I believe that you can condition your athletes to a point where their conditioning is a significant advantage versus their opponents. To give you a peek into how we gain a conditioning advantage, I put together a list of seven essential tips that will give your basketball conditioning program a competitive advantage.
Focus on anaerobic training
Basketball is as an anaerobic sport. This means that athletes use their anaerobic energy system during play. This energy system is different from the aerobic energy system. The aerobic energy dominates during relative low intensity activities. (think: mile running). In contrast, the anaerobic energy system dominates during high intensity activities (think sprinting, power, speed sports). To properly conditioning your basketball players, focus on anaerobic conditioning. Anaerobic training teaches the body to recover during rest periods preceding high intensity exercise. This type of conditioning matches the demands of basketball. During a game, a player will explosively sprints, jump and shuffle followed by a rest period due to timeouts, out of bounds and other stoppages. Focus basketball conditioning program on improving your anaerobic system.
Use Interval based conditioning
Interval training is the foundation of an anaerobic based training program. As stated above, basketball is an interval sport, so your conditioning program should be based on interval training. During interval training, an athlete performs a high intensity exercise followed by rest. I recommend a ratio of 3:1 Work to Rest ratio. In addition, I vary the work (exercise) time from 15 secs to 1:30 with the corresponding rest time.
Don’t Go too Long
I limit my team’s basketball conditioning workout to 30-45 minutes. If you are properly training the anaerobic system, a 30 minute workout is sufficient for high school basketball players. If your basketball conditioning workouts last longer than 30-45 minutes you are probably training aerobically. There is a time a place for aerobic training, however use aerobic training as a supplement to your anaerobic based program.
Limit aerobic training to one day per week
Basketball is approximately 20% aerobic, so there is a need to training the aerobic system. Focus one day per week conditioning the aerobic energy system. Over conditioning the aerobic system can potentially sacrifice the power, speed and explosiveness gained during your team’s strength training workouts. During your aerobic training session shrink the rest ratio to 1:1 or a longer run without rest.
Using on the line for every basketball conditioning session can cause boredom. You can use a variety of conditioning drills to accomplish the same goals. Use on the line training in addition to track, stairs, stations and basketball based movement training to prevent boredom and maximize effort and enthusiasm.
Prevent overuse injuries
Variety in programming not only prevents boredom, it also prevents overuse injuries. Conditioning usually occurs concurrently with strength training. This is a significantly high volume of training for the lower body. More is not always better. When the volume of exercise is excessively high, the body does not properly recovers. A lack of muscular and neural recovery increases the likelihood of overuse injuries. If your athletes have tendonitis, stress fractures, sprains or strains, you are probably over training your players. To prevent overuse injuries, use a variety of conditioning drills and movement patterns to prevent overuse injuries.
Conditioning lateral movements
Players spend a significant amount of their time on the court moving laterally. Though you can condition your heart in many ways, your muscles or movement patterns are conditioning in the manner that you train. Condition lateral movements in addition to sprinting movements. If you do not condition lateral movements, your player’s muscles that are used for lateral movements will fatigue at the end of games Add lateral movements to your conditioning sessions for a comprehensive basketball conditioning program.
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