If there’s one question I get asked over and over, all the time really, it’s this: Where should I practice basketball?
That’s a tricky question for several reasons that I will get into later in the article. For now, I will just say that its something that needs to be talked about because it is very important to your basketball development. So I am going to answer that question today in this article.
Where you practice is very important for many reasons. First, you play the best where you practice the most. They call this “Home Court Advantage” and it is a very very real phenomenon.
Another reason this is so very important is slightly more sinister. I know a guy that used to practice for hours a day at three pointers in his back yard. Back there, he could sink anything under the sun with his eyes closed and with one hand tied behind his back (really, I saw him do that many times!). But when he got to school, he couldn’t hit anything. Why was that? You wouldn’t expect to see such a dramatic difference between two places, but this guy barely made the team when it came time to try out as freshmen.
What happened? His backyard court was screwy. His basket was between one half and one full inch higher than it should have been and the basketball he used was filled with too much air. These two simple things, things that could happen to literally anyone, were enough to throw off his game when he finally set foot on a real gym floor.
So where you practice is vitally important. We see this all the time. Down at the park or on a make shift court on a side street of the city you might absolutely dominate. But if things are off, if the rim is too high or two short (as is often the case) you develop unbreakable bad habits and you reinforce those bad habits the longer you practice under those circumstances.
So what can you do about it? Well, the very best thing to do is to practice as much as possible on the court where your team will be playing during the season. Usually this is a high school or junior high school gym. Many schools offer “Open gym” time when you can get in there and shoot around to your hearts content. I suggest you do this whenever possible, for as long as possible. If this isn’t available, be sure to measure your home or park courts with a tape measure to make sure the rim is ten feet high. Be sure also to check the distance to the free throw line and the distance to the three point line. These often get painted on sloppily, or not at all.
Developing bad habits is a terrible thing to do, and its a real shame when you put in hours of work practicing only to find out that your practicing was actually harmful because you practiced at a bad place.