12 Thoughts on the Preseason

A basketball player's athleticism is the foundation of their entire game. In order for a player to maximize their potential on the court, they need to create as wide of a foundation as possible (picture the base of a pyramid).

If a player can improve their strength, power, explosiveness, agility, reaction, quickness, flexibility and conditioning level, then they can perform the skills of shooting, passing, ball handling, rebounding, and defending at a much higher level. They can also perform their skills with more efficiency and perform them for longer before fatigue sets in. That is why the best players are in the best shape!

Just as a player's athleticism is the foundation of their game, the preseason lays the foundation for the upcoming season. What players do from the start of the school year until the day of the first practice will determine the type of season they have.

Not all players, in fact very few, have the genetic potential to be as athletic as Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson. However, every basketball player can make improvements to their athleticism. Keep in mind, athleticism is not just jumping high or dunking.

With proper and purposeful training, players can make impressive strides in their hand/eye coordination, footwork, acceleration/deceleration, reaction, strength, mobility, and stamina.

It is these 'little things' that make a BIG difference!

Here are 12 thoughts regarding your preseason training:

1. Set these three goals: No injuries during training and workouts, train to reduce preventable injuries, train to improve performance on the court.

2. Basketball is not a speed game! It is an agility game, a change of direction game and an acceleration/deceleration game. Your training should reflect this.

3. There is a difference between "working out" and "training." Training has a purpose and takes you closer to your goal!

4. Just because a workout was hard doesn't mean it was productive. It must be purposeful! Shooting 20 full court lay-ups with a weighted vest and a medicine ball is very hard...but won't get you any better. Train hard, train smart!

5. It takes 10,000 hours to truly master a skill. Repetition is not a form of punishment. It can take 5,000-10,000 reps to change a movement pattern.

6. Why should you strength train? Do you want to be the bug or the windshield? Seven days without strength training makes one weak.

7. Proper strength training for basketball is more than just bench pressing and squatting. You must train your feet and ankles, core, and grip in addition to your upper and lower body.

8. Tight, weak ankles and feet limit your ability to run and jump as fast and as high as possible as well as increase the occurrence of injury. Train your feet! It all starts with your feet!

9. Most basketball bodies were not made to back squat safely, particularly under load. Utilize lunges, step-ups, and single-legged deadlifts as alternatives.

10. Having a huge bench press has zero correlation to basketball success.

11. If you stand on one leg, it is physically impossible to move your knee without moving your ankle or hip. Everything is connected and everything functions together. That is why having strong and mobile ankles and hips are the key to knee health!

12. Basketball conditioning stats to keep in mind when designing your training program (from the 2010 BSMPG Clinic):

  • Average heart rate: 165-170 bpm
  • High intensity sprints occur every 20-30 seconds
  • 100+ high intensity sprints per game
  • 40-50 maximal jumps per game
  • Change in movement every 2-3 seconds
  • 30 percent of time is spent defensive sliding
  • 15 percent of time is in high intensity

"Success always looks easy to those who weren't around when it was being earned."

Train hard. Train smart. Enjoy the journey.

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