Another question I get all the time as a basketball coach is, how do I become a Division I basketball player? This is a simple question but requires a more complex answer.  Obviously, you need to have some natural physical talent.  High-level basketball players are usually gifted with size and athletic ability.  However, hard work and the right training program can help even less talented players reach their goals.  AND even give a further advantage to already talented players.  When Kevin Durant got drafted he famously said: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

How Hard Do I Have to Work to Get a Basketball Scholarship?

Exactly how much work do you have to put in to make it to the highest levels of college basketball?  Author Malcolm Gladwell famously has written in his book Outliers: The Story of Success that the key to being successful is hard work.  He states that all successful people must put in 10,000 hours of work to be masters of their craft.  So if we break it down and you start playing basketball seriously at age 8 and you go to college around age 18 you must put in roughly 3 hours of work every day to reach your goal of being an “expert” basketball player.

That being said, I wouldn’t recommend an 8-year-old practice for 3 hours per day.  That could lead to the young hooper getting burned out.  When you’re young it’s important to work on ball handling, passing, pivoting and finishing with both hands. (I’ve talked about these things in previous posts).  NEVER let a young player shoot on a 10ft rim before they are physically strong enough to reach the basket with proper form.  For more information on that see my May Blog titled “Setting Up Younger Basketball Players For Success.”

              As you reach your teenage years a sample work day might include the following….
  • Dynamic Warmup – 15 mins
  • Skills Workout – 45 mins
  • Basic Strength Training – 45 mins
  • Practices/Games – 1hr
  • Recovery/Stretching – 15 mins

Every player is different but it is important to be safe when working out.  Be careful in the weight room and learn the proper technique and start slow when attempting something new.  Stability, coordination and core strength is extremely important for young players.  As you get older during your teenage years you should start to work on more explosive movements.  Olympic lifts, when done properly, are a great way to get more explosive.  Always remember that rest, flexibility, and a proper diet are important to sustain such a rigorous workout routine and prevent injuries.

Other Ways to Increase Your Skills and Earn a Basketball Scholarship

Another great way to speed up your progress as a basketball player and put in more “hours” is to watch basketball and study film.  You can do this on your own or with a coach.  Always remember that the mental part of the game is just as important as the physical.  A smart basketball player will often have an advantage over more talented players in certain situations.  To give everyone reading this an idea of a good basketball skills workout I put together a video of a Division 1 basketball player working out with Next Level Basketball below.  We start off with some stationary ball handling drills, then move on to some finishing and finally some PNR read and react.  Take a look at how this player’s hard-work continues to help him succeed.


If you are looking for guidance on how to get in the right type of practice, join my training program.  You can try a 7-day free trial at