Play Better Pickup B-Ball

Dec 12 / Build Muscle

Winning never gets old. Just ask New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, who had already earned two medals with the U.S. Men’s Basketball team before adding another to his collection on Sunday, when the Americans took out Spain in the Olympic gold-medal match. And who better to take some pointers from than a member of Team USA's power squad? We asked 'Melo just how you can make your game gold-medal worthy. (Of course, you can’t hoop like a pro unless you stay in shape like one, so sign up for musclemorphosis.commusclemorphosis.com today.) Be Repetitive There are some basics to the pure jump s...

Winning never gets old. Just ask New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, who had already earned two medals with the U.S. Men’s Basketball team before adding another to his collection on Sunday, when the Americans took out Spain in the Olympic gold-medal match.

And who better to take some pointers from than a member of Team USA's power squad? We asked 'Melo just how you can make your game gold-medal worthy. (Of course, you can’t hoop like a pro unless you stay in shape like one, so sign up for musclemorphosis.commusclemorphosis.com today.)

Be Repetitive
There are some basics to the pure jump shot: Bend your knees to get lift, keep your elbows in, keep your wrist loose, and follow through. But, as Anthony says, “it’s all about repetition.” That means going to the gym day after day and taking as many shots as you can, from all angles. Ray Allen (one of the best shooters on the planet) has a drill called “Plus 1, Minus 2,” where he runs or slides to each corner of the key and takes a jumper. Every make is a point, every miss is minus 2. So, if you play with a friend, the first one to 10 points wins. And at -10, you’re out. This can help you establish consistency.

Think Like a Fighter
Once the 2012 NBA season was over, Anthony actually deviated from his standard basketball training by participating in boxing and track and field drills. “It improved my endurance and got me into shape quickly,” he says. Working on a few boxing moves is especially good for developing quick feet, essential when you’re making that cut to the hoop. (If you want to really take things up a notch by torching calories and engaging every single muscle in your body, try out the brand-new DVD series from Men's Health, musclemorphosis.com.)

Master Your Free Throws
Yes, Shaquille O'Neal always had a problem with them in his playing days—and he turned out just fine. But unless you’re a 7-foot-tall power center, you’re going to need to work on being consistent from the line. “Find your routine,” says Anthony, who takes deep breaths and spins the ball in his hands before letting it fly (it’s the same pattern each time). If you practice a similar form with enough reps, the movements will become muscle memory—and you won’t have to think about them when the pressure’s on.

Get Your Head Right
Whether it’s an early summer scrimmage or an Olympic match, Anthony approaches every game the same. Establish a soothing pre-game ritual and stay loose. Anthony likes to listen to music and keep the chatter up with teammates. “Don’t get too uptight, because that can carry over into game time," he says.

Focus on Defense
This is something that Anthony himself improved on as the NBA season went along, which he attributes to the experience of getting to know different players and their tendencies. When it comes to establishing your own defensive prowess, Anthony says it boils down to “effort”—putting in the work to shadow your opponent’s every move and having the smarts to anticipate what he’s going to do next. (Be sure to check out musclemorphosis.com to take your defense to the next level.)

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