Founder and former President of the National Basketball Conditioning Coaches Association, he works for the Miami Heat from 14 years, at the beginning as the conditioning coach and now as assistant and conditioning coach. He is the co - author, with other NBA conditioning coaches, of two books on this topic
Strength and conditioning coaches train and develop many components involved in making athletes better. They include conditioning, strength, power, quickness, speed, agility, balance, flexibility as well as nutrition.
As you improve in each of these areas, you will become a better athlete. You will run faster, jump higher, move quicker, and work harder longer.
Of all the components, one stands out as the base of all others: conditioning. If you fatigue because of a poor conditioning base, all other components suffer. You don’t jump as high, move as fast or last very long. Conditioning is paramount. The worst way to lose is to a lesser team because you fatigue in the 2nd half.
Conditioning starts with being at your optimum weight and body fat. Our athletes are required to be at or below a certain body fat.
The “Bigs” (centers and power forwards) must be under 10% body fat and the “Perimeters” (point guards, guards and small forwards), must be under 8%. Increasing general conditioning along with proper nutrition can lower body fat. The athletes that are above their prescribed body fat percentage when fall camp starts spend an extra hour each day conditioning on a stationary bike, stair climber, or treadmill until they achieve their body fat goal.
SPORT SPECIFIC CONDITIONING
Basketball is a sport that involves anaerobic endurance: high intensity work with brief periods of recovery.
To train the energy systems involved in basketball, the conditioning program must involve high intensity work bouts with recovery periods, not long distance runs We start our conditioning program 12 weeks before the first practice. Initially we start on a track where we start with 400 and progress to 200, 100s and 50 meters over a 7-week period before moving to the court. Once on the court, we will do a variety of conditioning drills that involve:
a) The length of the court from baseline to baseline: an example, 10 lengths in a minute, 5 and a half in 30 seconds and 4 in 22 seconds. A practice’s example: 5 sets of 10 lengths each with two minutes of rest between each other, or 8 sets of 4 lengths, each with 40 seconds of rest between each other.
b) The width from sideline to sideline: an example, from 10 to 17 widths, for a certain number of sets.
As we progress, we add the conditioning circuit. This circuit involves 8 stations that are set up on and around a basketball court. There are 2 players per station, for a maximum of 16 players involved. The 8 stations are:
- Agility Training
- 4 Way Resistance
- Medicine Ball Tosses
- Quick Feet Plyos
- Resistance Running
- Balance Training
- Jump Training
- Lateral Slides
The athletes are at each station for 5 minutes with one minute to get ready for the next station for a total of 47 minutes.
STATION 1: AGILITY TRAINING
Equipment: The Agility Ladder
Drills: A wide variety of agility drills can be done with the agility ladder, including forward movements. Lateral movements, and backward movements. The 2 players work at the same time. They do 3 sets of drills each for one minute with a minute rest in between.
STATION 2: FOUR WAY RESISTANCE
Equipment: A Set of Resistance Bands
Drills: The 2 players step into each end of the bands. One player is the “anchor” while the other does the drill. This drill involves four different movements:
- Lateral to the Right
- Lateral to the Left
The first player moves three steps quickly and explosively to the right and back to the starting position under control. He does 5 repetitions and switches direction and does 5 repetitions to the left. Then the second player does the lateral movements. The first player then repeats the drill forward, three steps for 5 repetitions and backwards. The second player then goes forward and backwards. The goal is to do 2 sets in the 5 minutes.
STATION 3: MEDICINE BALL TOSSES
Equipment: A 5 Kg Medicine Ball
Drills: The two players face each other about four meters apart. They sit deep into a squat position: Thighs parallel to the floor, knees over the feet, heels on the floor, chest up and stay in that position while they toss the ball to each other, 10 tosses each with 2 hand overhead bounce passes.
They then stand up and do side tosses to develop torso rotation, 10 each to the left, and 10 each to the right. They rest one minute and repeat a second set.
STATION 4: QUICK FEET PLYOMETRICS
Equipment: The Quick Feet Quad
Drills: The Quick Feet Plyometrics involve 2 drills in three different ways. Forward and back and side to side done with two feet, the right foot and the left foot. Each drill is done as quickly as possible for 10 seconds.
The first player jumps forward and back continuously for 10 seconds and then does side to side for 10 seconds. The other player counts the number of times he lands on the starting spot. Then the second player does his 2 feet drills. The first player does his right foot drills then the second player does his. They finish with the left foot drills.
STATION 5: RESISTANCE RUNNING
Equipment: A Set of Resistance Bands
Drills: The two players step into each end of the bands.
The first player runs as hard as possible the length of the court, as the second player walks behind him supplying the resistance. They reverse positions on the way back.
The second run is backwards to half court, with second player running backwards back to the start. They rest one minute and repeat the 2 drills.
STATION 6: BALANCE TRAINING
Equipment: Two Balance Discs
Drills: Balance training is an area often overlooked by athletes.
This station is a chance to recover from the conditioning, while working on an important component: balance. Each player has their own balance disc and performs the following exercises for 10-15 seconds each. Do both the right and left before moving to the next drill.
- 1 Foot
- 1 Foot, eyes closed
- 1 Foot with squat
- 1 Foot squat, eyes closed
- 1 Foot touch floor with hands
STATION 7: JUMP TRAINING
Equipment: The Vertimax Jump Training Device
Drills: We use the Vertimax because it is the only device we have found that has consistent resistance throughout the full range of motion. The players take turns doing 3 jumping drills against resistance.
- Squat Jumps (10-12 jumps). Getting deep, thighs parallel to the floor for each jump.
- Max Jumps (10-12 jumps) Jumping with as much force as possible with each jump.
- Quick Jumps (10-12 jumps) Jumping as quickly as possible with each jump.
STATION 8: LATERAL SLIDES
Equipment: Slide board
Drills: Each player puts on the “booties” over their basketball shoes for smooth sliding.
The players take turns doing 3 sets of 30 second bouts, trying to do more slides with each set or do a certain number of reps (30-40 range) and get faster with each set.