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frustration sets
mental toughness
basketball skills
youth basketball
fast break
30 minutes
Basketball Conditioning Workouts
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Even with youth basketball it should be expected that physical conditioning be an important part of the training discipline. The goal is to design a conditioning program that will prepare the team for the season and beyond. Hard work and effort are expected of every player. After all, close games are usually won late in the game.

The focus of training should be on speed, agility, and physical conditioning. This article will focus on one aspect of physical conditioning; developing speed. Another important aspect of conditioning is that physical conditioning will complement mental toughness. It is much easier for the mind to will the body to push the physical limits of the body if the body has been conditioned to react instinctively to these demands.

When you are tired, your shots fall short, offensively you cannot get up and down the court to start fast-breaks or conversely, defensively stop or slow down a fast break. Plays break down, efforts are in a desperation mode, and frustration sets in.

What we teach is TCUP (Thinking Correctly Under Pressure). TCUP ties into the mental toughness component that we mentioned above. Teams that are in top physical condition can and will games against more talented, athletically or taller teams by pushing them to the point of fatigue. As I like to tell my teams we want to impose our "will" on our opponent. To do this requires being in top physical condition so the body can react or create the desired result each and every time under game pressure.

To attain the level of physical conditioning that will help us win games requires a commitment from your team and the discipline to conduct conditioning drills each and every practice. The players that can show and execute the physical condition and basketball skills required typically start but bear in mind with youth basketball effort does count and should not be discounted either.

Each practice and this continues throughout the season we devote 20-30 minutes to physical conditioning. All players will run three laps around the gym at a moderate pace to warm-up the legs and their bodies. At this point all players are grouped by either age or school grade level to make sure players are actively competing with their peers.

Full Court Conditioning Drills

Players will then line up on the baseline and at the coaches signal run at half speed to the opposite baseline and return. The next group is lined up on the opposite baseline and will repeat the same drill. All age groups take part and are expected to completed all drills. The warm-up drills can be stopped when you notice sweat beginning to bead or that the players are running in a smooth and relaxed manner.

Using the same baseline alignment you can now progress to full speed running drills for several repetitions always ensuring that the next group is up and ready once the earlier group has finished. A stopwatch can be used and times assigned by group that must be met by each group. Failing to meet a particular time is rewarded with another immediate repetition.

Emphasis should be placed on speed and pivoting on the baseline. Stress the importance of the first three steps that are designed to get the player up to top speed quickly on both the start and at the opposite end when pivoting.


The group as well as the baseline alignment will remain the same. This drill mimics the start and stop normally found in a basketball game or scrimmage.

From the baseline and on the coaches signal players sprint to the foul line and pivot back to the baseline, once the baseline pivot has been made the players sprint to the half court line and back. This continues with the players sprinting to the opposite foul line and return, finally, the players sprint to the opposite baseline and return. At this point the drill for this group has been concluded.

Emphasis should be directed on generating speed quickly from the start and at each pivot point during the drill. Once these techniques are learned it is a good idea to use a stopwatch and give predetermined times these drills are to completed by.

Ensure that each conditioning drill has a benefit to it or include some form of competition. Everything in basketball is competitive and the conditioning should be also.

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