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5 Tips For The Pre-Season

Posted By: Alan SteinPosted date:

In: BlogNo Comments

I’ve been saying this for years:

A basketball player’s athleticism is the foundation of their entire game.


In order for a player to maximize their talent on the court, they need to be able to move well, move efficiently and move consistently without dysfunction (or premature onset of fatigue)

If a player can improve their strength, power, explosiveness, agility, reaction, quickness, flexibility and conditioning level, then they can perform the skills of shooting, passing, ball handling, rebounding, and defending at a much higher level.

That is why the best players (and best teams) are in the best shape!

Just as a player’s athleticism is the foundation of their game, the pre-season lays the foundation for the up-coming season. What players do from the start of the school year until the day of the first practice will determine the type of season they will have.

Not all players, in fact very few, have the genetic potential to be as athletic as LeBron James or Russell Westbrook. However, every basketball player can make improvements to their athleticism. Keep in mind, athleticism is not just jumping high and running fast. True basketball athleticism includes hand/eye coordination, footwork, acceleration/deceleration, reaction, strength, mobility, coordination and stamina.

Train with purpose this pre-season:

  • Train to reduce the occurrence and severity of injuries
  • Train to improve performance on the court

Please remember that basketball is not a speed game! It is an agility game, a change of direction game, a reaction game and an acceleration/deceleration game. Your training should reflect this.

Here are 5 concepts that make a BIG difference:

  1. There is a difference between ‘working out’ and ‘training.’ Training has a purpose and takes you closer to a goal. Working out just means you get sweaty and huff and puff. Just because a workout was hard, doesn’t mean it was purposeful. Shooting 20 full court lay-ups, blindfolded with a weighted vest and a medicine ball is very hard… but won’t necessarily get you better. Don’t just train hard. Train smart.
  2. It takes up to 10,000 hours to truly master a skill. Repetition is not a form of punishment. Repetition is how you get good at anything. It can take 5,000-10,000 reps to change a movement pattern. That includes footwork and shooting mechanics.Steph
  3. Why is proper strength training so important? Do you want to be the bug or the windshield? Seven days without strength training makes one weak. Proper strength training for basketball is more than just bench pressing and squatting. You must train your feet & ankles, core, and grip in addition to your upper and lower body.
  4. Tight ankles and weak feet will limit your ability to run and jump as fast and as high as possible as well as increase your potential for both ankle and knee injuries. Your body is all connected (obviously). If you stand on one leg, it is physically impossible to move your knee without moving your ankle or hip. Everything functions together. That is why having strong & mobile ankles and hips are the key to knee health!
  5. Basketball conditioning stats to keep in mind when designing your pre-season training program (from the 2010 BSMPG Clinic):
  • Average heart rate: 165-170 bpm
  • High intensity sprints occur every 20-30 seconds
  • 100+ high intensity sprints per game
  • 40-50 maximal jumps per game
  • Change in movement every 2-3 seconds
  • Primary movement patterns:
    • Sprinting
    • Back pedaling
    • Defensive sliding
    • Jumping (and landing)
    • Pivoting
    • Lunging
  • 30% of time is spent defensive sliding
  • 15% of time is in high intensity

Final thought for the pre-season:

“Success always looks easy to those who weren’t around when it was being earned.”

Train hard. Train smart. Enjoy the journey.

Alan Stein
Hardwood Hustle Blog