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Aerobics For Basketball Players?

by Danny McLarty, CSCS www.DannyMcLarty.com

Back when I was playing hoops in college, in the pre-season our team was tested in the 1-mile run. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, other than, coach wants to see how good of shape we are in, so I’m going to run this thing as fast as I can. Fast forward a number of years later, and I started to learn more about the body. I learned about different energy systems and which ones are used for particular tasks that we perform when competing in sports, or when working out in general. And as I become more educated, I remember thinking; I wonder why our coach tested us in the mile??? I mean, there is never a point in the game where we run 5 + minutes without a break. Hmm?

Anyway, I now know the mile to pretty much be a pointless test for basketball players. Basically, we sprint up and down the court, get in a defensive stance, chase our opponent around a few screens, box him out when the shot goes up, and sprint down to the other end of the court, run our opponents off a screen or two, and this continues for a bit. OR, a whistle is blown due to a foul, the ball goes out of bounds, a coach calls a T.O., a brawl breaks out in the stands (ahem, Detroit Pistons fans ;) ), or something similar. Regardless, there is a break in the action very often. So again, none of this even comes close to resembling a 1-mile run.

I even touched upon the topic in this article, Optimal Off-Season Training , that I wrote a few years back (towards the end of the article where I mention fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fibers). Strength Coach Charles Poliquin goes into a little further detail on the matter in his article, “Do Basketball Players Need Aerobics?”

With basketball season right around the corner (except for you NBA – come on, get it together!!!), coaches will be preparing their players with their workout program. Most basketball coaches know X’s and O’s, but are not qualified to run an “optimal” strength and conditioning program (understandably, as their time is spent recruiting, running camps, scouting, game planning, preparing for practice, etc etc.). Therefore, I’m hoping articles/blog posts like this will help steer these coaches in the right direction. So, if you are a basketball coach that’s about to start conditioning your players for the season, just remember, that basketball is a sport that is filled with a lot of starts and stops throughout the game.

Testing your athletes or simply conditioning your players with the mile run (or further) is NOT the way to go.

Don’t forget to check out Coach Poliquin’s article for more information on the topic.

About the author:

Danny McLarty, CSCS is a strength coach in Rockton, Illinois. Danny earned a place in the Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007 for his high school and college career. He accomplished this while standing at a height of 5'7". He is also a basketball skills coach where he works with players one-one-one, in small groups, and runs basketball clinics. Danny takes the players step by step through his "blueprint," teaching them how to take their game to the next level. You can read more about Danny at his website, www.DannyMcLarty.com .

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