Conditioning is important in any sport, but every sport will be a little different. We’ve all heard of people being in shape, but not necessarily in basketball shape. With the right drills and guidance from youth basketball coaches, our children can better be prepared as they advance their basketball careers.
When broken down to its core meaning, conditioning is defined as “the process of training a person to behave in a certain way or to accept certain circumstances.” In the basketball world, players are put through a rigorous back-and-forth match that doesn’t have a lot of breaks. Short bursts combined with stamina is what you’re going for here.
Many players hate conditioning, but it’s as necessary as any other skill in basketball. By neglecting this aspect of your game, you’ll have a tough time keeping up with your competition. As a result, it’s the coach’s job to emphasize these types of drills during practice.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, we’ve detailed our three favorite conditioning drills below!
Dribble Suicides Drill
In the dribble suicides drill, you’ll be targeting your player’s ability to sprint and dribble at the same time. It’s not an easy drill and will also test their stamina.
To start, line your team up on the baseline — each player should have a ball in their hands. They’ll first dribble to the free throw line before heading back to the baseline. Then they’ll dribble to halfcourt before returning to the baseline. Then to the opposite free throw line and back. Finally, from baseline to baseline and back. They’ll do this in one take.
The goal here is to get it done as fast as possible, but also without error.
This drill can be done with or without a ball. At first, it might be best to start with no ball and eliminate the dribbling from the drill. You’ll eventually want to work the ball into the drill in order to help your team improve their burst and dribbling at the same time. This is very important during fast break.
10, 5, 2 Drill
This drill will combine sprinting with free throws. As a result, your players will build agility, stamina, dribbling, and their ability to hit free throws under pressure.
Instead of lining them up on the baseline, line your team up on the opposite line (the long way). Each player should have a ball in their hand, but they won’t all go at once. The first player will run the width of the court (not length) 10 times. They’ll immediately go to the free throw line and shoot 2 free throws. The coach will keep track of their percentage. After the 2 free throws, they’ll immediately run 5 more widths of the court and shoot another two free throws. Finally, they’ll finish with 2 sprints and 2 free throws.
Have each player do this (have multiple go at once if you have several baskets available). Keep score and the winner gets to sit out while the losers do 10 more sprints. You can also incorporate teams in this drill.
Whether you’re utilizing the dribble suicides drill or 10, 5, 2 drill, they’ll allow you to condition your players into better basketball shape. This will always translate well on the court.