T Nation

Summer Basketball Training

Alright, summer’s almost here and my training can finally begin to get serious. I have Many questions and would Really appreciate anyone’s input or ideas.
Some information about myself: Im sixteen, 5-11 and 170pounds. Ive been weight training for about 6 months but had to take a few months off due to school.
Lately my workouts have been based on about 4 exercises per session and five sets of four or five reps per exercise with about 1 min rest between sets. I train Upperbody Mon. and Thurs. and train Legs Tues. and Fri. My Upperbody workouts are usually bench press, chin ups, and dips. My Leg workouts consist of back Squats, Deadlifts, Calf raises, and Split Squats. I was told compound exercises are best for sport-training.
Max Bench: 135
Max Squat: 200
Vert: 26"
Its obvious that I need to lose some fat, but at the same time I really need to improve my strength and power.

  1. Which should I focus on first: Weight loss or Strength gain?
  2. How should I go about losing weight or building strength?
    My focus this summer will be my improvement at basketball and I dont want my training in the weight room to slow down my performance on the court. In the past Ive had problems with overtraining and tend to become exhausted ALL the time to the point I feel like giving up my training.
  3. What days should I weight train so that I would have adequate time for recovery and still be able to play basketball about every day.
  4. How should I split my workout routine so that I gain power and strength. What days would I work Upperbody and Lowerbody
  5. What set and rep schemes would be best for gaining power and strength while at the same time not induce severe muscle fatigue?
  6. What exercises are ideal for basketball players and would help me achieve improvement in these areas:
    • Quickness
    • Speed
    • Vertical Jump
    • Agility
  7. How often should I change my exercise routine? Should I retain certain “core” exercises such as squat and deadlifts for each routine?
  8. How should I incorporate such training as plyometrics and conditioning so that they dont interfere with my weight training?
    I hope to be in great condition by next September.
  9. How should I split my entire summer training into different mesocycles that focus on specific areas of improvement? (so that I can incorporate conditioning, speed workouts and speed-strength sesssions into my workouts?)
    Thanks for reading my post and my list of questions. I really appreciate your time and input. Anything will be a BIG help to me. Im sorry for the length of this post, but I need a lot of answers and really have no one to ask. Thanks again


I’ll try and assist you with the body comp. and strength question. Basically, your body weight issues are diet related. I would suggest a carb cycling diet where you take in all carbs post workout and every 4th day have a carb loading. To develop strength and functional hypertrophy, I would suggest you emphasize the posterior chain (romanian deadlifts, snatch grip deads, GHR’s, reverse hypers, etc) and keep the rep scheme to 6 reps or less. You are going to have to limit the basketball playing to your off days from lifting and limit it to 30 minutes. As far quickness and agility, they are functions of reactive ability. A great exercise for reactive ability is jump squats with 30% of max squat.

That’s it for now. Hope that helps.

Thanks man. I appreciate the help and any more you might have.

You probably don?t know what a needs analysis is so I will explain for your benefit and others. I will also help you fill one out.
First answer these questions:

  1. Devopmental age?
  2. Current state of your movement? (posture problems, poor form, ext)
  3. What are the athletes limiting? Is it strength, coordination, motivation?
    There are plenty more questions that I ask each of my trainees but these should get you stated. Below is a basis template for the needs analysis:
    Exercise movements:
  4. Main motor abilities required by your sport?
  5. Muscles and/or groups used?
  6. Joint angles?
  7. Contraction type (eccentric or concentric)?
    Energy system used:
  8. Dominant systems?
  9. Estimated contribution from aerobic/anaerobic metabolism?
  10. Work-rest cycles, performance duration, frequencies?
    Injury prevention:
  11. Most common sites (Shoulder, forearms, ext.)?

With only 6 months of training it is safe to say you need to continue to build a foundation (base). Training is like building a house you can?t build a house with out a proper foundation. I would use a Pendulum stile peridization scheme. Utilize both structure (hypertrophy) and functional (strength) weeks by alternating them.

  1. Structure (hypertrophy)
  2. Functional (strength)
  3. Structure (hypertrophy)
  4. Functional (strength)
    This has worked extremely well for my BB athletes as well as countless others.

You can answer your own questions by filling out the needs analysis I provided above. But if you do need additional help feel free to ask.

you need to get under 10%bf while simultaneously geeting stronger in all major capacities: endurance, explosiveness, agility. You want to work out using: heavy days to work on your max, dynamic days to work on your explosiveness, plyometrics for the stretch shortening cycle, and use a technique called dept drops to build up your eccentric strength. dept drops are similar to depth jums without the jump. your goal is to stick the landing as they do in gymnastics and then try to either increase the height or the load you are carrying. do dual and single leg movements. you should do small sprints (size of a basketball court) followed by some low rest and repeat. don’t forget to work on your shooting skills. laters pk

right, brave05, you have some really good advice here from BOSS and pk.

i’d like to add my story: i was your height and …almost… dunking on a saggy rim ; ) when i was 18. 6 yrs and 25 lbs added lbm later i finally dunked the ball… and haven’t done it again, haha. then i switched to rugby.

so you have a great advantage here, starting young! focus and make sure you keep it fun… i assume you are a pg or sg, so practice ball handling all summer. make rebounding and passing the things you LOVE to do… any joker can shoot, and you can outplay everyone if you dont try to match them at their game.

write everything down, like what you change up each week, how much you rest, how well you are making your goals. remember that your real goal is to get better at ball, and if at any time you get worse at ball, then rethink things.

btw, check out joe defranco’s articles both here and on his website for vertical jump info. 4 more inches on your vertical and you will be a “surprise” leaper, 6-8 more and you will be dunking. think john starks over the entire chicago frontcourt…

I would keep it simple.
Naturally work on your game.
I wouldn’t go into elaborate diet programs. Simply eat plenty of the right foods. John berardi’s defeating dietary displacement would be a great place to start!
At your level of developement going into complicaated dietary schemes could actually be detrimental.

At your BW add some strength (focus on strength, if you eat correctly muscle will come as a great sideeffect :)).

You don’t necesarrily need extra BW, because at your hight I suspect your position is pg/sg and extra non-functional muscle will only slow you down.

To keep it simple I would start out using defranco’s ws for skinny bastards.

If you have trouble recovering do recovery work with a sleed, the should help you build you GPP too.

After a 4week cycle of skinny bastard, I would add some high power exercises on the dynamic effort day. for legs choices could be: squat jumps, jump squats, scissor jumps, high pulls, box squats with bands.

Upper body: de bench w bands, explosive pushups (read CW’s push up your explosive strength).

At your age recovery shouldn’t be an issue unless:
You have poor lifestyle choises (sleep, alcohol, DIET!!), train to failure to frequently, do to many plyometrics whle plying a lot og basketball too.

Be carefull when implementing plyometrics. Remember at your stage of developlment building a decent base (strength!) is of prime importance.
Also remember basketball is highly plyometric by itself. If I where too implement plyometrics at all. The would be during a period whith minimal playing time, would be squat jumps/upperbody plyo’s.
At a higher level of development high speed eccentics, and high level plyos could be beneficial done every other week up to 3weeks before the season starts, where all plyos would be cut out(the improvements are delayed by 4weeks according to Thibudeau).

For energy system work remember studies show that a high level of aerobic endurance isn’t needed to play basketball. An extremly high level of lactate tolerance and anaerobic capacity is needed. If plying and lifting isn’t enough add some HIIT at the end of your preperatory period. I would prefer to do drills with the ball at high intensity for this purpose. Simply sprinting full court while dribling the ball and doing a layup touchin backboard/dunk -if you miss rebound and do a short jumpshot, dribble back shoot 3, if you miss rebond lay it in, sprint back shoot highpost jumper if you miss lay it in. rest 20-30 sec. -repeat.
Sprinting and jumping should be done at 90-100% during the drill.
If you need guidelines look at chris thibudeau’s running man article for the hiit recomendations. Stick with the beginner reccomendations/intermediate because you are getting a lot form pickup games too.

All in all: get stronger!
eat right! (defeating dietary displacement)
Do some energy system work (I prefer to do it with the ball).
Be weary of adding plyos at your stage of developement/while playing a lot of ball.

Lifestyle; take control of: diet, stress (shouldn’t be a problem during summer and @ your age), sleep, active recovery with sled.

Hopefuly this helps

Regards, Poul

Wow there is some great advice in this thread. I only hope you are smart enough to heed it.

I am working with the local HS basketball team and am prettymuch doing what has already been suggested.

I’d train 3x/week. If you can do it I’d use the tier method (there are some great threads about it on here and elitefts-check coach H). I cannot however. The gym has 1 place to do squats/cleans/etc and like 3 bench preses. With 6-12 guys showing up there is not enough equipment to make it work.

I am using a 10 day WSB split (in a force training article by Jim Wendler). We have had great results. I am focusing 1 cycle on isometric related methods, 1 cycle on eccentric methods and 1 cycle on “regular” and concentric methods. we are using a pendulum approach to the cycles.

Wk1 iso
wk2 ecc
wk3 conc
wk4 ecc
wk5 iso

wk 6 CNS unloading. high rep work, no jump training. active recoery.

warning I have been using a modified WSB method in a very non traditional way

On the iso DE squat days I have 1 group focus on landing technique (14-20") with short iso’s at the bottom (not altitude drops). BBers landing technique sucks in general. 1 group does de squats with a short iso (not box squats i know)

then the ecc cycle would be landings from a higher box (24") no Iso, the DE box squat with a controlled (deceleration method) eccentric.

The conc method would be jump ups and traditional box squats.

as we approach the season the controlled ecc will transfer into more of an overspeed ecc perhaps with light bands and chains. and the landing technique will turn into more of a traditional depth jump.

the iso methods will turn to alt drops. and I’m unsure of the de box squat with iso’s. that may drop out or stay (based on results).

The volumes on the jumping drills mirror prilepins charts for the low volume DE work so they are kept relatively low.

Be wary of adding in real plyometric work. Just by focusing on landing from heights of less than the athletes vertical jumps and getting stronger my guys heve improved their verticals. Guys that were touching the rim can dunk now. I was very suprised.

The max effort work has been in the 3-5rm range.

on Iso’s we perform isomiometric moves with a pause at the weak point (or at the CRC as DB Hammer would say).

on ecc we do superslow ecc (6-9 seconds)

on conc we do normal ME work

I know it is not traditional, but it is working. I experimented on myself and other clients before implementing with the team. this is teh end of the first 5 week cycle and. most of the guys hit their previous 1rm on the bench and squat for a 5rm with 3 second isometric holds at the bottom.

They also have over a year of training experience, (some of them have 4 years)because the coach arranges training for them every offseason.

Guys who were hitting the net are touching the rim. guys who were touching the rim are now dunking. everyone has gotten stronger and faster.

well, i hope this helped or got people thinking

Thanks a Lot Everybody. You have all been very helpful to me. Im strongly considering doing Joe DeFranco’s WS For Skinny Bastards, because it is primarily for athletes. I also hope to implement all the information you have so kindly provided me. Thanks again.
My only question right now is if only one leg workout a week will provide me with sufficient gains in vertical. I know Joe writes that he sees great gains with his athletes, but Im not sure as to what speed and conditioning drills I should use in my training.
Im gonna sort through all my research tonight and hopefully Ill have something ready tomorrow, cuz I wanna get started right away!
If anyone has any ideas of the drills and sprint work I should do, I would really appreciate it.

Thanks!! You guys have been awesome


One word of caution on the diet issue. I balk at the recommendation to go on any sort of calorie or macronutrient limiting diet at 16. Body comp at your age shouldn’t be as big an issue as performance, and 170lbs isn’t at all heavy for someone 5’10" anyway. Eating quality food, practicing good form in your workouts, and continuing to work on your game would be my main focus.

[quote]slimjim wrote:
One word of caution on the diet issue. I balk at the recommendation to go on any sort of calorie or macronutrient limiting diet at 16. Body comp at your age shouldn’t be as big an issue as performance, and 170lbs isn’t at all heavy for someone 5’10" anyway. Eating quality food, practicing good form in your workouts, and continuing to work on your game would be my main focus.[/quote]

Exactly, try not to over complicate your diet. Simply eat the right food. And the rest will take care of itself…