12 Surefire Basketball Tips for the Off Season - What Should Players Do Between Seasons?

The season is winding down. Routines change, friendships have grown, priorities change. As a player, what should you do now? When practice time comes and there is no practice, what do you do? When there are no games to prepare for, what do you do with your time?

Here are a just a few thoughts I had as to how to recover and prepare for the next season.

1. Take 3 - 4 weeks to relax. It has been a long, physically and mentally draining season. If you want to improve, you have to give yourself a chance to recover.

2. Catch up and get ahead of your schoolwork.

3. Talk to your coach and evaluate your season. Talk about what you did well and what you did not. Determine the areas you need to improve on. Discuss the things you would like to do and how to accomplish them.

4. After taking a month off, start on your off-season workout program. The program should be about 75% skill work and 25% play.

5. Develop your shooting stroke. If you want to become a GREAT shooter and raise your percentage, it MUST happen during the off season. It's just TOO difficult to develop these skills and improve during the season. It must be done during the off season!

6. Start a strength training program. Your objective should be to gain strength from now until the end of the summer.

7. As you enter the summer, add more play to your workout. You should be at about 50% skill work, 50% play. Don't neglect your weight work. Great strength gains can be made during this period.

8. Go to skill development camp. Learn from other coaches, play against different players. The more diverse your summer experience, the better player you will become.

9. When the summer is over, your routine changes. GET AHEAD in the classroom. Once the season starts, it is easy for your schoolwork to slip.

10. Change your workout routine to 25% skill, 75% play.

11. Switch your strength training routine to an endurance and strength maintenance routine.

12. A week before the season, take some time off. Get ready to go.

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Simon says:
5/22/2019 at 10:08:59 PM

I was wondering what should you do if you don't have the equipment to be doing strength training or other sorts of training supplies. Because I'm in that situation

  1 reply  

Jeff Haefner says:
5/23/2019 at 8:36:37 AM

There are plenty of body weight exercises you can do at home... squats, lunges, lateral lunges, planks, side planks, single leg calf raises, pull ups, push ups, Bulgarian split squat, plymetrics, jump rope, etc.


Simon says:
5/22/2019 at 10:08:57 PM

I was wondering what should you do if you don't have the equipment to be doing strength training or other sorts of training supplies. Because I'm in that situation


smith says:
2/18/2018 at 3:26:36 PM

I think a month is a little to long to rest I think you should always play basketball and workout but maybe a little bit less right after the season


Greg White says:
4/19/2017 at 8:44:10 AM

I am a 28 year coaching veteran at Marshall University, UCLA and U of Charleston. Wow. Love your materials. CAN I GET THIS STUFF IN PDF FORM?




Keep up the GR8 work!!!!!


Francis says:
2/3/2016 at 2:13:00 PM

I think this is a v. good article and am considering having my 14 yr. old son follow it. He is playing freshman basketball currently. He's doing a good job but is already asking about AAU ball next month. There are many reasons I do not want to do AAU another year (after playing for almost 7 years). First, I do not see any improvements from playing AAU. I don't see skill development. He's the PG on his HS team and they play in a system - pass pass score. Pass and cut. Basic. it's just very fast, physical and one mistake - you're coming out. It's good competition but way less structured than how he is playing now. With AAU, there is time spent driving to practice, eating out, driving to different states for games and it has taken it's toll on me and our family. You have parents that complain if their kid doesn't play. You have all the fees and I personally get a little frustrated when my kid doesn't play hard and we've spent almost $1000 on hotels at all of these tournaments. That's outside of the registration fee plus the shoe fee - which could be like $600. I know going into it that it's going to cost a lot. But the kids are traveling, they are with their friends and they are having fun. They seem like they could card less about playing hard EVERY game. That attitude is frustrating to us parents adjusting our weekends and free time to be in gyms all Spring.

Anyway with all those reasons, I feel like he should rest, pickup a workout regimen and wait to play in Summer. My son is very upset and thinks this the worst thing ever. He says everybody plays AAU, which is true. All of friends will be playing AAU. I wish there was another option. I feel bad - but I just can't do it another year. He thinks I'm giving up on him. He's a good shooter and a good player. But with AAU unless you are the best player on the team or unless you are very physical and scrappy, playing time is limited and kids do what they can with the time they have on the floor and treat the rest like it's a vacation.

Any advice on other options. There are Spring sports at school which I encourage, but my son is v. disappointed about my decision.


Mit says:
8/4/2015 at 10:10:35 PM

hey guys
I took a year off basketball while completing my college degree. I'm 26 , and I have previously played pro In Eastern Europe. How do I improve myself and get back to where I used to be.
I currently work out and all, but I just need more insight from coaches perspective. What can I do to speed my return?


Ken Sartini says:
4/15/2014 at 8:43:07 AM

Drew -

You are one busy boy!! 3 sports this year.... you are going to have to make a choice soon... and IF you want to go out for basketball, that means you will have to stop wrestling, they are in the same season, at least where I coached they were. It is really hard to be a 3 sport athlete, trying to balance the sports, academics, family and your social life :-)

Have you ever played basketball before? Which sport do you like the most? Which one or ones are you the best at? Answer these questions and I will look for some conditioning drills for you.

Now - There are a lot of basketball camps around, if you can, sign up for a couple.... including the one at your school. Talk to the basketball coach and ask him his opinion too.


Drew says:
4/14/2014 at 9:40:06 PM

im a freshman in highschool, and i play football, wrestling, and track. im 6'0 and195lbs and i really want to play basketball, more than anything in the world. What should I do to get ready for tryouts? I need to cut fat too, and tryouts are in about 7 months!


James says:
4/8/2014 at 9:05:11 PM

perhaps devin is still young and loves to have no break during the offseason.

When i was younger and in my first few seasons coaching i hated when the season finished and the thought of taking a break with no basketball was unheard of but now as im older, i get the benefits and look forward it which makes me a better coach for the future..


Ken Sartini says:
4/8/2014 at 10:24:32 AM

Mike -

IF you ever get a chance to go to one of Breakthrough Basketball camps that Don is holding and you will see how hard he works at teaching fundamentals.

When we were answering questions on the posts... he asked me a few questions... checking my knowledge LOL We get along well and I always recommend his camps to kids and parents I know.

There are lot of good coaches out there that share Don's philosophies.... the KEY is , how do we get this information across to the YOUTH coaches of today?


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