Just because we aren’t together, doesn’t mean we can’t put in the work to get better.
Welcome to the Jr. HEAT GYM presented by Gatorade!
The Jr. HEAT GYM presented by Gatorade is your go-to resource for at-home drills, workouts and instructional tips that’ll keep your game growing. Each week, our Jr. HEAT skills coaches will take you through a 20- minute training session that focuses on a specific part of your game.
This week’s focus: Ball Handling Version 2
The game of basketball is all about control of the ball. The better your handles are, the better player you are. Make sure to add these ball handling tips to elevate your game.
The ball is your friend
Get use to the ball in your in hands, the more time the ball spends in your hand, the more control you have of the ball.
The harder you dribble, the quicker it gets back in your hand.
See the game
Picture when and how you would use each dribble. Don’t waste time working on things you wouldn’t use in a game.
Dribble with a purpose
Your goal is to dribble to the basket. If you don’t have an opportunity to get there, use your dribble to create a jump shot or an opportunity for a teammate.
Your comfort can hurt you
Make your game better by challenging yourself. Pick up your dribble speed to faster then you’re used to, practice against bigger opponents and work on the parts of your game that aren’t perfect. Pushing your practice sessions will only benefit you when it’s crunch time.
Basketball is a game of length
Work to get your opportunities with 1 dribble. You don't beat defenses with your dribble. You beat people with your feet; you SEPARATE from your defense with the dribble.
Basketball is a game of angles
Try to move in straight lines. Whenever you make an "East-West" move (something that takes you toward the sideline), re-capture a "North-South" path (direct line to the basket) as quickly as possible.
Every young basketball player grows up wanting to shoot the ball like Ray Allen, Steph Curry, Glen Rice or Reggie Miller. But not every player will put in the work. Check out these tips below to elevate your shot.
- Start with your knees and hips slightly bent
- Show target hands
- Be mentally prepared to shoot
Hand Placement on the ball
Upon catching the basketball or raising up into a shot, players must be able to quickly adjust their hands to the correct positions on the basketball.
Base and Stance balance
- Feet slightly narrower than shoulder-width apart
- Dominant foot slightly in front
- Weight equally distributed on each foot
Keep your shot pocket consistent
- Keeping a consistent shot pocket ensures players are shooting the basketball the same way every time they shoot.
- Since the shot pocket is often low, this will give player much better rhythm as they go up for their shot.
Pick a spot on the basket – Focus on the target
Players have 4 targets to focus on the basket
- The center of the front of the rim.
- The center of the back of the rim.
- The first loop in the net.
- The entire hoop.
Wrinkle in the wrist
The aim of this step is to get the wrist of the shooting hand bent back as far as possible (usually a little before 90 degrees).
This will give extra power to the shot and will also create the necessary backspin required to be a good shooter.
Elbow under the ball
When you're raising up for the shot, the elbow of your shooting arm should be directly under the basketball.
This requires players to have their upper and lower arm forming an 'L' shape and also have their wrist bent back to 90 degrees.
Hands equal balance for the basketball
The 'balance hand' is what we call the non-shooting hand.
As the name implies, its only role during the shooting motion is helping to balance the basketball on the shooting hand up until the release point.
Rhythm & follow through
Shooting with rhythm involves many parts occurring simultaneously:
- The basketball is lifted up from the shot pocket.
- The knees and hips straighten out as the player raises themselves into the air for power.
- The elbow of the shooting arm straightens up in the air once the basketball has been lifted past shoulder height.
- Near the peak of the shot, the wrist is snapped in the direction of the rim so that they fingers are pointing towards the ground. This will ensure the basketball has good backspin resulting in a 'soft' shot.
- Also at the peak of the shot, the balance hand will release from the basketball keeping perfectly flat. This ensures the balance hand isn't pushing the basketball.
- The final two fingers to touch the basketball should be the index and middle fingers at the same time.
- When you return to the ground, the rhythm of your jump shot will have guided your body forward slightly of where you took off from.When practicing, players should hold this form until the basketball has hit the rim so that they can look up and evaluate their technique.
- Shooting is the most important skill in basketball – it’s the name of the game.
- Shooters are not born they are developed
- There are very few players willing to put in the work required to become a great shooter
Just like ball-handling and shooting, finishing can be improved by working on it daily. Check out these tips on how to improve on driving to the basket.
If you're catching the ball off a pass or bringing it up court, your main focus should alway be to make yourself a threat. If you're a constant threat to shoot, drive, or set up a teammate, the defender will have less ways to guard you.
Become A Better Shooter
One of the best ways to improve your ability to attack the basket is to become a better shooter. If a defender respects your long-range shooting skills, they'll need to front you tighter, which leaves more potential to step through and head towards the hoop.
Attack North and South
Athletes attacking the basket by going around the defender is a common mistake in todays game. Players make it easier for the defense to slide and cut off the attack when moving east & west. Work on moves that allow you to attack the basket directly north and south.
Attack the Defenders Hip with Shoulder
Attacking the defender's hip gives you a better angle towards the basket, forces the defender to drop step, and ensures your center of gravity is low all at once. If you're tight, stiff, and standing straight up, you're easier to guard.
Study every single finish you can find! Watch film, study and practice. Watch the best players in the world in the NBA, learn how they step up and finish all their attacks to the basket.
- BEING ON TIME
- BEING PREPARED
- A GOOD ATTITUDE
- BEING COACHABLE
- A STRONG WORK ETHIC
- HANDLING ADVERSITY
- GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP
- ENCOURAGING TEAMMATES
- BEING KIND AND CONSIDERATE
- CREATE GOOD HABITS
The game of basketball has changed over the years. One thing that hasn’t changed is that your game isn’t complete without a post game. Check out these tips to improve your post game from coach.
Low Post Position
You need to be comfortable in a down and athletic position. Young players must get used to having a wide, low stance. When you’re under the basket, the stronger your base and position is, the more opportunity you will have for the shot or rebound. Good low post position’ doesn’t necessarily mean as close to the basket as possible
Players have a tendency to rush their post moves when they catch the basketball on the low block or close to the basket. This can lead to bad decisions and poor shots. Understand you do have time to slow down, assess the situation, and then make your move. Being patient on the low block will result in better decisions and increased scoring from your post moves.
Use Both Hands
If you are right hand, practice finishing left, if you are left handed finish right. Work on finishing with you weak hand to make your game stronger. If you’re only able to finish with your preferred hand, your scoring options are limited by 50%.
Pass out of the Post
Once you become a player who can score consistently in the low post, the defense will have no choice but to double team you to prevent you from scoring. A great player on the low post can whip a pass across court to an open teammate on the opposite wing or drop a small bounce pass off to a teammate cutting to the hoop. Your first look must be to score, but be ready to find your teammates.
When you’re playing in the low post, there’s going to be a lot of contact. Embrace contact and relentlessly attack your opponent to score, get to the free-throw line, and get your opponent in foul trouble. Whether it’s fighting to secure position on the low post or a defender landing on you after a shot fake, contact is coming. The best post players love it.
Being willing to sprint down the floor on every possession is important for two reasons:
- You’ll get several wide open layups every game.
- You’ll get to ‘your spot’ quicker.
Even if you don’t get a quick layup, sprinting the floor will allow you to get to the spot you score best from and establish position early.
Let’s be honest, the name of the game is shooting. You can never put in enough work on your shot. Add these tips to your game to bring your shot to the next level.
Focus on reps close to the basket
This will allow you to build your range and confidence while identifying problems with your shot
Begin each practice by shooting easy baskets from the paint
Concentrate on your mechanics before every practice
Every time you miss a shot – Diagnose it
Look at what went wrong with your mechanics, adjust accordingly, then try again
Why is your shot short or long
Shots that come up long or short tend to be a matter of finding rhythm through more reps
Why is your shot going left or right
Missing left or right usually means a problem with your core mechanics, ask a parent or coach to evaluate your shot
Start close and work your way out
As practice goes on, gradually increase your distance from the basket, taking different and more difficult shots until you’re shooting from the three-point line
Keep building up your endurance until you’re able to make 100 perfect shots over the course of a single practice
Sure, blowing straight by a defender and taking it right to the rack is nice. But if you can integrate more patient attacks into your finishing game, your game will be even more effective.
Learn to love the glass
The backboard is your best friend in the paint. Learn the angles, the more you know how the ball travels off the backboard the better finisher you’ll be.
Work on Protecting the ball
After the last dribble, keep the ball away from the hands of your defender by placing the ball on your outside hip. We tell campers to “Lock it in your pocket” .
Footwork is Key
Instead of practicing the same close-range move over and over like lay-ups, work on jab steps, euro steps & fadeaways.
Practice finishing against a bigger, stronger opponent which will forces you to develop a wide array of footwork.
Patience is a virtue
When you get close to the hoop, it's natural for young players to rush and feel like they need to quickly get a shot up. Practicing techniques like jump-stops and pump fakes can make you an even deadlier finisher and help you live on the free-throw line.
Your shot always has room for improvement. It’s all about proper techniques and repetition. Pay attention to these tips on shooting from Coach Fiorentino.
Keep Your Eyes On the Rim
Players will focus on the arc of the ball. Don’t. Find the rim as early as you can, and keep your eyes focused on the target
Pay Attention To Your Balance and Your Stance
Your feet need to be shoulder-width apart. Your knees should be slightly bent.
Gripping the Basketball
Your fingers need to be spread apart enough to balance the basketball in just one hand, and the ball should sit right on your fingers. Your off-hand is on the side of the ball to balance your shooting hand and releases at the instant the ball leaves your shooting hand.
Your Release is Important
Make sure the ball is released before you reach the top of your jump. Your legs generate power and distance in your shot, use them! Bending your knees = LIFT.
Always Correct Your Shot
It’s easy to slip into bad habits. And the more you do a bad habit, the more it becomes part of your game. Make sure to identify bad habits and reset your shot to work on the fundamentals of shooting.
You are ready to extend your range is when you make 11 out of 20 shots in a normal shooting motion (45%) from any given spot on the court.
Always listen to your coach. So before you put in the work, hear what Jr. HEAT Head Coach Tony Fiorentino has to say about Ball Handling.
- Keep your head up and look at the other rim when dribbling the ball up the court
- Dribble at a speed that will allow you to get up the court without losing the ball
- Bend your knees and keep the dribble low (no higher than you waist)
- Dribble with the hand that is away from the defense
- Protect the ball with your body when setting up an offense
- Dribble with your fingertips, not the palm of your hand
- A good ballhandler can dribble effectively with either hand
- To create a shot for a teammate or yourself (including creating a better passing angle)
- To penetrate to the basket
- To advance the ball up the court
- To get out of trouble
Jr. HEAT Hoop School
Every week, Coach Andrew Moran of the Miami Hoop School will walk you through 3 different drills to help you refine the finer points of your game.
Week 8: Ball Handling Version 2
V.2 Ball Handling 1
Drill Name: Two Ball Warm Up Dribbling Series
- Two Ball Pound (30 Seconds x 3 Sets)
- Two Ball Alternating Pounds (30 Seconds x 3 Sets)
- Right Hand High, Left Hand Low Dribble (30 Seconds x 3 Sets)
- Left Hand High, Right Hand Low Dribble (30 Seconds x 3 Sets)
- Two Ball Pound Single CrossOver (30 Seconds x 3 Sets)
- Two Ball Pound Double CrossOver (30 Seconds x 3 Sets)
- Two Ball Pound Rotating Between the Legs (30 Seconds x 3 Sets)
V.2 Ball Handling 2
Drill Name:Two Ball Pin-Downs Series
- Two Ball Pound Rotating Between the Legs (30 Seconds x 3 Sets)
- Alternating Two Ball Pound Pin and Scoop (30 Seconds x 3 Sets)
- Alternating Two Ball Pound Pin and Scoop Between the Legs (30 Seconds x 3 Sets)
V.2 Ball Handling 3
Drill Name: Speed Stop Series
- One Dribble Alternating Speed Stops Behind the Back (20 Reps x 3 Sets)
- Alternating Speed Stops Behind the Back into CrossOver (20 Reps x 3 Sets)
Week 7: Shooting Version 3
V.3 Shooting 1
Drill Name: Stepback Series
- Weak Hand Dribble into Strong Foot Stepback (10 Reps x 3 Sets)
- Punch Drag Dribble into Stepback (10 Reps x 3 Sets)
V.3 Shooting 2
Drill Name: Misdirection Jumpers Series
- Crossover Misdirection Jumper (10 Reps x 3 Sets)
- Between The Legs Misdirection Jumper (10 Reps x 3 Sets)
- Behind The Back Misdirection Jumper (10 Reps x 3 Sets)
V.3 Shooting 3
Drill Name: Free Throws Series
- Create Personal Free Throw Routine. Figure out your alignment, positioning, and find your comfort zone at the line.
- Shoot Free Throws (5 consecutive makes)
- Shoot Free Throws (10 consecutive makes)
- Shoot Free Throws (20 consecutive makes)
Week 6: Drives to the Basket
Drill Name: Pro Hop Series
- Right to Left Pro Hop (10 Reps x 3 Sets)
- Left to Right Pro Hop (10 Reps x 3 Sets)
Drill Name: Inverted Pro Hop Series
- Right Handed Inverted Pro Hop (10 Reps x 3 Sets )
- Left Hand Inverted Pro Hop (10 Reps x 3 Sets)
Drill Name: Inverted Euro Step Series
- Right Handed One Step Inverted Euro (5 Reps x 3 Sets)
- Left Handed One Step Inverted Euro (5 Reps x 3 Sets)
- Right Handed Extended Inverted Euro (5 Reps x 3 Sets)
- Left Handed Extended Inverted Euro (5 Reps x 3 Sets)
Week 5: Post Moves
Post Move 1
Drill Name: Baby Hook Shot Series
- Strong Hand Baby Hook Shot (10 Consecutive Makes x 3 Sets)
- Weak Hand Baby Hook Shot (10 Consecutive Makes x 3 Sets)
Post Move 2
Drill Name: Step Through and Back Pivot Series
- Fake Baby Hook Step Through Finish (20 Reps Right Block)
- Fake Baby Hook Step Through Finish (20 Reps Left Block)
- Fake Baby Hook Back Pivot Finish (20 Reps Right Block)
- Fake Baby Hook Back Pivot Finish (20 Reps Left Block)
Post Move 3
Drill Name: Fadeaway Series
- Strong Shoulder Fadeaway (5 Consecutive Makes x 3 Sets)
- Strong Shoulder Fadeaway Bank Shot (5 Consecutive Makes x 3 Sets)
Week 4: Shooting Version 2
V.2 Shooting 1
Drill Name: Roll Ups Series
- Roll Up Jumpers (10 Makes from 3 feet away)
- Roll Up Jumpers (10 Makes from Free Throw line)
- Roll Up Jumpers (10 Makes from 3 point line)
V.2 Shooting 2
Drill Name: Square Up Shooting Series
- One Dribble Split Drop Jumper (10 Makes from Free Throw line)
- One Dribble Split Drop Jumper (10 Makes from 3 point line)
- Left to Right Foot Off the Screen Jumper (10 Makes from Free Throw)
- Right to Left Foot Off the Screen Jumper (10 Makes from Free Throw)
- 180 Hop Shooting Right Shoulder Turn (10 Makes from Right Elbow)
- 180 Hop Shooting Left Shoulder Turn (10 Makes from Left Elbow)
V.2 Shooting 3
Drill Name: Off The Dribble and Off The Catch Shooting Series
- Split Step Under The Leg Dribble Jumper (10 Makes from Mid Range)
- Split Step Behind The Back Dribble Jumper (10 Makes from Mid Range)
- 180 Double Hop Jumper (10 Makes from Mid Range)
- Ray Allen Corner Backpedal Corner 3 (10 Makes from Corner 3 point line)
Week 3: Finishing around the Rim
Drill Name: EuroStep Series
- Right to Left EuroStep (10 Reps x 3 Sets)
- Left to Right EuroStep (10 Reps x 3 Sets)
Drill Name: Floaters Series
- One Footed Floater (10 Reps x 3 Sets)
- Two Footed Floater (10 Reps x 3 sets)
Drill Name: Same Foot Finish Series
- Right Foot Right Hand Finger Roll (10 Reps x 3 sets)
- Left Foot Left Hand Finger Roll (10 Reps x 3 sets)
Week 2: Shooting
Ball Shooting 1
Drill Name: Shooting Warm Ups Series
- One Handed Follow Through Warm Up (15 Makes from 5 feet away)
- Floor Taps (15 Makes from 5 feet away)
- Left Footed Floor Taps (10 Makes from 5 feet away)
- Right Footed Floor Taps (10 Makes from 5 feet away)
Ball Shooting 2
Drill Name: Pull Up Jumpers Series
- Right Handed One Dribble Pull Ups (3 consecutive makes x 5 sets)
- Left Handed One Dribble Pull Ups (3 consecutive makes x 5 sets)
- Right Handed Behind The Back Speed Stop Pull Up (3 consecutive makes x 5 sets)
- Left Handed Behind The Back Speed Stop Pull Up (3 consecutive makes x 5 sets)
Ball Shooting 3
Drill Name: Corner Drifts and Wing Lifts Shooting Series
- Right Corner Drift Catch and Shoot (3 consecutive makes x 5 sets)
- Left Corner Drift Catch and Shoot (3 consecutive makes x 5 sets)
- Right Wing Lifts Catch and Shoot (3 consecutive makes x 5 sets)
- Left Wing Lifts Catch and Shoot (3 consecutive makes x 5 sets)
Week 1: BALL HANDLING
Ball Handling 1
Drill Name: Ball Control Push Cross Series
- Right Hand Push Cross (3 sets x 30 secs)
- Left Hand Push Cross (3 sets x 30 secs)
- Push Cross Behind the Back Alternating Hands (2 sets x 1 Min)
- Push Cross Under the Legs Alternating Hands (2 sets x 1 Min)
- 1 Dribble Push Cross- Behind the Back Alternating Hands (3 sets x 30 secs)
Ball Handling 2
Drill Name: Ball Control Stationary Feet Series
- Crossover Right to Left (3 sets x 30 secs)
- Crossover Left to Right (3 sets x 30 secs)
- Right Hand Between the Legs Behind the Back (2 sets x 1 Min)
- Left Hand Between the Legs Behind the Back (2 sets x 1 Min)
- Right Hand Double Behind the Back (3 sets x 30 secs)
- Left Hand Double Behind the Back (3 sets x 30 secs)
Ball Handling 3
Drill Name: Ball Control with "Drop" Footwork Series
- Between the Legs "Drop" Split Alternating Hands (3 sets x 30 secs)
- Behind the Back "Drop" Split Alternating Hands (3 sets x 30 secs)
Copy This Signature Series
Check out Coach Nate, from Perseverance Basketball, as he breaks down your favorite HEAT players’ on-court moves and shows you how to work it into your game.
Kendrick Nunn Push Cross Pull Up
In our last Signature Series Session, Coach Nate breaks down Rookie of the Year candidate Kendrick Nunn and his signature Push Cross Pull Up. Learn how to add this final piece to your game and complete your bag of tricks before you hit the court.
Andre Igoudala Hesitation Pull Up
From rookie to vet, Coach Nate takes a look at the game of one of the newest HEAT players, Andre Igoudala. Check out how Iggy uses the hesitation pull up jumper in his game and how you can add it to yours.
Tyler Herro 2 Foot Floater
Coach Nate breaks down another finish from the rook Tyler Herro. Watch how Tyler breaks down his defender and use his 2 foot floater to finish while driving to the basket.
Tyler Herro Dribble Pickup
Take a look at Coach Nate as he breaks down another signature move from Tyler Herro. Your dribble leads to every part your game, watch how Tyler use his handles to create all his opportunities.
Jimmy Butler Front Pivot Fade Away
Your bag of tricks isn’t complete without a clutch Fade Away to create some room from your opponent’s and sink your shot. Jimmy Butler has one of the most effective Fade Aways in the game. Pay attention to coach Nate as he shows you how to add Jimmy’s Fade Away into your bag of tricks.
Kendrick Nunn Euro Step
The Euro Step should be part of any players go to moves when finishing around the rim. Watch how Kendrick Nunn uses this move to get to the basket and finish with style. Try it out yourself around the rim.
Tyler Herro Speed Stop to Stepback
Being a shooter is great, but having a great shot and being fast is unstoppable. Watch how Tyler Herro use his speed stop step-back to create his shot from anywhere on the court at top speed.
Jae Crowder Step Back
Ball handling allows you to find the right spot on the court for that perfect shot. Watch this breakdown on how Jae Crowder uses the step back to find his shot!
Jr. HEAT News
After consulting extensively with our staff and coaches regarding the health and safety of everyone who participates in our Jr. HEAT programs, we have made the difficult decision to cancel Jr. HEAT Summer Camps currently scheduled for June, July, and August of 2020.
We believe this is the best way to proceed given the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are very disappointed that we will be unable to host these camps for our youngest fans, but believe it’s in the best interest of everyone involved.
If you have any questions or have not received your refund or credit, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com including your name, telephone number, email address, and child's name.
In the meantime, we will be sending out a weekly digital Jr. HEAT workout plan containing basketball drills and skills work that your children can use to sharpen their skills at home. If you are not part of the Jr. HEAT e-mailing list already, please scroll to the bottom of the page and fill out the "LEARN MORE" section to receive our Jr. HEAT Digital Gym email series.
For all the latest news and updates please follow us on Instagram: @JrMiamiHEAT
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
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