Have you ever thought about how much more challenging and rewarding it would be to play basketball one-on-one with yourself rather than against another person or team of people?
If so, this article for you will list the many ways that basketball is an excellent sport in which to do just that — play by yourself!
Let’s start with a short summary…
Playing basketball alone can be fun and enjoyable because the game is a good mental challenge that motivates and drives us to perform at the highest level. In addition to that, playing by oneself can lower feelings of stress along with being a really great physical workout.
- Reasons why playing basketball alone can be fun
- What activities can you do in basketball by yourself?
- Wrap up
Reasons why playing basketball alone can be fun
The article will now go into greater detail to cover four major benefits that playing solo basketball has to offer.
1. Playing basketball alone is a good physical workout
When we think of our own strength training routines, most of us picture ourselves working out against other people.
While having others push us through various exercises can certainly provide motivation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re getting a full body workout.
That’s where playing basketball alone can make the difference.
You don’t have to follow the lead of an instructor when it comes to what muscle groups you want to exercise, as you can make the decision yourself to go through a complete physical workout.
For example, one day you could decide to drive to the nearest city park to shoot baskets by yourself.
Once you arrive, you can put yourself through the paces by repetitively practicing multiple shooting techniques.
By mixing things up, you allow your muscles to become accustomed to slightly varied movements, thus making them stronger overall.
To illustrate, if you were asked to perform a jump shot, you wouldn’t be able to pull it off consistently if you practiced jumping straight up in the air each time.
However, although you won’t receive the best results from repeating a specific drill over and over, doing so can still help increase your proficiency.
Instead, you’d be better served by incorporating variations into your repertoire, such as alternating between landing softly onto your left foot followed by right foot contact, then back to the left, etc.
This also allows you to learn proper landing mechanics without actually risking injury.
So, by playing basketball alone, you can perfect the technical areas of your game through repetition and variation, whilst giving yourself a challenging physical workout at the same time.
2. Playing basketball alone is a good mental challenge
Just as human beings vary greatly in terms of muscle strength, endurance, agility, flexibility, coordination, balance, reflexes, etc., we are also capable of thinking differently from one another.
Some individuals tend to be analytical thinkers, whereas others rely heavily on intuition. Most of us fall somewhere in between these extremes.
What’s interesting is that we can develop our strongest minds when we put them to use in situations requiring quick decisions under pressure.
Basketball is a great activity that can stretch our mental capacities because players can practice a variety of plays on the court.
For instance, you could train up on your drive to the basket by focusing on how quickly you’ll make the run up to the hoop.
The sport also allows you to visualize a situation where an opponent is standing right in front of you.
Using this knowledge, you can then decide to create a mental picture that involves you having to dribble past the imaginary player and get a shot away before they close you down.
Such scenarios are great for building mental fortitude as a player is able to problem solve and perform complex cognitive functions on the go.
3. Playing basketball alone is motivating
Another big advantage of basketball compared to traditional forms of cardio exercise is its unique motivational factor.
Unlike jogging, biking, swimming laps, rowing, and elliptical machines that involve repetitive and monotonous actions, basketball incorporates so much variety.
There are plenty of reasons why basketball is fun, but motivation for playing the sport is the one thing that gets people coming back to the court each and every day.
When you play solo, your mind is sort of taken to a distraction-free zone where you become fully immersed in the game and the excitement surrounding it.
You can visualize yourself pulling off the most complex on-court plays that some of the professionals manage to do, and that inspires you to become a better player as you practice by yourself.
4. Playing basketball alone can lower stress
Also keep in mind that playing basketball alone provides ample opportunities to engage with your surroundings and reduce stress levels.
There’s nothing quite like seeing a bird fly overhead while holding a basketball on the court or hearing footsteps coming closer while playing a game by yourself.
Engaging with nature regularly like this can reduce anxiety and depression symptoms, boost self-esteem, promote creativity, increase empathy, strengthen mindfulness, enhance positive emotions, etc.
The endorphin release you get from playing basketball also contributes to lowered stress levels because of all the feel-good happiness hormones help to boost your mood and promote relaxation.
What activities can you do in basketball by yourself?
There are a number of stimulating basketball games that you can play by yourself in order to have fun.
Here are a few of them:
Five in a row
In this game, the aim is to get yourself as far away from the basketball hoop as you physically can.
You first start by taking shots form a distance of six feet away from the basket, and you must successfully score five shots in a row before you can proceed farther back.
To make this game even more interesting, you could set up a timer to measure how long it took you to get from the six feet starting point all the way to the outer boundary of the court.
Around the world
This activity is also about refining shooting technique.
You essentially take difficult shots from one area of the court and once you make a basket, you move over to a separate location and carry on from there.
Shots can be taken from different areas along the arc.
If you miss a shot, then what you do is go back to the starting point and try to progress again.
The Mikan drill
Last up we have the Mikan drill.
This routine was invented by former NBA player George Mikan, who used it to become one of the best players to grace the game.
You’re simply supposed to position yourself underneath the basketball hoop and attempt to make layups with your non-dominant shooting hand.
Here’s a video which showcases this game being played:
You should now see how playing basketball alone can be extremely fun and mentally stimulating.
Hopefully this article has done its part in enlightening you in regard to the benefits of solo play in this great sport.