Welcome to this discussion on the crucial role that pre-season conditioning plays in high school basketball. Conditioning is a topic that often gets overlooked, but it can make a significant difference in a team’s performance throughout the season. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of preseason conditioning and how it can impact a high school basketball team’s success.

The Unique Demands of Basketball Conditioning

Basketball conditioning is distinct from other sports. It involves quick bursts of energy, sprinting, and rapid changes in direction. Unlike sports like football or soccer, basketball players don’t have the luxury of extended breaks during a game. They need to be in peak physical condition to perform at their best.

Preseason Conditioning Programs

School-Wide Conditioning

Many high schools have school-wide conditioning programs that benefit non-fall athletes. These programs are designed to prepare students for their respective sports seasons. However, as a basketball coach, it’s important to ensure that your players are getting the specific conditioning they need for basketball.

Morning Conditioning

Some schools implement morning conditioning sessions. These sessions can involve running, agility drills, and other basketball-specific exercises to improve endurance and stamina.

Additional Conditioning

Coaches often need to supplement school-wide conditioning with basketball-specific exercises. These drills should focus on the rapid, high-intensity movements that are characteristic of basketball.

The Challenge of Balancing Conditioning and Practice

Balancing the need for conditioning with practice time can be challenging, especially as the basketball season gets underway. Coaches need to strike a balance between ensuring their players are in top physical shape and providing enough time for skill development and team strategies.

Incorporating Conditioning into Practice

To address this challenge, coaches can incorporate conditioning into their regular practice routines. These can include:

  • Basketball-Integrated Conditioning: Incorporate basketball skills into conditioning drills. For example, dribbling while running or full-court shooting drills can help players improve their skills while conditioning.
  • Competitive Conditioning: Make conditioning drills competitive. Set performance goals or challenges for your players during conditioning exercises. This can motivate them to push themselves harder and simulate game-like situations.
  • Two-Ball Dribbling: Two-ball dribbling drills not only improve ball-handling skills but also help condition players. These drills engage both hands simultaneously and can be integrated into practice routines.

The Importance of Preseason Conditioning

Well-conditioned teams tend to have more success early in the season. Proper conditioning can lead to better shooting accuracy, improved ball-handling, and reduced fouls. Coaches should emphasize this point during pre-season meetings to instill the importance of conditioning in their players’ minds.


In high school basketball, preseason conditioning is a fundamental element of success. It prepares players for the unique demands of the sport, ensures they are in peak physical condition, and can make a significant difference in the early part of the season. Coaches should balance conditioning with practice, integrate basketball-specific exercises, and emphasize the importance of early conditioning to set their teams up for success.

Remember, well-conditioned athletes tend to perform better and are more likely to reach their full potential on the basketball court. So, whether you’re a coach or a player, embrace the conditioning process and watch how it elevates your game.

Related: Enhancing Practice with One-on-One Basketball Drills


Coach Unplugged Podcast:

Ep 1817 Preseason Player Meeting

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