball while dribbling.
You can also learn how to use your off-arm while dribbling which is very helpful in-game situations when you need to protect your dribble from opponents swiping at the ball with your off-hand.
You can check out this Youtube video to get some ideas on how to incorporate tennis balls into your workouts.
You often see blocking pads used in big guy workouts in the NBA. Trainers use them to simulate a defender bodying up under the basket while reducing the bumps and bruises a sharp elbow would cause.
They are also very useful in practicing contested layups, forcing players to concentrate on their shot through contact. This can lead to a better shooting percentage and more three-point plays.
If you have a friend who wants to take turns using the blocking pad, this can be a very fun and efficient workout!
The dribble stick is made off an aluminum center post with 4 arms that are fully adjustable in direction and height. You can use it to improve hand positioning, stance, and speed with the ball. The arms enable a wide variety of drills for ball control, speed with the dribble, plyometrics, and agility.
Check out this video to get a better idea of how to incorporate the dribble stick into your workouts.
Plyo boxes are probably the best tool to work on your vertical jump. You can set up three different heights depending on how you place the box which allows you to adjust the intensity of depth jumps, box jumps, and other plyometric exercises.
Plyometric exercises are characterized by very short ground contact times and explosive movements. These exercises teach your central nervous system to contract more of your muscle fibers at the same time which will make your vertical jump height increase and your first step become more explosive.
Workouts using resistance bands are commonplace in the NBA. Players like Steph Curry use them to improve their core strength, speed, and power.
There are different types of resistance bands: the SKLZ Recoil 360 pictured here is attached to your hip and stretches from 8 to 22 feet allowing for increasing resistance up to 50 pounds.
There are also
resistance band loops
that are often used in leg strength exercises, stretching, and warmups.
Have you ever noticed how difficult it can be to miss on purpose when you are doing rebounding drills? And when you try to miss more blatantly, you hit the rim in very unnatural angles resulting in rebounds that don't really resemble in-game situations.
The attachable rejector of SKLZ Double Double solves this problem by shutting down the rim.
With the rejector removed the inner diameter of the rim is reduced to 15" in order to encourage a higher arc on your shot which will improve your shot accuracy.
These shooting spots are perfect if you want to set up your own three-point shooting contest. I personally, like them better than cones because there's a much-reduced injury risk if you step on them and they take up a lot less space in your backpack.
The numbers on the spots also allow you to use them in reaction skills where your coach yells out a number and you have to react accordingly.
Weighted vests are a great way to increase the intensity of a workout. Especially exercises that try to improve your power and speed can profit from the added load of weight on your body. The added bonus: once you take off the vest after a tough workout you'll feel super tight on your feet:-)
They are also a much better option compared to ankle weights as they distribute the weight much more naturally around your upper body which significantly reduces the injury risk.
I hope this list of basketball training equipment gave you some ideas on how you can work on improving your game. Are there any tools that made a big difference for you that I missed? Let me know in the comments!