Conditioning is essential for success at basketball. If you have better wind at the end of each half or quarter, you can out-hustle your opponents to loose balls and the basket for crucial points. Incorporate conditioning drills into your preseason training program to increase your cardiovascular endurance.
Get Started Early
Conditioning primarily occurs during the off-season to get you in shape before competition starts. Begin 12 weeks before the season start. To see significant improvements in your conditioning, fit in two workouts every week. Before each session, perform five minutes of light aerobics such as jogging or jumping rope to increase body temperature and blood flow, and then mix in an array of dynamic stretches to prepare your body for intense work. Women basketball players are at a greater risk of knee and thigh injuries than men, so ensure your legs are properly warmed up before starting the drills.
Off-Season Track Work
Conditioning on a track helps develop the energy systems that fuel your body during intense activities like basketball. Certified strength and conditioning specialist Ramon Williams, who trains basketball athletes at Parisi Speed School in New Jersey, recommends doing eight weeks of track work. The program begins with striders, which are moderate-intensity runs that are slower than sprinting, but faster than jogging. Begin with striders for 600 yards, which would be a lap and a half around the track.
As weeks progress, increase the number of sets you do, but lower the strider distance. Drop it to 500, 400, 300, 250, 200, 150 and finally 100 yards. On the fifth week of training, add all-out sprints. Start at a distance of 80 yards and then increase the number of overall sets you perform while decreasing sprinting distance. Incorporate sprints at 60 yards, 40 yards, 20 yards and 10 yards throughout the last three weeks of track training.
Sprint Drill with Free Throws
During the last four weeks of your conditioning program, move into the gym for more sport-specific, on-court conditioning work. Williams recommends the 17, 13 and 9 sprint drill with free throws. Sprint the width of the basketball court 17 times. Feamle athletes should be able to complete that segment in 75 seconds. Immediately after, shoot two free throws, recording any misses. After a two-minute rest, sprint the width of the court 13 times, which you should complete in 60 seconds. Shoot another two free throws. Rest one minute and then sprint the width of the court nine times, ideally completing the segment in 45 seconds. Take a final two free throws.
Suicides involve starting at the baseline and then sprinting to the closest free throw line and back, then the half-court line and back, then the far free throw line and back and finally the opposite baseline and back. Make the drill more sport-specific by dribbling a basketball while performing the exercise. Cross over regularly to improve dribbling with both your dominant and non-dominant hand. Rest 60 seconds and repeat, completing the drill a total of three times.
Female b-ballers are significantly more susceptible to injuring their knees, so take particular caution during changes of direction to reduce the stress on your knee ligaments. In addition, perform hamstring-strengthening exercises, such as barbell deadlifts and hamstring raises, to reduce your risk of knee ligament tears.
- STACK: The Best Basketball Conditioning Drills
- Eastmont Lady Cats: Women’s Training for Basketball
- The American Journal of Sports Medicine: A Comparison of Men’s and Women’s Professional Basketball Injuries
- Saint Vincent Health: Preventing ACL Injuries in Women
- STAC: 8-Week Basketball Track Conditioning Program