Basketball Training and Advice

How to Clean Your Basketball | Looking After Your Best Training Partner August 28, 2015 14:48

If you think you’re working hard during basketball training, take a second to consider the poor basketball that’s been thrashed about the place; bounced over and over and over and over, thrown at the backboard, swished through the net.

With the plight of your poor basketball now in mind, lets take some advice from the experts at Molten to see how you should be caring for your basketball.

HOW TO CLEAN NATURAL LEATHER BASKETBALLS

If you’re the proud owner of a ball like the Molten BGL basketball, then this is for you.

Natural leather basketballs should always been cleaned gently with a specifically designed natural leather cleaner, which would be available at most supermarkets. The cleaning agent should be applied to a soft cloth before being applied to the basketball.

After cleaning, wipe away any left over leather cleaner, and with a clean cloth give the ball a polish.

If you unadvisedly took your BGL outside, and need to remove mud stains and the like, you will need to use plenty of water and a good leather shampoo.

Do not submerge and leave your basketball in water or any kind of cleaning agent. Simply wash the surface of the basketball, and leave to dry in a well ventilated place that is not in direct sun light.

For the GL in particular, you should not try to deflate the basketball in anyway, as this can cause creasing the leather, and also cause damage to the seams.

HOW TO CLEAN SYNTHETIC LEATHER BASKETBALLS

This would more specifically relate to the Molten BGE, BGGX and BGMX basketball series, which are commonly used as game and training basketballs in the BBL, WBBL, and at schools and clubs across the UK and Europe.

Unlike a natural leather basketball, good old soap and water should be able to do the trick for most cleaning jobs here. Again, don’t submerge the basketball in any sort of liquid and leave it (very important). Instead, use a damp cloth to wipe the surface of the basketball. Use a bit of elbow grease to rub off any dirt and grit as necessary.

For more ingrained stains you should use a specially designed synthetic leather cleaner, or for a very dirty basketball, use plenty of water and a mild soap or detergent to clean it.

Leave the basketball to dry an a well ventilated area, out of direct sun light.

HOW TO CLEAN RUBBER BASKETBALLS

This would be the likes of the Molten BGR basketball series. Rubber basketballs tend to have a more textured surface so dirt can hide more securely between the pebbles (little bumps) that cover the basketballs surface.

That being the case, you can again use basic soap and water like with the synthetic leather basketballs, but this time you can give it more of a scrub.

Using warm, soapy water, use a sponge or a cloth to give the basketball a good scrub to help remove as much dirt as possible. Sometimes using a soft brush, like the type you’d use to do your dishes or a nail brush, will help with really ingrained dirty - however we wouldn’t recommend then using that brush on your dishes or your nails, ever again.

Leave the basketball to dry an a well ventilated area, out of direct sun light.

POINTS TO REMEMBER WHEN CLEANING YOUR BASKETBALL

  • Never leave it immersed in water or detergent.
  • Dry thoroughly after washing.
  • Be wary of stronger detergents which may cause colours on the basketball to fade.
  • NEVER use hairdryers or other heated appliances to dry your basketball.

ADDITIONAL ADVICE IN CARING FOR YOUR BASKETBALL

  • Always store in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight.
  • Never leave a leather basketball exposed to high temperatures or humidity (such as in the boot of your car on a really hot day) as the basketball will lose it’s finely tuned shape and the surface will deteriorate.
  • Always keep your basketball away from fire.
  • Don’t use the creams or sprays that are meant for protecting leather on shoes and that sort of thing, as it will make the surface of the basketball slippery and less capable of absorbing sweat as you’re playing.
  • When inflating your basketball, always moisten the needle before inserting it to avoid damaging the valve.
  • Since we established that your basketball gets a more serious work-out than you do, always give your basketball a rest. By having a couple of basketballs in rotation, you can seriously pro-long the life of your basketballs.

That's it folks. Just a few simple pointers for looking after your basketball, and making sure it sticks around to help you with your training regime for many years to come. 

While the advice above came from the experts at Molten, you can of course apply the principles above to Spalding basketballs and Baden basketballs


Steph Curry Practices with the Shotloc Basketball Shooting Trainer March 10, 2015 16:46

Steph Curry Shotloc 

One of the best shooters in the NBA, Steph Curry, took time out to trial the Shotloc basketball trainer to see how it works, and how it can improve your shooting in the game of basketball.

The SKLZ Shotloc basketball trainer is a flexible mold that fits over your four fingers to stabilise the way that you hold the basketball, and to inevitably improve shooting accuracy and ball control.

In the video, Curry hits the practice court wearing the Shotloc, and makes some observations about how it can help players become better at handling and shooting the basketball.

As Curry points out, the Shotloc keeps the ball out of the palm of your hand, and in your fingertips, which is the correct position for the basketball to be in your hand. This positioning gives you better control of the ball when both dribbling and shooting.

"I always learned that shooting was 100% confidence" said Curry, while noting that the most important thing that you can do to get that confidence, and become a better shooter, is to learn the right form, then repeat it over and over until it becomes second nature.

By getting in the gym, using the SKLZ Shotloc to achieve good form, and practicing the mechanics of good shooting, you can build up the confidence needed to be a good shooter.

By repeating that form over and over again, the better shot mechanics will start to become second nature, so you won't have to worry about the underlying work during a game. You can let nature take it's course, while you take care of your defenders.

If anyone should know about that, it would be Steph Curry. Just check him out turning people inside out and knocking down the shot with more confidence than anyone in the league.

Buy Shotloc at Basketball Megastore


Kyrie Irving Shows You How to Score By Spinning the Ball Off the Backboard February 19, 2014 13:23

It's been a while since we dropped a good video on our Training and Advice Blog, so we were happy to see this nice little tutorial from Kyrie Irving pop up over at Ballislife.com.

There's no doubt that Irving, who plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers, is one of the most exciting young players in the league. After all, he just won MVP at the NBA All-Star game last weekend.

We all know that he's got sick handles, and that he's also got a knack for dropping that ball in off pretty much anywhere on the backboard, from any angle.

In the video, Irving explains that there are so many angles on the backboard that you can score the ball from if you use a bit of spin, and that to master hitting those sports just right you need to practice.

Watch Irving show you how to spin the ball in off different parts of the backboard, how you should practice that, and why it's useful in game situations.


The Secret Behind Kevin Love's Rebounding January 11, 2014 21:29

NBA rebounding machine, Kevin Love, sat down with Grant Hill on Inside Stuff to talk rebounding.

This season, Love is averaging 25.9 points, 13.3 rebounds (second in the league) and 4.1 assists per game.

Check out the inspirational video below, of Kevin Love sharing what has made him such a great rebounder. 


Jeremy Lin Takes You Through Some Two-Ball Dribbling Drills For Better Handles August 28, 2013 11:17

Since the official trailer for Linsanity - The Jeremy Lin Story, has been making the rounds this week, we thought we'd drop in a couple of ball handling drills from Jeremy Lin himself.

It's important to know that there's nothing complex about what Lin is doing in these Nike Pro Training Drill workouts, and that's a good point about practice and training in general. You don't have to be doing seriously complex drills to be getting better, you need to work hard on the fundamentals and your skills through repetition and variation. Even if the drill seems simple, you're still getting better if you work hard to be the best you can at it.

Lin is the point guard for the Houston Rockets, so having good ball control and being able to see the court so that he can make things happen are important for him. In this first video, Lin looks at two-ball dribbling on the spot.

 


As Lin explains, by doing a two-ball drill, you're going to be able to tell which is your weaker hand, and just how much weaker it is than your strong hand. It then gives you the opportunity to work to bring that weaker hand up to speed.

The two-ball drill also improves your ball handling skills overall as you have to really concentrate and get a feel for what you're doing.

You can vary this drill hugely as you get better at the two-ball dribbling. You can dribble the balls together at the same time, or you can alternate the two. You can cross them over in front of you or you can go between your legs. You should aim to be able to complete the drill with your left and right hand performing at the same level. 

As your skill level improves, you should push yourself to be able to perform more difficult variations on the drill. You should also be looking up at all times, rather than down at the balls, to get used to scanning the court for open players and good passes.

Try varying the speed and strength with which you bounce the balls to help work on your arm conditioning and your instinct for the movement of the basketball.

Once you've mastered the two-ball dribbling drill while you're static, you should then put some dynamic movement into it. You can go straight up and down the court, but take a look at Lin's variation.

 


The two-ball zig zag drill mimics the sort of movement that you would do on court during a game, as you move forward against your defender. By putting the zig zag motion into play, you not only have to be able to dribble with both hands, but you have to be able to move forward, and change direction.

Lin goes through this one fairly slowly, which is a good way to start out. You should be getting the mechanics of dribbling right first, then you can slowly start to increase the speed at which you dribble back and forth across the court.

Control is the most important thing to come out of this drill, it's not a race to get finished first.

Next time you head out to practice try and take two basketballs along and give the two-ball drill a try.

Learn to Box Out with Blake Griffin's Box-Out Drill August 19, 2013 10:53

Last week, we took a look at the 'Go Get It' rebounding drill that Blake Griffin and Nike Pro Training Drills had put together to help you work on your rebounding.

If you've been out to the gym and given that a go, then you should have a good grasp of the basics. You should now be exploding to the basketball and maintaining control of the ball once you grab it out of the air. You should have been working on your lateral movement and be getting better at reading the way that the basketball will come back off the basket. 

To compliment that, we're now going to take a look at another important part of the whole rebounding package, and that's boxing out. We're going back to Blake Griffin again for this one, so take a look at how Griffin does the "Box-Out Drill"


There are a few important points to take away from the video.

BOX - When the ball does go up for the shot, you're likely to have your back to the basket and be facing your man on defence, so you should already be in a good position to turn, get low, and press your body into your opponent to prevent them from moving towards the basketball. 

LOCATE & EXPLODE - Once you've boxed out your opponent, and prevented them from making a move towards the basket, you need to locate the basketball and explode out of your box position to rebound the ball.

CHIN THE BALL - When you bring the ball down, your opponent is likely to still be hanging around, along with other players from the opposing team, so you need to keep the ball close to your chin, and hold onto it with strong hands. This prevents anyone from slapping the basketball away from you.

PIVOT & OUTLET - Once you have the basketball, you should pivot away from the opposing player and look for the outlet pass.

The Box-Out Drill is a great advancement from the Go Get It Drill, as it allows you to combine the power and balance that you should have been working on, with the in-game element of having an opponent there, and having to fight for those rebounds.

Keep practicing your boxing out and you could become a much more effective player, helping your team to grab those all-important defensive rebounds that prevent the opposing team from getting easy second chance points.


Blake Griffin Helps You Improve Your Rebounding with the 'Go Get It' Rebounding Drill August 14, 2013 15:13

Rebounding can often be overlooked when it comes to your basketball training. You might spend a lot of time on shooting, dribbling or trying to jump higher so that you can dunk, but you should know that rebounding can be the difference between winning and losing.

If you can improve your rebounding skills then you can be way more effective on the court, and have a real impact on the game. If you can increase the number of offensive rebounds that you can grab, then you are able to get your team second looks at the basket, and more opportunities to score points.

If you can improve your defensive rebounding then you can make sure that the other team isn't getting a second chance to score, and you can be player to spark fast break plays for your team.

Nike Basketball put together a series of videos, featuring NBA stars, that can teach you basic drills to help you get better at things like rebounding. 

In the video below, Blake Griffin of the LA Clippers, takes you through the "Go Get It" rebounding drill. 

You can do this drill with a couple of team mates in order to include the passing, or you can do the same drill by throwing the ball off the backboard by yourself.

Key things to remember when practicing your rebounding:

  • Explode towards to the ball when you are going up for the rebound.
  • Use both hands and work on maintaining control of the ball.
  • Your footwork and balance is important, you need to be able to move laterally and be ready to move off in the direction of the basketball.

Practicing a simple rebounding drill like this will help to improve your jumping ability, your focus when rebounding and your agility on the court. In the end, chasing down that rebound will become second nature, and you will be able to see the impact that it has on your game. 

 


Dwayne Wade Teaches You the Euro Step July 30, 2013 12:49

The Euro Step is a tried and tested way of taking the ball to the basket, making the job easier by confusing your defender and giving you the space you need to make that all-important layup. 

As defined by SportingCharts.com, the Euro Step is;

An offensive manoeuvre in which the player changes direction after picking up his dribble while driving to the basket. After picking up his dribble, the player steps in one direction and then steps in another direction to evade defenders.

In the NBA, the players that are most closely associated with the effective use of the Euro Step are Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat, and Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs. 

Take a look at Wade using the Euro Step to get past Gary O'Neal of the Spurs, in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Playoff Finals: 

If you want to add the Euro Step to your game, and be able to take it to the hoop like Wade, then why not learn from the best?

Here's Dwayne Wade, teaching you how to do the Euro Step. 

Not quite ready? Why not learn the Euro Step from Ginobili instead?

Here's Manu Ginobili taking the thing a step further by showing you how he splits the defence with a pick, then ends up one-on-one under the basket. Either he's going up against a big guy who's not that agile, or a smaller player who's looking for the charge, and therefore isn't going to be thinking about their lateral movement. 

See how Ginobili takes it to the hoop with the Euro Step:


Basketball Sizes - Buying the Right Basketball for You October 16, 2011 12:05

GG7 Molten Basketball Official Matchball of the British Basketball League BBLWhen it comes to buying a basketball, things might not always be as straightforward as they seem. With lots of basketball brands like Molten, Baden, Spalding, Nike, Wilson and Adidas, indoor and outdoor versions, and a range of sizes to choose from, you should consider what you need your basketball for in order to buy the right kind.

Here's just a short guide to what to consider before purchasing your basketball.

Indoor / Outdoor Basketballs

There are 3 main types of basketball. Indoor, outdoor and Indoor/Outdoor. If you just want your basketball for playing round the local park or courts, then an outdoor type will certainly be more durable on the tougher playing surfaces, and last longer in the long run.

If you want a basketball for training on a proper indoor court, then an indoor ball will be more tactile and suited to the smoother indoor court surface.

If you just want an all round basketball that you're happy to get dirty, but can also use indoors, then opt for in indoor/outdoor ball. They'll be tougher than your average indoor ball for sure.

Basketball Brands 

There are lots of brands of basketballs, such as Molten, Baden and Spalding just to name a few. When it comes to choosing a brand of basketball it really comes down to personal preference.

You might have played with a Baden basketball at your local basketball club and liked the weight and how it felt in your hand, and therefore want to buy one of your own, you might be a big BBL fan and want a Molten GG7X Matchball to play like the pros, or you might be a huge NBA fan, and therefore want to go with the big US brand, Spalding.

Along with the brand, there's also the price to consider. £30 - £40 is pretty standard for a good quality basketball, although you can easily pay up to £60 for top of the range balls, and down to £10 for a very basic rubber basketball.  If you only play basketball a few times a year, it might not be worth spending a lot on something that isn't going to get used very often, but if you play every week, you're also not going to want to get something cheap that will need to be replaced in a couple of months.

Basketball Sizes

There are 3 main basketball sizes to consider, size 5, size 6 and size 7.  The size that suits you best tends to depend on age and sex generally.

Size 5 is designed for younger players (girls and boys), up to around 11 years of age. The ball has a circumference of 27.75" and weight of around 18oz. That should be a good fit for their smaller hand size, and be easier to throw than a larger basketball.

Size 6 is designed for players up to 16 years of age (both girls and boys), and is also used in the womens game due it's smaller circumference and weight, compared to the size 7 ball which is used in the mens game. The ball has a circumference of 28.5" and a weight of 20oz.

Size 7 is designed for players aged 16 and above, with a circumference of 29.5" and a weight of 22oz. Size 7 basketballs are the full, official size, which are used in amateur and professional leagues around the world.

A good reason to get the right size ball is that, if you are going to be involved in basketball league matches, then you should practice with the right size ball for that league. Otherwise your muscles and grip will become accustomed to a certain size and weight, but when you play in a game you may end up playing with a heavier, or lighter ball and therefore your shots, passes and dribbling will be slightly off.

It's important for younger players to also play with a small basketball, as the better grip and more manageable weight will ensure that they can develop their skills and confidence more easily.

If you have any questions about which basketball would be best for you or someone that you're looking to buy for, please don't hesitate to get in touch