If you want to be a better basketball player, there is only one way to do it. Arriving early and staying late. Countless hours in the gym putting up an endless number of shots. Relentlessly working on the fundamentals of the game, with an uncompromising will to improve. Yes, we are talking about practice… not a game, but practice. If you ask around the NBA who the hardest working players were, one name rises to the top.
In his decorated 20 year career, Kobe Bryant never once stopped working to get better. Everyone has their favorite Kobe workout story, but they all share a common theme. He was up before anyone else, worked out harder than anyone else, and showed an unrivaled determination every single day. Most teammates of Kobe will agree, he was a rare breed. Even those with similar abilities couldn’t match his work ethic. And as the next generation of basketball talent begins to develop its game, they’d be wise to learn a thing or two from one of the best to ever do it.
While you may not be to the point of matching Kobe’s 800 shots a day in your workout routine, there are ways to work more efficiently with your time on the court. Maker of the official NBA game ball, Spalding has also developed a series training basketballs that are designed to improve all facets of your game. Offering both weighted and oversized basketballs that feel and bounce just like regular balls. These tools can be the difference between a good player, and a great one.
Weighted basketballs have been around for years, and their effectiveness is backed by the testimonials of players everywhere. Many think a weighted ball is just for improving shooting range, which it does. But using a weighted ball to improve dribbling, passing, catching, and rebounding is just as impactful. The weighted basketball builds up the muscles in the arms, as well as strengthens the fingers and wrists. This leads to better grip on the ball and more control. Spalding makes balls weighing both 3 lbs and 6 lbs, allowing you to choose the appropriate size for your abilities. So whether you’re unleashing a lethal crossover or sliding a pass to a back door cutter, your command of the ball will provide confidence you need to take over the game.
Similar to the weighted balls, oversized balls can be a useful basketball training aid, as they too promote arm strength and enhanced ball control. But what these 33” sized balls do best is improve accuracy. The increased size is 12% larger than a standard ball, forcing players to be more precise with their shots. These balls can be particular effective for shots that require extra touch. Low post hook shots and in-the-lane floaters are both challenging, and demand additional practice. The inclusion of an oversized ball to the training regimen can play a vital part in the improvement with these specific skills.
You may not show up for practice 7 hours early like Mr. Bryant would. But you can take your training to the next level, and see your game elevate to its potential. Add a training basketball to your routine and take a step towards greatness.
Written by Dylan Hamilton, Sports Unlimited