The college basketball season has begun and we wrapped our pre-season training last week.  It was one of the best pre-season’s we’ve had – it had a lot to do with how hard our guys and girls worked and the way the training program was laid out.  I wanted to share how it was organized to give you an idea of my thought process and how it was structured into an actual program.

The NCAA allows Strength and Conditioning sessions to cover 6 hours a week in the pre-season/off-season periods.  We have used all of this time in the past, but this year decided that we really didn’t need that much time for training because we were in much better shape coming into pre-season this year…this was evident through our pre-season conditioning which is the beep test.  The numbers were much higher than they were last year, and came to the conclusion that we didn’t need extra wear and tear on their bodies in terms of volume.  Our coaches are also allowed to work with the team an additional 2 hours a week for skill development.  These sessions aren’t a walk in the park and are very intensive.

We split our training into 4 days/week – 2 lower body strength development days and 2 upper body strength development days – we also did some sort of conditioning every day.

Here is our week, laid out:

Monday – Lower Body Strength Development Day + Alactic Capacity (Sprint Work on the court)
Tuesday – Upper Body Strength Development Day + Cardiac Output- this progressed to Alactic Capacity as we got closer to practice
Wednesday – OFF
Thursday – Lower Body Strength Development Day + Cardiac Output – this progressed to Cardiac Power as we got closer to practice
Friday – Upper Body Strength Development Day + Cardiac Power

Each session was roughly 60-70 minutes.
Our warm-up, core and prep work took about 10-15 minutes and planned for 30 minutes for our strength work.  The volume was fairly low for the strength work as our primary objective in the pre-season is to increase our conditioning levels to handle the demands of practice.  We did 2 quad sets – everything in the first quad set was done for 3 sets and the second quad set was done for 2 sets.

This is what we did on Mondays/Thursdays:

A1. Deadlift variation
A2. 2 Leg Jump
A3. Pullup variation
A4. Hip Flexor or Ankle Mobe

B1. 1 Leg Squat variation
B2. 1 Leg Hop variation
B3. 1 Leg Bend/Hip Dominant variation
B4. Core

A1. Push Variation
A2. Upper Body Plyo – MB Throw
A3. Pull Variation
A4. Thoracic Mobe

B1. Push Variation
B2. Pull Variation
B3. Push Variation
B4. Pull Variation

We also ended our lower body days with a hip/glute circuit and our upper body days with a scap circuit.

As for conditioning, we typically start with 1-2 impact days/week and progress to doing 3-4 impact days/week as we get closer to the season so that we progressively increase the joint loading as practice comes around.

We also don’t do a ton of lactic work as basketball isn’t a lactate based sport – it’s an alactic-aerobic sport meaning that there is huge demand on the aerobic system to produce energy, but there are many explosive movements that demand energy derived from the phosphate system.  There are instances where lactate will be produced  but I don’t want my athletes over reliant on this energy system to produce energy – they will often get lactic work during individual sessions when there are only 4 athletes to 1 coach.

Mondays would be our big on the court sprint day (what most basketball coaches think conditioning should be).  We would do “11’s” and “22’s”…an 11 is a down/back in under 11 seconds and a 22 is down/back 2x under 22 seconds.  We make it timed to hold our athletes accountable and if somebody doesn’t make a time, we add another rep…so we can get 100% effort on each rep.

Tuesdays would be our circuit day.  For the first 3 weeks, we would break the team into 3 groups and perform non-impact work for 5 min @ each station.  One station would be Bikes (hill ride against heavy resistance), another would be battle ropes (:15 sec work, :15 sec rest) and the last would be slideboards (:15 sec work, :15 sec rest).  For the last 3 weeks, we did stations where we would alternate b/w an impact station and a non-impact station…we would work for :10 sec, rest for :10 sec and repeat 4x before rotating; these are the stations we performed:
1. Sideline Sprint to Backpeddle
2. Tire Block out/post up
3. Lane Agility
4. MB Throws
5. Def Slides
6. Battle Ropes

For the first 3 weeks on Thursdays we would do a KB circuit at the end of our strength training sessions.  The circuit would include swings, goblet squats, 1 leg SLDL’s, 1 Arm Presses, 1 Arm Rows and Burpees.  The next 3 weeks we went to 4 min stations: Bike (heavy resistance), Jump Rope, Short Shuttle (5 yds – Sprint/Backpeddle/Def Slide/Def Slide).  Every station was done continuous except the short shuttle, which was done with a partner – I go, you go.

And Fridays were our hill Run day.  We have a big hill that leads up to our arena; It’s 1.4 miles up and down and more of a mental challenge than anything.  Our athletes really took upon the challenge to get after the hill and work at it.

That’s our pre-season training program laid out for you – I hope it stimulated some thought and gave you some insight into how we do things.  The effort put into the program is the big determining factor in the success that it will lead to…and we are hoping for successful seasons this year!


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