Basketball Speed & Agility Training
Although sprint training certainly won’t hurt, the emphasis here should be on multi-directional quickness and basic agility movements.
The fundamental skills of shuffling and crossover running are essential and have room for improvement with most young players. Enhanced technique with these skills can make a huge difference in performance, particularly on the defensive end of the court.
Being able to make quick, sharp cuts on offense can help get separation from a defender. On the other side of the ball, this can help you to stay on your player in man-to-man defensive schemes. Basketball players must use optimal foot positions in order to maximize their natural quickness and change-of-direction abilities.
Basketball Strength Training
Although it is an extremely valuable tool for long-term basketball development, careful consideration must be given to how much muscle is build up through strength training. Being an intensely anaerobic sport, carrying around any unneccesary weight will make getting up and down the court, or elevating, increasingly difficult.
Basketball players should be focusing primarily on strength and power with a limited emphasis on building muscle, unless there is an individual-specific need.
Core stability work is also key, as it will improve posture and limit early fatigue in games. It will also transfer over to better speed and agility, not to mention improving your vertical.
Leg strength training SHOULD NOT be avoided. A multi-directional approach to lower body training, combined with upper body and core work will go a long way to the development of basketball players.
Since you have relatively little room to spare when trying to shoot a basketball through a hoop, good shooters simply must have great vision. There are some cutting-edge training ideas out there that incorporate balance, strength and sports vision training all into a series of challenging drills. Those that know how to use these properly can gain an even greater advantage for their athletic development.
Conditioning For Basketball
There are two parts to getting in peak condition for any sport:
- Maximize your aerobic base
- Maximize your anaerobic potential
For all sports developing the aerobic base is the same – you need to do steady state work for relatively long periods of time (20 minutes or more). This will help you to recover faster from the demands of your sport, and it increases your potential to build the next step in your conditioning – the anaerobic phase.
Anaerobic exercise is the type you cannot do for very long periods of time without resting. Think sprints, or any other all-out effort. The way you develop this area is highly dependent on how your sport is played.
For basketball players having a great aerobic base is critical. The anaerobic base should be built by progressively working up to the specific work-rest ratios for your position, age, and level.
Let’s say as an example you are a point guard and based on either your coach or parents charting your activities in a game they see that for every minute you’re on the court you perform 4 lightning fast moves with the remaining time jogging or in an athletc/defensive position.
A great way to condition for this scenario would be to run 1 minute drills with a series of 4 random, explosive movements while holding an athletic position or jogging in between. Repetitions can be built up to the amount of minutes a player can expect to play in a typical game.
Anaerobic workouts for this player should progressively work up to these conditions, they should not start there.
Injury Prevention for Basketball
The #1 goal here is to limit overuse injuries in the lower body. Jumper’s knee, Achilles tendonitis, and even stress fractures are relatively common for those who play a lot of basketball.
In training, very careful consideration must be given to how much extra stress is put on the lower body. Plyometrics, although beneficial for improving jumping power, can easily be overdone and cause more problems than they solve.
Ankle sprains are another common injury in basketball. Incorporating balance and coordination training will help to keep you out of positions that cause sprains while also strengthening the muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding this relatively unstable joint. This is your best defense against severe damage.
Strains to the ligaments in the knee (ACL, MCL mostly) often occur in non-contact situations, and usually come from poor change of direction technique. An improvement in these fundamental skills can lower your chance of knee injuries.
To a lesser extent, shoulder injuries can come up from overuse in shooting. Carefully balancing the amount of shooting with your workout plan can prevent any problems here.
We’ve also noticed that basketball players as a group exhibit relatively low levels of flexibility in both their legs and their shoulders, perhaps contributing to a lot of the pain they experience when playing a lot. A heavy dose of mobility exercises are recommended for lowering basketball injury potential.
Youth Basketball Training Considerations
This is not a sport that fits well for kids who do not like to expend lots of energy. Younger players need be constantly active in a variety of movement-based games. Just getting out and playing unstructured games with some friends, or participating in other sports outside of basketball season will prepare you for the incredible pace seen at higher levels of the sport.
Great coordination, body control, and vision can and should be trained early in life, but in a fun and engaging way. Hand-eye coordination and balance are also very trainable with young players. Running and cutting footwork will improve naturally by staying active, but they can be further enhanced with some coaching guidance to make you even quicker as you mature.
In addition, simple changes like working both the left and right hands while dribbling, shooting, and passing are also great ways to build a coordination foundation in youth basketball players.
Maintaining excellent flexibility, for reasons of avoiding future injury potential, is also highly recommended for young basketball players.
Basketball Training at Power Source
Central Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire basketball players can train with us in any of our elite programs. We’ll tailor your training specifically to target your greatest areas of strength and power needs, as well as help protect you from any potential injury risks, in our Group Personal Training Program.
Our Speed & Agility Classes are designed to enhance the sprint and agility technique through expert coaching, video analysis, sprint treadmills, and a handful of other tools.
At certain times of year we also run week-long Speed Clinics, and are open to working with teams and organizations to set up a private clinic just for your players. Feel free to contact us at any time to inquire about training for an individual athlete, or private clinic/team training options.