Basketball Athletic Speed and Strength Training

Well, there any many thing to say when it comes to this topic. Many people think that this means running through a ladder or doing power cleans and front squats developing a big muscular body. All useful exercises but often cause more problems with basketball than solutions. At OtterBasketball, we are all about game success and we have developed a program that goes right along with our skill training allowing you to maximize your athletic ability in game situations.

One question I ask you to ponder, when thinking about skilled basketball players is their body type. Lets look at a couple of examples of players that performed at a high level with average size and minimal sought after athletic traits in today’s game: John Stockton, the NBA’s all-time assist and steal leader and Steve Nash, a two time NBA MVP.  With both players weighing in the 170’s and measuring roughly at 6 foot tall most people would consider them not very athletic for NBA standards.  But, coincidently, they may be 2 of the best athletes in the game when considering the not so highly identified athletic skills they possessed. Both possessed many of the most underrated athletic traits in the game, which we will identify as the program progresses, but spending time trying to develop a 44-inch vertical jump like 2 time NBA dunk champion Jason Richardson (one of our players) may not be the best use of your time.

From an exercise science standpoint there is only so much we can do to improve your vertical jump.  It is not possible for everyone to have a 44-inch vertical just as it is not possible for everyone to be 6 ‘4 with a 6’9 wingspan.  We will work on maximizing your vertical with proper strength, movement, flexibility, and diet training.  However, time could be more productive focusing on the less heralded athletic traits, which will lead to more game success. Too often we see players that possess strength in the weight room but it does not transfer to the court.  Players that can squat unreal amounts of weight but struggle to maintain a proper athletic stance through the course of a game not only limiting their athletic ability in the game but also increasing their chance for injury.

What often happens is that when players move out of kinesthetic alignment in their strength, speed, and skill training which should run hand in hand in their workouts they come out of alignment in the game.  Often, when you see a player get hurt in the game when no one is around him or her it comes from a player moving out of alignment which can be seen in Derek Rose’s first knee injury.  When players load ligaments out of position instead of muscle they become strained and even break at times this is why we study movement in our training practicing patterns that will be performing in the game as well as strengthening and lengthening muscle fiber in the process. In skill training, we talked about hip placement and the 4 major hip positions that should be routed into a player’s movement mechanics.   So in this video in accordance with skill training I want to identify hip placement as well.  I did mention that often skill training is intertwined with your strength, speed and agility training and this will be a great example.

If this is not happening than we are wasting our time and if a basketball player especially a guard is strength training like a lineman in football it can and eventually will cause problems and this is not just in activities but work to rest ratios as well.   Many of our skill drills are designed to reinforce a player’s ability to play stronger in the game that can be seen here in this dribble drop drill. If a player slips his hips in this position it may cause him or her to get bumped off the ball or even not get their shoulders through a defensive player’s hips.  So when working on speed and strength we want to work on positions that would reinforce proper hip placement which in turn would allow us to load more affectively while engaging our core. However when doing traditional lefts with weights or using bands and even in suspension training we want to reinforce these same movement patterns we are seeing in the game.

Here players can focus on proper hip placement and loading properly as well as working muscles increasing endurance and strength with a heaving emphasis in one or the other according to how the player performs the activity. Going hard is not always the answer for example going hard with improper hip placement reinforces improper movement mechanics and going to long or too hard often brings a player out of alignment when that happens the training should be stopped and restarted when the player can hold proper hip placement. One of the biggest causes of players moving out of alignment in the game is hip slippage, which may be attributed to the lack of training, and the wide range of movement patterns required to play the game of basketball. In an upcoming program, we will identify 5 more factors that cause players to move out of alignment and talk about how to rectify them.