a youth basketball coaching and athletic resource                              PowerBasketball.com | Site Map | About Us | Contact Us | Advertise
PowerBasketball, Basketball Coaching Resource Site
  Coach's Clinic       Coaching Tips       Fundamentals        Books           Videos         Resources     
13 Summer Training Tips for Basketball Players

by Alan Stein, CCS, CSCS, and owner of StrongerTeam.com

Whether you are in high school or college, the fall semester will be starting soon, with preseason team training workouts soon to follow. Hopefully you have been putting in work all summer and are prepared to make a great impression on your coaching staff upon your return to school.

This article is collection of thoughts and suggestions to make sure you maximize your workouts over the summer. For those of you in high school, most of the premier camps and AAU events will be winding down by late July; which gives you the month of August to focus on your training.

Heal Up

First and foremost, before we talk training, you must acknowledge and address any nagging injuries you may have. You don't want to ignore something little and allow it turn in to something big. Now is the ideal time to address these issues.

As a general rule, if a little rest, ice, and Advil don't do the trick, go see a doctor or physical therapist immediately. Whether you suffered a minor ankle sprain in an AAU game two months ago or you tweaked your groin at camp last week; go get a professional opinion on your condition and then follow their advice. Don't wait until school starts; do it now!


Hopefully, sometime after your season ended or sometime at the beginning of summer, you sat down (preferably with your coach) and evaluated every aspect of your game to get an accurate feel for your strengths and weaknesses. Certainly a good portion of the evaluation should have been directed at your fundamentals; shooting, ball handling, etc. However, for this piece we will focus on the qualities of strength, explosiveness, agility, flexibility, reaction, and power.

It is important you honestly evaluate each of these components so you can better prioritize your training. Regardless of your strengths and weaknesses, I firmly believe in having a comprehensive training program and recommend you address all areas of performance on a consistent basis; but accurately knowing your strengths and weaknesses can help you prioritize each component of your workout.

What to Work On

With the exception of individual differences, at this time of the year you should be putting most of your focus on increasing full body strength and power. There are numerous strength training philosophies and the goal of this article is not to ignite a debate on which is the best. However, there are several fundamental rules most quality strength and conditioning coaches will advocate:

  • Work your entire body; address every muscle group from head to toe including the legs, hips, core, and upper body. Have proper muscular balance by addressing areas around each joint; ankle, knee, hip, shoulder, and elbow.
  • Work your body through all three planes of motion; choose exercises that go front to back, side to side, and rotating/twisting. Go through as many angles and alternative ranges of motion as possible. For instance, there are five primary angles for an upper body pressing motion: overhead, incline, horizontal, decline, and vertical. Same angles for upper body pulling motions. You can also do lunges and step-ups through several different planes and ranges of motion (forward, backward, lateral, cross over, step behind, plus several additional angles).
  • Work within an appropriate repetition range. For basketball you should work roughly between six and 15 reps. While there are certainly instances when it is appropriate to perform more or fewer reps, 6-15 is a good rule of thumb for most sets.
  • Work progressively to add resistance over time and always use proper technique with every exercise.

In addition to those universally accepted fundamentals, I also offer the following recommendations:

  • Give special attention to your feet; they are integral to staying injury free and maximizing performance on the court. I currently have my players do one or two (appropriate) exercises barefoot every training session. Basketball shoes are designed to be very supportive; thus they limit mobility. One of the goals of training is to improve mobility. With that said, basketball shoes are not ideal for strength and conditioning workouts. Do a set of walking lunges with no shoes on and you will see what I mean!
  • Make sure you work your core thoroughly as it is the center of all movement and is actively involved in almost everything you do. I will define your core as everything from your chest to your knees; hips, glutes, low back, abs, obliques and everything in between! The day and age of lying on your back and doing crunches is over! You need to incorporate a variety of methods; throwing (and catching) medicine balls from every conceivable angle and motion, twisting with cables or power bands, static holds, etc.
  • At least once a week, work your body unilaterally, meaning "one side at a time." This is especially important for your lower body; make sure you throw in exercises that must be done one leg a time like lunges and step ups. Again, try to go through a variety of different angles and motions when performing.
  • When performing plyometric exercises; pay close attention to your landing technique (not just your jumping technique). Try to land with your weight evenly dispersed over your entire foot, use your entire body to absorb the impact, land "chest-over-knees-over-feet", and land "quietly" (soft landing; like a cat). Make sure your knees don't buckle in and don't land straight legged. Creating solid landing habits is important for injury prevention; especially for females in preventing ACL injuries. While I most certainly recommend incorporating some type of appropriate plyo exercise in to your workouts; don't overdo it. Limit your volume!

Other Areas of Your Training

In addition to paying close attention to gaining strength; there are several other areas you need to address:

  • Flexibility and mobility: I suggest doing more of an active warm-up and dynamic stretch prior to your workout and save static stretching for afterwards. Remember, stretching is not just for the hamstrings (although that is what 90 percent of folks focus on). Make sure to do appropriate movements to improve flexibility, mobility, and posture in your shoulders, core, IT band, groin, low back, and Achilles.
  • Conditioning: At this time of the year it is not imperative for you to be in great basketball shape; so don't worry about killing yourself with intense court conditioning workouts (yet). You should be getting some decent conditioning with your skill work as well as when you are playing pick-up. You can also mix in some cross training (biking, pool, Stairmaster, jump rope, etc.) to keep things fresh and fun! When you do cross train, I recommend doing interval type work as opposed to slow and steady. Go hard for 20-30 seconds and then go slow for 30-40 seconds (and repeat for 10-15 reps). While being in top notch basketball shape is not urgent, you do want to show up on day one with a high level of overall fitness. That will make getting into actual basketball game shape much easier.
  • Skill work: I have always said it doesn't matter how strong or fit or explosive you are; if you can't shoot, pass, defend, rebound, or handle the ball you will never be a high level basketball player! While I (obviously) know how important the strength and conditioning portion is; training for basketball players is a means to an end, not an end itself. You must work on your fundamentals, especially shooting and ball handling, most days of the week. Repetition is not a form of punishment; it is the only way to get better! Your skill work sessions should be intense and game-like, which will not only make you a better player, but will help you get in basketball shape as well. "Social shooting" won't get you to the next level. Shooting game shots, from game spots, and game speed will!
  • Nutrition: You are what you eat. If you eat bad, you will look and play bad! Most basketball players are looking to gain body weight; which means you have to take in more calories than you burn. This can be very hard to do without proper planning and discipline. For a player looking to gain weight; you should aim to gain one pound a week for the next six weeks and show up on day one with 5-10 additional pounds of muscle. This will be like putting a bigger engine in a car! You will be able to run faster, jump higher, and block out harder!
  • Rest and recovery: Do not neglect the role rest and recovery plays in maximizing your performance. If you are going to be on an intense training program this August, you need to make sure you are allowing your body to recover. I suggest doing everything possible to get eight hours of sleep each night and sneak in a quick 20-30 minute power nap if possible. I also suggest taking one full day off from all intense activity per week. You can shoot some free throws and stretch on that day, but nothing too strenuous. I also recommend taking 3-4 days off right before school starts; to really give your body some extra recovery before your team's preseason workouts begin. Don't worry, you won't "lose anything" by taking those days off, I promise. Whenever possible you should ice ailing areas after every workout (usually knees and low back) as well as use foam rollers and massage.

About the author:

Alan Stein is the owner of Stronger Team and the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for the nationally renowned, Nike Elite DeMatha Catholic High School boys basketball program. He spent 7 years serving a similar position with the Montrose Christian basketball program. Alan brings a wealth of valuable experience to his training arsenal after years of extensive work with elite high school, college, and NBA players.

His passion, enthusiasm, and innovative training techniques make him one of the nationís leading experts on productive training for basketball players. Alan is a performance consultant for Nike Basketball as well as the head conditioning coach for the annual Jordan Brand All American Classic and the Nike Summer Skills Academies. Alan is a Camp Coach at the prestigious NBA Players Associationís Top 100 Camp as well as the Chris Paul CP3 Elite Backcourt Camp. Alan is the former strength & conditioning coach for the McDonaldís All American game. Alan has filmed over a dozen DVDís on improving performance and is a sought after lecturer at basketball camps and clinics across the world. He has been featured in Winning Hoops, Time Out, Dime, SI.com, SLAMonline.com, American Basketball Quarterly, Stack, Menís Health, HOOP, and FIBA Assist Magazine.

You can contact Alan through the following links:

ADVERTISEMENT Basketball Training Videos
Basketball Training Videos endorsed by Mike Bibby and Gilbert Arenas.

NOTICE:All material on this web site is copyrighted. No article may be reproduced or redistributed in any form or manner without the expressed written consent of the respective author. Commercial reproduction is not permitted without the written permission of the Coaching Staff at PowerBasketball.


Winning Hoops

Get your student athlete mentally tough today!

Front Row King specializes in sports tickets such as NBA basketball tickets, boxing tickets and football tickets. Check out deals on Lakers tickets, Heat tickets, Knicks tickets and Celtics tickets.
Championship Productions
helping individuals and teams realize their fullest potential
Better Basketball
Fundamentals and Training DVD's for the Player and Coach
Open since October 21, 1998. Copyright © 1998- PowerBasketball. All rights reserved.
No part of PowerBasketball, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use.
This includes framing of web content, modification, reproduction, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in
any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise is strictly prohibited without prior written permission. You agree to abide by our Disclaimer, Updated Privacy Policy, and Terms of Use.