Below is an excerpt from a great article I read recently which explains the advantages to training as an athlete rather than specifically as a basketballer (or other specific sportsperson) while still in developmental stages. As you will read, strength and correct movement patterns (such as those used in our Complete Youth Conditioning sessions) are the keys to developing a solid base for healthy physical development.
By: JC Moreau, MS, FMS, USAW-SP
Fifteen years of training men’s and women’s basketball players, from junior high through the professional ranks will teach you things. One of the many things it has taught me is that certain training protocols have clearly had the greatest positive impact on the performance and health of these athletes. The more I read about self-proclaimed “basketball-specific” trainers or methods, the more I am reminded of what these athletes really need. And it is not the latest gimmick, but the basic principles of sound performance-development.
Despite the various ways we can define “sound performance training principles,” my experience has shown that proper movement, structural balance and postural integrity are king. And the progressive overload of fundamental strength movements are still the ideal way to accomplish this. When this is combined with higher volume and controlled tempo it goes a long way in developing a solid foundation, which includes greatly improved postural integrity.
It is the implementation of sound performance principles, applied programmatically, that make up the foundation of our basketball training protocols. Our objective is to produce an athlete who operates from a good base of mobility, demonstrates proper movement patterns and can maintain postural integrity for the duration of a game or practice. Once that has been attained, we know they have developed the strength required to minimize the potential for non-contact injuries, have a far better chance of remaining healthy and can also take their “game” to the next level.
Recently, an AAU basketball coach commented on the improved stamina, quickness, explosiveness and body position of his players in their last few tournaments. When he asked how I had managed to accomplish this with his players my answer seemed to surprise him with its simplicity. “We made sure they could squat and lunge properly and then we got them stronger in those areas.”
We certainly did more than two exercises, but by focusing on proper structural balance and postural integrity while improving leg strength the players were able to remain in a defensive stance longer and quite simply played the game with better body position for two full halves. The result was athletes who were in a better position to take a first step, could take a STRONGER (thus FASTER) first step, remain in a strong “box out” stance under the net, jump higher, run faster, stop, breakdown and cut more effectively. And they could do all of this for a much longer duration.
Sure, we perform an equal amount of upper body strength work, including some hoops specific rebounding, grip, passing, pushing, and pulling work in the weight room. We also train speed and agility drills, some basketball specific footwork, balance and core work, ball control and other drills. Just like everyone else. But, when asked how to improve basketball performance in players from 10 to 22, my short answer is, “Get them stronger!”
Keep Moving :)
Level 2 Fitness Professional, Level 1 Strength and conditioning Coach, Qualified Children’s Trainer.
David Lawrence Vella is Director of David Lawrence Fitness and Creator of Complete Youth Conditioning and Complete Sports Conditioning. A Personal Trainer and Strength and Conditioning coach for over 18 years, David is passionate about “Lighting the Fitness Fire” in everyone, especially young people.
To have your Fitness, Strength and Conditioning questions answered please email Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org