Over the last couple of years basketball training has dramatically changed.
The old regime of weight lifting, distance running and rudimentary skills training is over. Today’s players are stronger, faster, and more athletic than players of the past. Imagine Kareem Abdul Jabaar with 30 more pounds of pressure. Players like Moses Malone were monsters but they were just big men not the chiseled athletes, like Dwight Howard and Shaquille O’Neal.
Back in the day players only had to be exceptionally good to make it in the NBA. There was as much critiquing of their athleticism as there is in the NBA today. Bob Lanier was a great basketball player but was not a fantastic athlete. He was a dominant center but would never be able to handle the physical play of today’s game.
Many of the greats of all time lacked the true athleticism required to be successful today. The game has gotten quicker and the players have gotten quicker.
Today much of the training focuses on speed, agility, flexibility and conditioning.
The season get divided into three distinct time frames, out-of-season, pre-season, in-season and post-season. There are specific goals within each time period that will prepare the athlete. During the out-of-season period strength gains and cardiovascular foundation training is the goal.
The athlete coming off a brief post-season recuperation period will begin a program of intense weight training and conditioning. Weight training is no longer about bench pressing, bicep curls and squats it is a scientific approach to the athletes position and their weaknesses.
A basic strength program will be instituted with specialized training on their weaknesses. Additional exercises will add that will compliment the basic program. Endurance training is also a component of the out-of-season period.
This also has changed. Tears ago athletes were just sent out and told to run. Now, their intensity levels, based on working heart rate, are monitored and the athlete is guided statistically though the workout. Treadmill work as well as track work for agility training is utilized.
The athlete will also work on some specific skills required for their position. After an out-of-season program is finished the athlete should be ready for pre-season training. The introduction of skill specific training and basketball related activities are begun.
The player will continue to do the basic strength and conditioning program but now it is to maintain not to gain. During the pre-season agility training is heavily used. This is the major change in the basketball training over the years.
The sports science world has determined that being more agile reduces injury, increases speed; increase reaction time, quickness, acceleration and change of speeds. Agility training is an intense progressive series of exercises aimed at integrating many muscle groups and mimicking sports related activities.
Exercises such as lateral slides, figure runs, T drill, sprint lateral shuffle, line hops, rope ladder, cone sliding, box drill, square drill, figure 8’s, and low hurdles. Another exercise routine that will be added during the per-season is plyometrics or jump training.
Plyometric exercise are designed produce fast, powerful movements, improve the functions of the nervous system. These exercises will increase performance of any specific sport by improving their movements. Plyometric training movements are those in which a muscle is fully loaded and then contracted quickly.
Strength, elasticity, and innervations of the muscle and surrounding tissues are improved so the player can improve. Agility and Plyometrics training should be added later in the pre-season. During the season the player will tone down workouts and focus more on maintaining gains made in the pre-season.
Agility training can stay at the same level as it is not as energy draining as plyometrics and should be used as a warm-up. Once the season is complete the athlete must have a period of rest in order to recuperate.
The rest will allow any injuries to be treated and heal, rejuvenate the body and give the player much needed mental break from the demands of competition.