Basketball continues to be one of the most popular team sports, with several thousands playing at a  high level on a week-to-week basis. Simply put, it is clear to see that the game itself has  progressively gotten faster and more physical which inherently places greater demands on the body.

The probability of injury when competing can’t accurately be measured, however, little to no preparation from a Strength & Conditioning (S&C) standpoint can increase the risk of injury  dramatically.

For any athlete, simply being available to compete at their respective sport goes a long way in terms of developing the necessary sport-specific skills, however, playing the sport itself with no other external means of training will only get you so far.  

So, how are you able to reach your full athletic potential and gain that competitive advantage, plus what can be done to reduce the injury risk all through using Strength & Conditioning for Basketball? 

Strength & Conditioning for Basketball

Strength & Conditioning for Basketball

It is highly recommended that Basketball athletes engage in an individualised Strength & Conditioning program in the hope to improve overall performance and decrease injury risk.

Even the slightest improvement in physical qualities such as strength, power and speed can prove the difference between winning that jump ball in overtime, or getting beat off the ball when covering a 3-point specialist. 

Strength Training can be done by multiple means, however the main of which are: 

Strength & Power Training 

  • Develop overall soft tissue (e.g. muscles & tendons) strength & resiliency.
    • E.g. Barbells, Dumbbells, Kettlebells, Medicine Balls etc 
  • High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
    • Build cardiovascular fitness in a way that reflects the games demands (intermittent – periods of work, mixed with periods of rest)
      • On and Off Feet Conditioning, such as line touches and assault bike respectively
  • Plyometrics
    • Force Absorption and Expression activities that appropriately prepare the tissues for  the chaotic nature of the game
      • Tall-to-Shorts, and Hurdle Hops
  • Mobility & Flexibility
    • Optimising range of motion (ROM) for better movement quality
      • Extending the arm to block a shot attempt or landing from contested layup

I had the privilege of working with the NBL team the Sydney Kings for a year, going through their respective pre-in and post-season phases.

In such a high-performance setting, in-season training would focus on increasing intensity whilst keeping volume quite low in the hope of preventing residual fatigue leading into games. This can prove challenging when there is limited turn around between games and traveling interstate. In this case a heavy focus would be placed on recovery (e.g. sleep, nutrition & physiotherapy work) between games, and increasing strength and power capacity. 

Strength & Conditioning for Basketball

Notes From My Year With the Sydney Kings

Pre-Season Notes 
  • Testing for both Strength & Conditioning and Physio standpoint 
  • Accumulating Load through GPS to calculate a Acute:Chronic Workload Ratio
  • Progression from Accumulation, Intensification and then Realisation phases 
In-Season Notes 
  • Strength work on designated training days, focus on increasing intensity, whilst decreasing volume – this stimulates the neuromuscular system whilst keeping an eye on physical  fatigue
  • Short duration strength-based work bang for your buck exercises
    • Focus on max strength and power qualities, whilst maintaining other qualities
  • Split up into BIGS & SMALLS programs
  • Conditioning was the product of game-like situations (e.g. 5v5 scrimmages) as well as any off-feet conditioning work that may be incorporated for those who need top ups or those  injured 
  • Strong line of communication between Physio’s and Strength & Conditioning Coaches in achieving milestones for rehab athletes for return to performance
    • Example: Lateral ankle sprain → early stage loading with off-feet CON with gradual emphasis on slow integration on running
  • Recovery modalities
    • Obtaining 8hrs sleep
    • Proper nutrition & hydration (guidance given from nutritionist)
    • Foam Rolling, Normatec Boots
  • Autoregulation
    • Athletes may have a poor night sleep or other event on that may interrupt sleep or ensuing recovery before next day

Put Simply

Proper individualised strength training and recovery can offer huge performance benefits to Basketball players at any level within the game.

It is important to tailor a plan to yourself and combine a combination of approaches with the sporting outcomes in mind.

Performance testing can be a great first step to establish a profile of where you are at and from there a proper training plan can be put into place.

If you have doubt and would like help, please feel free to reach out to the team at Precision Athletica, including the author of this post, Basketball Strength Coach – Jackson Williams.

How Do I Book An Appointment with Precision Athletica for Help?

We’re taking the health of our clients, members and staff very seriously and our preference would be for you to call to book an appointment so that we can make sure to explain our approach to keeping you safe. You can call our bookings team to schedule a session:

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