How Basketball Drills Can Make You a Better Triathlete

Just when I was getting complacent with the strength workouts of late, my trainer decided to spice things up a bit.  When he said he was going to get a basketball and will be right back, I knew he had something up his sleeve.  And he did.

With my shoulders, arms and abs already in agony from Wednesday’s workout, I really wasn’t looking forward to today’s.  Luckily for me,what I was about to learn was a serious lesson in energy control.

The Workout

When dribbling a ball “on a nail” the goal is not only to dribble the ball in the exact same spot, but to dribble it hard and fast to keep an opponent from stealing it.  To do this, you must concentrate on a number of things; where the ball is going, where you want the ball to go, and how hard you are bouncing the ball and at what height.  While my trainer demonstrated a beautifully steady ball dribbled on a single point, I found myself chasing the ball, often taking giants steps to keep up with it.

Then we started a stretching drill where you position into a forward lunge and then pass the ball around your leg from hand to hand.  Not only is this a quad killer, but also works the abs for stability while you are moving the ball around your leg.  Here balance and patience are the key to success and speed.

The last part of the workout was shooting hoops.  Something I have always sucked at.  However, I made more progress in a few minutes than I’ve made my entire life.  The trick to a successful shot is focusing the energy from your heels, through your core, and through the fingertips to propel the ball on the trajectory to make it in the basket.  Once you get the feel of it and focus the energy, it is a great feeling!

What do have here?  Exercises that focus your energy, demand patience yet concentration, and require good hand-eye coordination.  All three of these of important to triathletes and perhaps three times more difficult… we have three sports to master!

The Triple Energy Focus

Swimming, biking and running do benefit through projecting energy in a controlled manner.  Be it contact with water through the hips and hands during each stroke, the energy of your body focused through your legs to the pedals, or projecting your energy forward efficiently as you run, how you project the energy dictates how well your triathlon is going to be.

Triathletes and basketball players definitely have a lot more in common than we initially think.  The next time Kobe Bryant shoots a three pointer, I will definitely be thinking about wonderfully focused the energy was when he made that shot and how wonderfully focused my energy will be during that next triathlon!