Of all the basketball conditioning drills we'll come across during our coaching experience, Horses are second only to Suicides for popularity when it comes to preparing our players to move quickly on court. But the nice thing about Horses is that they add in an element of stamina as well, making this a more effective simulation of what really happens in a basketball game.
Horses carry Suicides one step further, repeating the suicide in reverse so that the player essentially runs two suicides back to back. It is all start and stop, quick bursts of speed before changing direction, just like in the game.
Partly anaerobic since it is sprinting, partly aerobic because it lasts so long, it's a great basketball conditioning drill that will exhaust players while building their sport-specific conditioning. A great drill to use to get your players' conditioning up to game speed, especially early in the pre-season.
Here's what players need to focus on:
That is one horse.
Players have 8 minutes to complete 8 horses - that's 1 horse per minute. Be sure they pace themselves appropriately
This is great conditioning for basketball, as it simulates the speed and stop-start action that the game requires. Use this any time you feel your team's conditioning is lacking, especially in the early pre-season when conditioning is a priority.
Horses are also a part of an exceptional basketball conditioning workout called the 8-8-18 - an excellent workout when you want some serious conditioning, this is a half hour workout that really pushes and exhausts players. A great conditioning workout.
If you find your players are particularly slow and you really need to boost their speed and quickness, you can check out more complete, stand-alone training programs like the Speed, Agility and Quickness Program, a solid training program for players interested in developing their speed and quickness pre-season and in-season.
"The key is not the "will to win" - everybody has that.
It is the will to prepare to win that is important."
- Bobby Knight
Try UMass Head Coach Derek Kellogg's video package of drills