Explosiveness is an important ingredient in the game of basketball. Players and coaches are constantly in search of ways to jump higher and run faster. After all, with all else equal, the player or team who can run faster and jump higher has a tremendous advantage over their opponent.
Vast improvements can be made to a player's explosiveness by implementing a structured, progressive, and safe strength training and plyometric program, complemented by dynamic flexibility training and court conditioning drills.
By improving in each of the following five areas; a basketball player will become more explosive on the court:
If a player increases the strength in their legs, hips and core, they will automatically improve their ability to produce force, which results in increased explosiveness. For example, the more force a player can exert against the ground, the higher the potential to jump.
It is extremely important for a strength training program to be safe, time efficient, and productive. To reduce orthopedic stress while strength training, players should work within an appropriate repetition range (8-15 reps per set) and avoid maxing out (seeing how much they can lift for one repetition).
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Players should aim to make every strength training workout as time efficient as possible; this is done by using a limited number of sets and exercises, thus making the workout brief, yet very intense. This can also be accomplished by minimizing rest intervals between sets to induce an overall conditioning effect.
A strength program should focus on training the entire body equally to ensure muscle balance, as well as having each exercise taken to the point of momentary muscular fatigue (the point at which no further reps can be achieved). Working opposing muscle groups equally will help reduce the risk of on-court injuries, while training at a high level of intensity will produce maximum results.
All of this can be accomplished in two or three well-planned full-body workouts per week, each lasting about an hour.
As obvious as it sounds, if a player wants to be able to jump higher, he or she needs to practice jumping as high they can. Plyometric exercises such as jumping, skipping and bounding--if incorporated appropriately--provide a means for players to practice jumping with maximum effort in a controlled and safe environment. Additionally, a proper plyometric program can help train the nervous system to perform athletic movements more efficiently. These exercises and drills should be chosen carefully and be done in limited volume.
What Are Plyometrics?Plyometrics are exercises that
usually involve some form
of explosive movement such as
jumping, hopping, or bounding
for the lower body, as well as
some type of swinging, pushing,
and throwing for the upper body.
Plyometrics are designed to
increase power, coordination,
balance and quickness.
Again, attempts should be made to reduce as much impact and orthopedic stress as possible. That is, try and use soft training surfaces, make sure your players are wearing proper footwear, and know that when it comes to plyometric training, more is not necessarily better.
Squat jumps, broad jumps, lateral bounds, and box jumps are some common plyometric exercises used to increase a basketball player's explosiveness. As mentioned before, when performing box jumps, it is highly recommended that players jump onto the boxes only; they should walk down off of the boxes to eliminate as much impact as possible.
It is important to note that these exercises should be performed when players' legs are fresh; they should be done before a strength training workout if both workouts are being performed one after the other.