Basketball Conditioning Drills

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Basketball conditioning drills play a major role in getting any team into its tip-top shape. For teams pondering championship seasons, it's imperative that every player be in good enough cardiovascular shape to go strong for a full 48 minutes. Even if many junior leagues only run four eight-minute quarters or two 20-minute halves, there's no telling when a game might head into overtime.

Even a 32-minute game can demand the most from fit players, who run repeated fast breaks and take a veritable pounding underneath the boards. The combination of an up-tempo game and physicality can wear down a hard-driving team in no time, leaving little fuel in the tank for those critical last few minutes when so many games are decided. Player substitutions can help minimize this attrition, but only to a degree. Besides, you want to keep your first-stringers on the court for as many minutes as they can handle without compromising their level of play.

Basketball Conditioning Drills Are the Answer

Nothing can take the place of regular basketball conditioning drills at every practice, no matter how well or poorly your players perform. There's a tendency for coaches to go easy on the running immediately before or after an actual game, which is usually wise. Showing your team too much permissiveness, however, even after a fundamentally strong practice, is a dangerous habit. Smart coaches reward their team's hard work on the court with even more strenuous conditioning exercises.

Much like baseball players who swing heavier bats while warming up for their plate appearances, basketball players who overdo it in practice typically find game conditions relatively easier. Of course, even tough discipline has its limits, and no coach should ever jeopardize his players' health through excessive conditioning. The trick with basketball conditioning drills is to find that middle ground that's demanding but not dangerous.


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