BASKETBALL STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING

Basketball has come a long way since James Naismith hung two peach baskets in a gym and invented the sport. In its early years it was enough just to play the game. Fitness wasn’t a real consideration. This was especially true right through the late 1950's when many professional ball players, of the young National Basketball Association, didn't consider year round fitness important to their success on the court. They may have been right because their competition felt the same way too. The same was true in many youth leagues, schools, and universities; in many minds of that era fitness needed to play this sport consisted almost totally of the player's ability to run.

In the 1960's that began to change forever, especially with the growth in popularity of the NBA, followed in the late 60's by the popularity of College Basketball's March Madness. The explosion in popularity of basketball was beginning and the professional game around the world was starting to become big business with big paychecks. As a result of this sudden popularity many of the players and teams realized that staying fit was a year round part of their success. Just like practicing foul shots, rebounds, passing or jumpers, fitness was a key to their success. Fortunately the schools and universities realized the same thing, and basketball conditioning programs began in earnest.

The majority of the early fitness programs dedicated to the sport were solely based upon weight training. No thought was given to improving agility and speed. In fact the programs for this type of development hadn't been devised.

Today we know that to enjoy your sport at any level takes more than skill, it also takes sports fitness. Sport specific conditioning can help any player, not matter the level of competition. That is what this section is all about, the basic sports specific conditioning of the player.

The exercises we are about to talk about are by no means the only routines that can be used; however they are a good starting point. We will look at developing, power, strength, agility, and speed.

Let's start with Power. I define power as the quick and strong movement of the leg; starting from the hip, to the knee, and ending at the ankle. Power Lifts and Plyometrics help to develop these areas.

The Power Lifts include: the push jerk, split jerk, clean, clean pull, clean high pull, and power shrug.

The Plyometric exercises include: jumps, hops, and bounds. These exercises use the body's weight as resistance.

Power also includes strengthening your upper and lower body. Lower body exercises include: squats, single leg squat, step ups, and lunges. The upper body exercises include:
Bench press, push ups, pull ups, lat pull, shoulder raises, curls, extensions, and wrist rolls.

Next is Agility. Agility is the ability to change direction while running or moving. Sometimes we call agility "quickness." We've all been at a game and heard someone say, "that guy's quick." Quickness should not be confused with speed, it's related but it's not the same thing.

There a variety of agility drills that can be done, including: running around poles, working with an agility ladder, or even jumping over step hurdles.

The final aspect to consider is Speed. We've all heard the old saying, "Speed kills." In basketball this is probably truer than in almost any other sport. The ability of a team to have the endurance and stamina to run the floor successful for the complete game is critical to success at the highest levels. It's one of the most important attributes of any ball player. Speed comes to play everyday, and speed never goes to be coached. The faster, and quicker you can become, the better all around basketball player and athlete you will become.

Speed exercises include: sled pulls, band runs, and hill runs.

I hope this article helps you get started on your own fitness program. I know if you use it you will improve not only your performance but also your enjoyment of the game. .

If you feel you'd like an individual assessment of your basketball skills please complete the contact form below and we will send you a complete packet of information.

Thanks for reviewing our Basketball Fitness Section. We look forward to seeing you on the court.

Jeff


ADDITIONAL BASKETBALL FITNESS ARTICLES AND PROGRAMS



BASKETBALL CONDITIONING DRILLS


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