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Basketball Conditioning Advice for Maximizing Basketball Stamina & Endurance
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Basketball conditioning should always be a part of your basketball training. The fourth quarter is where a lot of games are won and lost, and basketball conditioning just may give you the edge you need.
All aspects of your game will improve if you're able to play the whole game with minimal fatigue. You'll be able to remain more effective on defense by staying low, get more rebounds by still having great first and second leap ability, and continue to make your open shots and free throws by keeping your legs in your shot.
For all basketball conditioning you should have proper athletic apparel, including shoes for both on the court and off of the court.
Change of Direction SprintsAny basketball conditioning regimen should always include change of direction sprints. Why? Basketball is all about changing directions at high speeds, and players' conditioning should focus on this.
These following basketball conditioning drills should be done on a highly consistent basis in your basketball training.
As the name indicates, this drill is no fun at all, but an absolute must of the basketball conditioning drills to be performed. It consists of many short bursts of high energy and numerous changes of direction to simulate game play.
Begin on one baseline facing the other. If you're training individually, then locate yourself in the middle of the court so that you'll be able to run directly to/over the free throw lines.
Sprint to the near free throw line, touch it with your hand, and sprint back to the baseline where you began. Now touch the baseline with your hand and sprint to the center court line, again touching it and returning to the baseline. Touch the baseline again and sprint down to the far free throw line, touch it, and sprint back to the baseline. Finally, touch the baseline again and sprint to the far baseline, touching it and returning to the beginning baseline.
That completes one suicide:
This basketball conditioning drill is a shorter variation of the suicide drill. Sprint to half court, touch the line, return to the baseline, touch the line, sprint to the opposite baseline, touch the line, and sprint back to the beginning baseline.
Down and Back
An easier drill that may be used after your already fatigued. Sprint from one baseline to the other, touch the baseline, and sprint back.
Any other variation of lines that you would like to do!
Combine the above drills: go far free throw-back and down-back, for example.
Suicides should be the main focus of your basketball conditioning routine. They're absolutely miserable to perform, I know, but they're the most effective.
As with any other drill, you should not be slacking on the drills. Sprint as fast as you can on all portions of each drill.
Full-Speed Basketball Drills
This isn't really a "drill" persay, but just a recommendation that any time you are doing any kind of drill, do it at game speed to build up your in-game endurance. Explore some of the specific skill drills available on the site and make sure to do them at full speed.
Check out the Basketball Drills page and find some basketball drills to do full speed to get some more basketball conditioning.
Defensive ConditioningBasketball conditioning is possibly more important on defense than on offense. You have to be able to stay low to help your lateral movement. Improving your basketball conditioning will improve your defensive endurance and make you a more dominating defender.
This basketball conditioning drill is one of my top recommended exercises for ALL aspects of your basketball game. For one, it's free! Second, it's designed to fatigue your legs while staying low. As you know by now, staying low can help in many aspects of your game.
It is mostly used for the quads, but also can work your hips and core. This, in turn, helps your legs' endurance.
Depending on your routine and abilities, you may shoot for holding the position for a certain period of time. An example may be 60 seconds when you first begin. As you develop more endurance, though, you will want to extend this time a great deal.
Remember: This drill is designed to help develop endurance, so push yourself to hold the position as long as possible to maximize your basketball conditioning.
Sorry, I'm not talking about ball handling here, the figure eight basketball conditioning drill is much more difficult because it is "all-inclusive." What do I mean by this? Simple, nearly all forms of defensive movements are used, including:
To add a little something to this basketball conditioning drill you can also throw in pivots before defensive sliding across a line, just make sure to try to do the same amount of right slides and left slides.
A note on Defensive Sliding:
Start out (and stay) in the defensive position described in the basketball fundamentals page. To move right (slide right), push off with your left foot and slide it toward your right foot. When it's close to the right, step out with your right and slide the left toward your right foot again. DO NOT CROSS YOUR FEET! The same goes for sliding left, except you will be pushing off/sliding your right foot toward the left.
Defensive Slide Drill
You are essentially zig-zagging down the court by defensive sliding at an angle on the court.
Make sure to check out the Basketball Defense page as well.
Long-Distance Training (and Warning)Long distance training in basketball is something you need to be careful with. When I was in high school I decided to join the cross country team to get in better shape for basketball. The only problem was that it is a completely different style of running, so it actually hurt me that year!
Basketball consists of sprints, not long-distance endurance runs. Sprints are more effective when done on the balls of your feet, whereas the long-distance running was done heel-toe.
You can still do long-distance training, just use it sparingly and be careful with it. If you're going to do long distances I recommend doing "interval" training in which you sprint for a certain time/distance, then pace yourself for a certain time/distance, and continue the pattern. Try to keep long distance runs no longer than 3 miles.
Other Basketball Endurance Exercises
These additional basketball endurance exercises can also be a very beneficial aspect of your basketball conditioning routine.OVERVIEW
Jumping rope is a great basketball conditioning drill because it helps you develop "foot speed" and second leap ability.
Squat Jumps are an exercise I've newly discovered, and I think they work great for basketball conditioning because they combine leg strength with leg endurance.
You should be trying to reach as high as possible each time, but not at the expense of taking more time to get back in the air. As with any other endurance exercise, your endurance will build as you perform the rim jumps more often.
Hill Sprints are a great basketball conditioning tool because they not only increase your endurance, but also help to build your calf muscles: Of any outdoor running activities, these may be the best suited for basketball players.
Find a hill that is fairly steep and has little foot traffic so that you won't be running pedestrians over. As with any sprints, run on the balls of your feet as fast you can up to the top of the hill (or to a certain point if the distance is too long that you can't sprint fully up the hill). Walk back down the hill as your "break" and repeat the process a couple of times. This is an exercise that should be used sparingly, though, probably no more than once a week as you want to focus on more game-type sprints for your basketball conditioning routine.
I'll go into each individually shortly...but first...
If using any of these three pieces of equipment, it is recommended that you are on them for only 20-30 minutes at a time. This way you can go at full effort the entire time. I also recommend that when using any of these pieces of equipment for basketball conditioning that you use the "interval" option. This way you can sprint at full speed for a portion and run "hills" for another.
Of these three gym machines that can be used for cardiovascular exercise, the elliptical is the most effective for basketball conditioning, followed by the stair-stepper and then the tredmill. The elliptical is easiest on your joints, especially your knees, and burns many more calories than do other methods. Also, although not entirely a game movement simulation, you can backpeddle on the elliptical, whereas you can't on other machines.
The stair-stepper is also a nice "change of pace" to randomly throw into your routine. It burns quite a few calories as well (just not as many as an elliptical). It can also help to strengthen your legs and calves.
The treadmill is my least favorite of these machines not only for basketball conditioning, but just for cardiovascular exercise in general. Some don't allow you to go very fast, they don't burn as many calories, and they're much harder on your joints. If you like them, though, then go ahead and use them sparingly.
Basketball Conditioning ConclusionTry to make the change of direction sprints and defensive basketball conditioning drills the focus of your basketball conditioning routine, but be aware of the other methods and use them as well. Remember, the better shape that you're in, the better the rest of your game will become because you won't be too tired to run fast, stay low, and jump higher. Good luck and make it enjoyable!
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