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July 15, 2014     Newsletter #41

Dear Coaches, Players, Friends,

Today's Quotes
"Don't play sports to get into shape. Get into shape to play sports." - unknown
"Players are made in the off season, teams are made during the season."
"The more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in battle."

Today's theme is "Basketball Conditioning"

Endurance, strengthening, stretching and flexibility all are important parts of playing any aerobic type sport such as basketball. Close games are won late in the game often by the team with the best physical conditioning. When you are tired, your shots come up short, you miss your free-throws, your defense, hustle and rebounding suffer... and these are the things that win games. If you are a quick, full-court pressing and fast-breaking team, you must be in top physical condition and you can win against more talented teams by pushing them to their point of fatigue.

Ideally, the conditioning process should begin before the season starts, as each serious-minded player should come to the first practice already having begun his/her conditioning at home a couple weeks before practices begin. A home program can involve stretching exercises, home strengthening exercises, running distances and sprints and jumping rope (good for foot speed, coordination and endurance).

Once practices start, use a program of stretching, followed by running drills that stress aerobic conditioning. Finish with strengthening exercises or weight room work-out (two or three days a week). Players are stronger these days and this translates into confident, athletic teams that can rely on their strong rebounding, defense, and hustle to win many games.

Many teams run sprints ("gut busters", or whatever you like to call them). However, I believe that it is better to run specific conditioning drills using a ball, rather than just running sprints. If you are going to make your players run, have then do it with a ball... speed dribbling, dribbling moves, full court defense 1-on-1, etc. There are a number of great drills that combine conditioning and specific skills. When you do these drills, your players will get tired quickly. When they are tired, let them catch their breath by having them shoot free-throws or work on shooting form to simulate the fatigue that occurs in a game situation. But be sure to start your practice with stretching exercises first, to enhance flexibility and avoid injuries.

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Till next time...
Best wishes,
Dr. Jim Gels, aka "Coach Gels"
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