Basketball conditioning workouts are usually pushed during the off-season, and for good reason – the off-season, especially the long summer break, allows so much time for players to improve their conditioning and their basic basketball skills.
Since there are no regularly scheduled practices or games or school, all your players should be worrying about is having the determination to succeed and some solid basketball workouts to boost their basketball conditioning.
Youth Basketball Conditioning Workouts
Crossover dribbles, rebounding, and a consistent jumper – are all-important basketball fundamentals every player should have.
But if they can’t run the court, and can’t play for a full game, they won’t get the chance to use those fundamentals when the season starts since they’ll be too busy trying to catch up to the other team.
Every player needs to know their fundamentals, but every player needs to be in exceptional physical shape as well.
To be in complete shape, players need three things:
- Good Basic Skills
- Good Aerobic Conditioning
- Good Muscular Strength
All of these can be improved through following good routines diligently, making sure that the workouts are specific to the needs of the basketball player – e.g., workouts for aerobic conditioning are focused on the start-stop movement and sprinting that is so critical to basketball, not on distance training that will not provide much help to the player in the game.
I give out two basketball conditioning workouts that focus on developing skills during the summer, a Summer Skills Workout for Guards and a Summer Skills Workout for Inside Players.
These workouts share some of the same drills, but there are also drills in each that focus on skills specific to each position.
I also hand out basketball conditioning workouts designed to build muscular strength. Again, the off-season is the best time to develop strength, so I have an Off-Season Weight Training Program for building functional strength.
But the weight training shouldn’t end when the season begins, it should just be amended. Otherwise, all those hard-earned strength gains will be lost. So I also have an In-Season Strength Training Plan that focuses on maintaining strength during the season.
For improving aerobic fitness, I tend to rely on conditioning drills that I use in practice – running a lot of them during the first week or two of practices and then tapering off as the pre-season goes on and players’ conditioning improves.
One conditioning workout I use that could be an entire practice of its own (early in the season it would be a good thing to do as an additional practice a couple of times a week) would be the 8-8-18 workout. It takes about half an hour and is exhausting, but a really good aerobic conditioning workout.
Of course, you always have to contend with the fact that basketball is a game best played above the rim, so I also give out in the off-season a few Exercises to Increase Vertical Jump.
If you are interested in a complete program designed to increase your players’ vertical leap, then I would suggest you take a look at this excellent Jump Training Program that guarantees an increase of 10 inches in leaping ability in only 12 weeks.
Take a look at the basketball conditioning workouts above and choose the ones to fit your needs and the needs of your players. You may want to individualize the programs somewhat to suit individual players’ needs, but be careful to condition the whole player – e.g., don’t over-train some muscles and under-train others.
These workouts are what I have put together through years of trial and error and piecing together what I felt worked best from many other workouts. But I am not a certified trainer. If you have access to a trainer, even if it’s only for one or two practices, take it.
One other training factor you should consider: is speed and quickness. It is speed and quickness that basketball players need more than anything else, and while you can add specific conditioning drills to your pre-season conditioning plan, you may very well want to use a complete basketball conditioning workout for improving speed and quickness instead, which is more likely to get you the results you want.
Whatever workout program you choose, be sure that the exercises are sport-specific – i.e., focus on developing abilities important to playing basketball.
Some cross-training is a good thing, especially off-season, as it will develop muscles and athletic skills that an exercise program focused on a single sport may not.
But in the end, we want our players to excel in basketball, so the basketball conditioning workout they adhere to should improve the skills and abilities required in the game of basketball more than anything else.
Long-distance running may be good for the heart, but it won’t help you speed past a defender. keep it sport specific and watch your team improve.