Great question, or comment. I get asked this all the time by my players. I am going to firmly disagree that it is pointless conditioning though. Every player has a deteriorating effectiveness curve on the court that at some point becomes exponential.
Very little of the game is played at full strength, and if I do my job as a coach, very little is played after that inflection point of effectiveness. I want to get them into that middle zone as quickly as possible. I have found that the best learning comes during this period also, as players seem to know that they need to strike a balance between skill and the nuances of the game.
Please note that the little amount of sprint work isn’t intended to be their conditioning. It is meant to avoid the rather worthless first few minutes of the pick up games that everyone plays at the beginning.
Incidentally, I learned this myself playing college ball and wish I would have employed it in my earlier years of high school and AAU ball.
I’m not saying it’s the holy grail. But I do believe that it sets the tone for the upcoming play, and that there is more total gain from the session than there would be without it.
I thought of this example from Kelly Baggett when I read you say “Very little of the game is played at full strength.” This is more or less some food for thought for everyone as I think this is a GREAT point made by Kelly:
Say we have one basketball player who does everything to increase his VJ (ala a lot of relative strength work) and he attains a 40 inch jump.
We have another basketball player who does mainly fitness work and attains a 32 inch vert (which I would say is generous for a basketball player given their typical strength levels coupled with an athlete who does excess conditioning work but the 40 inch is probably a bit generous also).
Therefore, over the course of a game athlete 2 results in no drop in performance while the first results in 5% each quarter.
---------------Athlete 2-----------Athlete 1
Athlete 1 is STILL jumping higher (along with most likely running faster, driving to the hole harder, quicker on defense, etc.) than athlete 2 even into overtime!
I have no reason (and certainly not the credentials) to doubt Kelly. As a matter of fact I am certain that he is correct. Unfortunately, that analysis tells us absolutely nothing about who would win a game.
If we take that example a bit further and assign names (let’s call Athlete 2 Larry Bird and Athlete 1 Harold Minor) and further reduce athlete 2’s vertical, anyone who knows basketball would clearly take Athlete 2 despite the fact that at no point during the game did he ever jump higher than Athlete 1.
Now imgaine what Larry Bird could have been like if he had had access to Kelly Baggett. [/quote]
I understand what you are saying and it is certainly relevant, all I was really talking about was which raw athlete one would rather be. In a game such as basketball being the best player is what matters most not the best athlete. However, obviously we all consider becoming a better athlete important as well.
I think it is important to note though that the raw athleticism the OP is trying to acquire is something just about every NBA athlete already has. Therefore, at that level skill is what determines distinction among the best and the rest. There are very few examples of great NBA players who aren’t great athletes as well.
And many of those who aren’t great athletes don’t need to be considering the height they possess. For example, Larry Bird’s game probably wouldn’t have changed a lot if he was any better of a raw athlete considering he was already 6’9".