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How to Practice Basketball Without a Basketball

How to Practice Basketball Without a Basketball

How to Practice Basketball Without a Basketball

If you’ve come to this page or to this website, then you probably have a love for the game of basketball.  A deep, innate, oftentimes unsettling love for the sport.  And you probably have the heart and will to excel at the game.  Whether you are just starting out or are a seasoned player, basketball runs through your veins.

But, sometimes, there may come a time where you will want to practice the game but don’t have a basketball with you.  That is why we are going to go over how to practice basketball without a basketball. 

Not only will these drills help you refine your game, but they will also help you to never miss or skip a day of training.

Build Mental Toughness

One of the best ways to practice the game of basketball without a basketball is to work on and build your mental toughness.

Practicing the game of basketball, while imperative and necessary, is only half of the battle.

Rather, the other half, is developing a sense of mental toughness to overcome any obstacle that you may face both on and off the court. This can be done by projecting what you hope to achieve on the court. 

This technique is particularly popular with therapists and psychologists and is called ERP or exposure response therapy.  Oftentimes utilized to treat anxiety, ERP is a methodology that is meant to place you in mental situations which may cause you distress or anxiety.

By placing yourself in those situations, mentally, before an actual real-life situation, you will be more prepared to better handle them.

Watch Basketball Fundamental Tapes

Practicing basketball does not only need to include practicing with an actual ball.

Rather, a great way to practice is to do so by watching film and tapes of basketball greats and coaches.  Learning from them and understanding the strategies they utilize and deploy will help you to enhance your own skills and understanding of the game.

Additionally, watching tapes of specific basketball plays will help you to prepare and execute on those plays come game day.  While watching tapes and videos is obviously no substitute for actual practice, it can definitely be the next best thing.

Wee highly recommend watching the fundamentals of shooting and watching the fundamentals of dribbling to begin with.  You can then move on to the top 5 offensive basketball plays to help you with your own offensive skills.

Work on Your Cardiovascular Skills

Basketball is as much a physical sport as it is a cardiovascular one.  The absence of a basketball should not preclude you from working on your cardiovascular skills and should not be used as an excuse to miss a day of practice.  Rather, take the day without a basketball to work on your cardiovascular skills.

This can be done easily and efficiently.

You should begin by completing a brisk 1–2-mile jog to get your heart-rate up and to begin your cardiovascular endurance.  Run at a pace that you feel comfortable at and at a pace that you can sustain throughout the entire course.

From there, you should complete sets of jump rope and burpees.

Both jump rope and burpees will help you to build your cardiovascular endurance and will be useful and helpful to develop and train your body on jumping and controlling your feet. 

Jump rope is an especially effective workout to build cardiovascular strength.  In fact, just ten minutes of jump rope is equivalent to a full half-hour of running!

Perform HIIT Workouts

If you want to take your endurance to the next level, then we highly recommend performing HIIT workouts.  We’ve previously discussed the benefits of HIIT for basketball training and continue to recommend it as one of the best training programs for athletes.

HIIT, or high intensity interval training, is meant to push your body hard and fast. 

It is an especially good workout for basketball where explosive bursts of energy are needed.

To perform a high intensity interval training workout, you must ensure that you give 100% of your effort during the workout.  Following the workout, you must ensure that you give yourself, and your body, the time to relax and recover.

One great HIIT workout is a 30-second sprint.  To do this, simply sprint for a full 30-seconds at maximum effort.  You should run fast and hard for the full 30-seconds and get as far from your original starting point as possible.  Once you’ve completed the 30-seconds, give yourself approximately 120-seconds, or two-minutes, to rest.

After resting, run back to your original starting point, again as fast and as hard as you can.  Rest for another 120-seconds.  Repeat five times.

Another great HIIT workout you can do is the simple jumping jack.  Perform as many jumping jacks, as hard and as fast as you can for 60-seconds.  Once completed, give yourself another 120-secondd break.  Repeat another five times.

Build Muscular Strength

Basketball is as much an endurance sport as it is a physical one.  And to be successful in the game, you will need to pack on some muscle.  While muscular strength may come more naturally to others, you should ensure you are eating a proper diet and nutrition to help your body and muscles grow.

Under the assumption that you are performing these workouts at home, you will want to utilize your body weight as weight for your workout and routine.

This can be done by completing push-ups and sit-ups.

But there is no reason to stop there.  There are a plethora of body weight exercises that you can perform to help you build muscular strength and definition.

One great exercise are arm circles.  This exercise is particularly useful for basketball as it will train your arms.

To complete an arm circle, simply stand upright with your arms extended to your sides.  Move your arms clockwise for 30-seconds.  Once completed, move your arms counterclockwise for an additional 30-seconds.  Repeat this exercise five times.

In addition, you should perform planks.  Planks are a great core workout and take nothing to do other than mental toughness and fortitude.  Simply lie face down with your forearms on the floor and your hands clasped. 

Extending your legs behind you, rise up with your toes.  Keeping your back straight, tighten your core and hold that position for 60-seconds.

Lastly, you will want to exercise your leg muscles.  The single best workout for this is the squat. 

Standing with your feet parallel, slowly begin to crouch by bending your hips and knees until your tights are parallel to the floor.  Press your heels off the floor to return to a standing position.  If available, hold onto weight with both hands to provide extra difficulty and to build strength.


Working out without a basketball can be tough but it should not be an excuse to skip a day of practice.  There are a number of practices you can complete without a basketball and ways to build mental toughness and sharpen your basketball IQ.  Doing this will not only help you be a better basketball player but will also help you perform come game day.