Training and Conditioning

What to Discover or Recall:

Discover the real physiological benefits of a well planned conditioning program.

Understand that maximum conditioning needs to be achieved for league play and playoffs games.

Comprehend that it is up to each individual to see that their maximum physical condition is achieved and maintained

Realize players condition at different rates. One size fits all does not apply to basketball.

Be aware that overexertion is dangerous to players' health and defeats the conditioning program.

Learn that physical workouts not only increase muscular, respiratory and cardiovascular capabilities, but also improves memory, problem solving and decision making.



Physical Conditioning

"Your only as good as your legs."

Superior conditioning does not just happen nor is it acquired quickly. It is the result of a well thought out and executed program of exercise, rest, and diet. With rest and diet just as important as exercise. To be successful, each player as well as the team collectively, must be possessed with the desire and determination to develop superior physical condition. Throughout the course of the season most teams will be pushed and trained hard. However, what is done off the court is as important as what is done on it. It is going to be up to each individual to see that their maximum physical condition is achieved and maintained. Anything less is a violation of a trust.

| Guidelines | Physiological Benefits | Learning Benefits | Conditioning Drills |

5 Stars

Conditioning Guidelines

Have patience and do not rush your conditioning program. It is important to work up to strenuous exercise. Avoid straining and pushing players to the extent that they become over fatigued.

  1. Overexertion is dangerous to players' health and defeats the conditioning program. Instead of feeling fit and vivacious, players will feel chronically tired and listless.

  2. Symptom of overexertion and heat exhaustion are severe sweating, chest pains, severe breathlessness, dizziness, loss of muscle control and nausea.

    CAUTION: If a player experiences any of these symptoms have them stop exercising immediately.

Player Conditioning

Basketball is a very long season. Too many coaches, similar to football, over emphasize conditioning at the start of season, and omit or neglect it as the season progresses.

Players' conditioning needs to be built up over a period of time. Maxium conditioning should be achieved for league play and playoffs.



Player Conditioning Over exerting players at the beginning of the practice season is counter productive, and will produce extreme soreness that will cut down on player performance and learning.

5 Stars

Physiological Benefits of Conditioning

  1. Increases oxygen consumption

    Breath larger amounts of air at a slower rate.
    Strengthens respiratory muscles increasing endurance and reducing resistance.
    Increases utilization of oxygen.

  2. Increases the cardiac output

    Heart pumps more blood per beat.
    Reduces work load on the heart.

  3. Increases circulation

    Improves general circulation.
    Increases the number of red blood cells and amount of hemoglobin in the blood.

  4. Increases the ability to use energy sources

    Use of energy sources is increased.
    Replenishes energy stores at a faster rate (recovery).
    Increases tolerance to high levels of lactic acid (fatigue).

  5. Increases muscle strength and tone

    Reduces injuries with added alertness and strength.
    Increases performance.
    Prolongs the number of years of athletic performance.


5 Stars

Brain Boosting Benefits of Cardio Exercise

Human Brain

There may be much more to being in shape than just gaining a physical advantage.  Breaking a sweat on a regular basis can get your players into amazing shape, but new research has shown it can make them smarter too. Physical workouts will not only increase their muscular, respiratory and cardiovascular capabilities, it will also improve their smarts and productivity. Even a 30 minute workout pumps extra blood to the brain, delivering vital oxygen and nutrients it requires to perform at maximum efficiency. Cardiovascular workouts provide the brain with chemicals that enhance functions such as memory, problem solving and decision making. All which are critical to a successful basketball performance.

Working Out the Brain at the Same Time as Your Heart

According to clinical psychologist and memory researcher, Thomas Crook, PH. D, “cardiovascular health is more important than any other single factor in preserving and improving learning and memory. During exercise, all that extra blood bathes your brain cells with oxygen and glucose which they need to function. The more oxygen the brain gets, the better it performs.”

Muscles also send hormones to your brain. These hormones mix with a chemical, called brain-derived neurotrophoic factor or BDNF, which plays a role in brain cell growth, mood regulation and learning. John, Rately, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, says, “BDNF is like fertilizer for the brain. Without it, our brains can’t take in new information or make new cells.” He goes on to state that exercise has another vital role in signaling the release of several key hormones that not only affects learning and attention, but also influences attention, perception and motivation. By elevating these hormones in the brain, it helps keeps us in focus, feeling better and releases tension.”

Importance of Practicing at Game Speed

Intensity of the workout does make a difference. A study in Neurobiolgy of Learning and Memory has found that people learned vocabulary words 20% faster after intense exercise than after low-intense exercising. Those who under take a more demanding exercise, experienced higher levels of BDNF, dopamine and epinephrine in their brains afterwards. Therefore, the more you challenge your body physically, the more the brain benefits. By being in great physical shape, it will not only allow your players to play harder and faster for longer periods of time, but will also enable them to think quicker and make better decisions.


5 Stars

Conditioning Drills

Condition with the Ball!

Basketball is not cross country. Condition with the ball. Use fast break and full court drills for conditioning. Being able to execute at high speeds when tired is vital to a successful performance. Proven fast break and conditioning drills:


View/Print Wolf: One-on-One Full Court

View/Print Two Player Break Series

View/Print Three Player Break Series

View/Print 5 Player Break (Back-to-Back-to-Back)

View/Print "Michigan" Three Player Break

View/Print 3-on-2 / 2-on-1 Full Court

View/Print Continuous 3-on-2 with Trail

Don't expect players to condition at the same rate. Players condition at different rates. One size fits all does not apply to basketball. Do not expect your "Bigs" to condition at the same speed as the "Smalls." As a general rule, Smalls need to develop more physical strength while the Bigs need to work on improving their conditioning.