A well-conditioned team is a team that has an opportunity for great success on the basketball court. To become this kind of team though, basketball conditioning must take place. There are a variety of ways to do this: sprints, distance running, tough drills to improve game conditioning, or a combination of the previously mentioned activities.

While we do complete longer distance running, that is something we do the least amount of. That’s because when playing basketball, rarely do you jog or run for a really long distance. We prefer to implement more conditioning through wind sprints and drills that promote conditioning. Below are 3 wind sprint drills that are different from doing basic down/back line touches or suicides.

Basketball Conditioning: the Basketball Mile

This is a great conditioning drill that we got from PGC Basketball. Basketball is divided into four quarters, so the basketball mile is divided into four quarters. The premise behind the basketball mile is the players do run a mile. But they do it in shorter spurts/springs to mimic basketball actions.

To successfully complete this, you need a running clock. At each interval on the clock, coaches must hit the buzzer and players start. The faster they run in the allotted time, the longer rest they get. The slower they run in the allotted time, the shorter amount of rest they receive. A table below shows the breakdown of basketball mile.

Basketball Conditioning

Basketball Conditioning: Champion Runs

This is a run that I ran in my high school under my coach Andy Elkins. It is a long sprint where if you don’t give 100 percent effort, it is impossible to complete.

The Champion Run consists of the following: 1 valley (see note in intro paragraph) followed by 5 full court touches (full court touch= start at 1 baseline and sprint to opposite baseline is 1). Coach Elkins always said the beauty of the Champion Run is that you will end up on the opposite baseline from where you started, so you might as well run two Champion Runs!

We do these runs when we don’t make free throws like we should, commit too many turnovers, or for just some good old-fashioned conditioning. We time these. Boys, especially guards and wings, should complete a Champion Run in the 1:00-1:07 range. Girl basketball players should complete a Champion Run in the 1:10-1:16 range.

Basketball Conditioning: the Riley Test

This is a conditioning test from the Xavier Newsletter #198. This is a great conditioning exercise because it is tough but achievable for players to accomplish.

The Riley Test is five “down and back” runs. The players start on the baseline and must run those five down and back sprints. It is best to group your players by position. After each set the players get a 2:30 break.

The goal for high school boys has always been anywhere from 1:05-1:10 per set and for the girls has been 1:10-1:20. This can decrease as you go throughout the season or get more conditioned. We always started with 3 sets but never did more than 6 sets.

Related: Summer Basketball Prep Work


Coach Unplugged Podcast

Ep 101 Practice Planning, Pre-Season Planning, Conditioning

Ep 152: Conditioning, Building Relationships & Defensive Sets with Coach Todd

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