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Off-Season Basketball Work-Outs

By Courtney Campbell
The Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook

From Courtney Campbell - Courtney is the owner of Train to Ball and the head strength and conditioning coach for boys basketball at Gainesville High School (Gainesville, Fla.). He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Florida, where he served as a graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach, working with basketball, golf and tennis athletes. Follow him on Twitter.

off-season empty gym

Consider these while organizing your Off Season Basketball Workouts

Take Inventory

You've completed your season. And whether you are the few who ended their season with a win or the majority whose last memory is filled with crying players and disappointed friends, family and fans, it is time to refocus on what you can be. How do you properly transition into a phase called the off-season? With the offseason upon you, it is time to take inventory on what you have.. To maximize your offseason basketball workouts, employ the following tips:

What's your style of play?
- What is your basketball philosophy? Do you believe in running and gunning, trapping or do you prefer a methodical half court offense?. Your basic philosophy will determine the drills and exercises that you will include in your offseason program. For example, if you run a motion offense that requires face cuts, focus on change direction drills to maximize face cut movement efficiency.

Action: Write a list of the skills required to play in your system.

Who are your returning players?
- Who are your returning players? Your returning players will determine the direction of your offseason workouts. Do you return young players that need to gain weight and athleticism, or will you have a veteran team that needs to maximize power and skill? Write a list of your returning players and potential players. This will give you a guide on determining your strengths and weaknesses.

What are your strengths and weakness?
Determine your strengths.
-Your strengths are the physical tools that are above average in comparison to other teams.

Determine your weakness
- Your weaknesses are physical tools that are below average in comparison to other players. Physical tools to consider are:
  • Speed (acceleration)
  • Deceleration (ability to slow down/change directions)
  • Agility
  • Coordination/footwork
  • Vertical jump
  • Lateral movement
  • Post/Rebounding Strength/Power
  • Balance

Action: Use your "potential team" list and rate reach player below average, average, or above average based on the physical tools list.

Consider your opponents?
- Consider the team that is your biggest hurdle for a successful season. Is there a baseline level of speed, strength, or power that will allow you to compete and overcome this obstacle?

Action: Write notes analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your opponents.


When, where, and how will you train?

- Consider the following:
  • When and where do you access to your training facility.
  • Is there enough space for your team and another team.
  • What equipment do you have, and what do you need to purchase?
  • Can you use alternative equipment or exercises.

How many days per week?

- Train at least 2 days per week and at a maximum 4 days per week. Of course the volume is dictated by other factors such as:
  • You and your staff availability.
  • Player availability
  • Player involvement on other teams
  • Player total physical activities volume.

Workout Split?

- Basketball specific training requires you to think in terms of movements and not "body parts". For example, we are not training the lats, we are training pulls. This is the current standard of elite basketball performance training. So with that said, your daily split can still focus on upper vs lower body.

To keep it simple, focus one day on upper body and one day lower body. When will you train core? Core will be included in both workouts. In addition, alternate upper body with lower body and try not to train two movements on back to back days. (Remember- we think in movements not body parts).

Injury Prevention?

- Injuries of the acl, ankle, low back, and knee can be prevented with proper training. Most injuries occur due to weakness or overuse. For example, acl injuries occur when players have excessively large quads in comparison to hamstrings. To prevent this, include more hip (Hamstring/Glutes (butt) dominant movements vs knee dominant movements (quad).

Vertical Jump maybe overrated. (shock)

- Focus primarily on your weakness based on your style of play.. However, coaches, players, and fans are infatuated with vertical jump height. However, think about the percentage of time a basketball player is actually jumping.

It is actually a small percentage of the game. Do not dedicate your entire program to increasing your players vertical jump. If your focus is only vertical jump, you are neglecting speed, quickness, agility, balance, and other important skills needed to perform at a high level.

- Action: balance athletic development beyond just vertical jump training.

When will you train basketball skills?

- Unfortunately, basketball players do not develop their skills in the offseason as once before. With AAU, USSSA, and other organizations, players do not take time to develop their individual skills. Make decisions if you are going to include individual skill development in your program.

The advantages to skill development are that you know your players are developing proper skills and at a proper rate. If you decide to include skill training, I suggest including skill training at least multiple times per week. However, with the addition of weight room/movement training, you do not want to overtrain your athletes.

Action: Do not overtrain. Especially if your players are involved in other offseason sports. Judge by weakness, sickness, and general well being of your players.

Other Issues

What are your State High school sports commission rules?
- Make sure you comply with your local sports commission rules. You do not want violate your state commission rules and receive a fine or potentially lose wins do to a costly mistake.

Train JV & varsity together
- I personally believe in training JV and varsity together when possible. It builds camaraderie and many JV players will be future teammates with your current varsity. Training together helps build relationships during the offseason basketball workouts.