How To Get An Individual Player To Compete During An Individual Workout Session

By Tj Jones

When working with several players in a skill development session, it′s easier to get the players to compete against each other. You can have players play situational 1 on 1, 2 on 2, or 3 on 3. You could also have players compete as teams against each other. What do you do when you only have one player? How do you get that one player to compete against themselves?

In this article, I have some tips to share on how to get that one player to compete in a skill development workout. If you use these techniques you will have players motivated and wanting to do more. They will bring energy and the competitive nature will come out of them.

  1. Add a clock to the drill - This is a great way to get players to compete. This makes players concentrate more and makes things competitive. Put one minute on the clock and see how many shots that player can make. How many pound dribbles or ball wraps can you do in 30 seconds? Doesn′t matter the drill or the amount of time, just competing against a clock will kick things up a notch. To make things a little more fun let the player know who has the best time or who has made the most shots in a certain amount of time.

  2. Have them compete against you - If you are a coach that can still get out on the floor and play then you can have the players compete against you. Let's take a simple ball handling drill where the player pound dribbles the ball for 30 seconds. You can do the drill along with them to get them to go faster. You can also perform the drill before the workout and set the standard.

  3. Set a record - Players have to see improvement. They can′t always see down the road when they are in skill development sessions. That′s the coach′s job. Have a player go through a drill and record their time or score and then repeat the drill and try to beat that score. For instance, a player could be shooting 10 shots from the corner. After shooting those 10 shots, record how many he/she makes. Repeat the drill and have the player try to beat the score.

  4. Beat the drill - Sometimes the player can compete against the drill. I tell players don′t let the drill bully you, bully that drill. An example of this could be a drill called Champions Shooting Drill. In this drill, the player has to make 3 three pointers, a one dribble pull up going left and right, and a left hand and right hand lay up. Make all of those shots starting in the corner and work your way through the 5 spots (corners, wings, and top of key). To beat the drill you have to complete under 3:30.

These are 4 ways I try to get players to compete when I′m training an individual in a skill development session.

It′s important to remember that when recording information you should keep it to reference at a later date. It′s good to show a player how they have improved. In May it might have taken them 2 minutes to make 10 shots from the corner. Now in July after hard work and a lot of reps, they can make 10 shots under a minute. I hope this article has shown you ways to get your players to compete during an individual workout session.


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TJ Jones says:
9/4/2013 at 6:00:01 PM

Thanks Thomas! I will have more articles coming. In the mean time if you need anything please don't hesitate to ask. Send an email to


Thomas Stevens says:
9/1/2013 at 8:57:09 AM

Super tips... excited that I can start using next week in my recreation workouts...


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