Like all sports, basketball requires a significant amount of practice, training, and conditioning in order to become successful. While there can be some instances in which a person possesses a certain amount of natural talent, it is rarely enough to become a skilled basketball player without years of practice. With that said, it is just as important that players understand common mistakes made when training and conditioning in order to get the most out of their practice sessions, the following being just a few.

Avoiding High-Cardio Workouts

Light jogging is certainly an effective cardiovascular workout, but it can only go so far in developing the levels of endurance required to play basketball. Players should take part in high-intensity drills like sprinting or suicides. These quick workouts help build the joint strength necessary to safely perform the regular, intense movements performed in a basketball game.

Practicing Without Purpose

No workout should be so vague that a slew of drills are performed in a casual fashion. This is not effective in developing long-term skills and will only waste time. Make sure an end goal is set before every practice session. For example, rather than practicing 20 different dribbling drills, set a goal of being able to dribble through your legs with your non-dominant hand to develop better coordination.

Similarly, you should leave the gym or court having broken a sweat. Aim to practice until you are physically exhausted (without overdoing it, of course). Block out any distractions and focus on your end goal without stopping until you’ve successfully achieved it.

Neglecting the Weight Room

While other sports like football and baseball seem to place an emphasis on shear strength, basketball should not be considered an exception. This is also a physical sport that requires power and upper body strength. Try a number of shoulder, back, and arm exercises that help build muscle and balance in your upper body to assist in things like rebounding, boxing out, defending, and more.


Not training on a consistent basis is only going to hurt your chances of becoming a better player. Even practice for a week straight, followed by a week off, can result in a drastic loss of progress. Of course, all players are encouraged to take breaks for their health and safety, but long breaks for days on end is an insult to your potential. Consistency is key.