Pre-season Training for Basketball

With basketball season rapidly approaching, here are 4 important tips you can implement into your performance training program.

Increase Vertical Leap


Every basketball player that comes in to see us at Athlete’s Arena lists “improving vertical leap” as their #1 goal of training.  Be warned of too many coaches and programs pushing their “plyometric” program on your child in an attempt to improve their vertical leap.  Most athletes we see are not ready for a high impact plyometric program and implementing one will put them at risk of injury.  A proper strength training and stretching program prior to a plyometric or jump training program is necessary.  Research has also shown a proper warm-up has a positive impact on improving vertical leap.

Improve Quickness

Quickness, or the ability to accelerate and decelerate in a short period of time, is another important trait of a good basketball player.  Reaction time should also be considered when training to improve quickness.  Sport-specific drills that mimic those used on a basketball court should be implemented to improve quickness and reaction time with a heavy focus on lateral movement and first-step power.

Injury Prevention

Ah, injury prevention! Our number one priority with all of our athletes.  The most common injuries we see with basketball players are ACL injuries (girls more than boys), chronic ankle injuries and jumper’s knee or patellar tendonitis (more common in boys than girls).  With all female basketball players, we implement our 8-week ACL prevention program with some athlete specific modifications.  An ankle strengthening program with bands, agility drills and a proper warm-up and cool down programs will also aid in injury prevention.


What my greatest “pet peeve” when it comes to conditioning for basketball players?  Recommending them to run cross country!  What?  Run cross country?  What does running cross country have to do with the energy systems used when playing basketball?  When in basketball do you have to run at a steady state for 3.2 miles?

Implementing conditioning based around agility drills and short sprints with a smaller rest period would benefit a basketball player much better.  Steady state, long distance running will lead to injury, overtraining as well as a decrease in strength gained from all the weight training done in the off-season.  Mike Boyle, a world famous strength and conditioning coach, has been quoted as saying, “it takes years to get strong and weeks to get in shape.”

I hope these tips help.  Feel free to email us at or call 803.750.9036 with any questions.

Coach Shane