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Basketball Conditioning Workouts:
Summer Training for Inside Players

Basketball conditioning workouts for the summer need to focus on the basics of the game, whether the player is a 5'2" point guard or a 6'5" center. Basketball camps are always a great place for basic skills to be re-emphasized, as well as some reinforcement of proper team work and strategy, so it is always a good idea for players to spend a week or two at a good camp if they can.

When they are not at a camp, most players will likely be playing basketball at the neighborhood courts or a summer rec league - good for staying in shape, bad for picking up bad habits.

That's why it's important that players spend an hour or so most days working a basketball conditioning workout that focuses on the basics - they can get all the And 1 moves out during pick-up games, but still manage to hone their basic skills over the summer.

The other aspect of inside play that can be developed effectively in the off season is vertical jump. For players interested in a complete jump training program, I recommend The Jump Manual(Affiliate Link) - it's a demanding workout that I have personally used in the past and that produces excellent results. There are other vertical jump programs out there, but I have found the Jump Manual to be the most comprehensive and effective.

So here's the basketball conditioning workout I give my inside men at the beginning of the summer. There is some crossover with the workout I give my guards, but there is more focus on inside moves and much less focus on dribbling and outside shooting. In response to several requests from players and coaches, I've reworked this training program into a free, downloadable pdf - you can find it on the Basketball Books and Training Materials page.

Summer Basketball Conditioning Workout for Inside Players

The warm-up needs to be dynamic - i.e., not the static, "strike the pose and hold it for 10 seconds" stretches we used to do not so long ago. Warm-ups need to simulate to a less strenuous degree the movements the muscles will be doing during the workout.

Laps: 1 lap jog, half lap slow running, 1 lap jog, half lap slow running

Dynamic Stretching : 2 lengths carioca, Arm Swings, Side Bends, Trunk Rotations, Hamstring Stretch, Alternate Toe Touches, Leg Swings

Wraparound : pass the ball around the waist, going 10 times in each direction.

Figure 8: pass the ball in a figure 8 motion between the legs, working up to the highest speed possible. 10 repetitions forward and backward.

Combo Wraparound : combine figure 8 with waist and neck wraparounds, trying to move the ball quickly while maintaining control.

Summer Basketball Conditioning Workout for Inside Players

Inside players don't generally handle dribbling tasks as often as guards, and so this section of the summer training program is considerably shorter than the program for guards.

A. The Basic Four
  1. Speed
  2. Change of Pace
  3. Crossover
  4. Spin

Beginning at half court on the right side of the court, the player uses the right hand to execute a speed dribble down to a lay-up. Then he dribbles to the opposite side of half court, turns and executes a speed dribble with the left hand to the hoop for another lay-up.

Then he returns to the starting position and executes a change of pace dribble, first with the right hand and then with the left; then he returns to the start and continues with each of the basic four dribbles, until all basic dribbles have been executed.

Note: the move - change of pace, spin, crossover - should happen at about the foul line extended, when the player starts his move to the basket.

Do this 3-5 times.

summer basketball workouts: the basic four

Summer Basketball Conditioning Workout for Inside Players

Everyone - players and coaches alike - want to see improved shooting each consecutive season. For inside players, that shooting takes place mostly in and around the key. Remember that good shooting in the game requires two aspects - first, good shooting form and mechanics, and second, a quick release - i.e., the ability to shoot as quickly as possible upon receiving a pass.

In the drills in this session of the summer basketball conditioning workout, be sure to have your players focus first on proper form - have them start shooting closer to the hoop, focusing on form and consistency, before moving farther out.

Also remind them that practice needs to emulate game situations - have them work on releasing the shot immediately after catching the pass or executing the move.

A. Standstill Shooting

The player takes 5 shots at a time, from 5 different spots on the floor, at about 10'-15' from the hoop.

The player cannot move to the next spot until he makes 3 of the 5.

Each time the player runs this drill, he should change the shooting spots.

basketball conditioning workouts - shooting spots

B. Lay-ups

Driving from about 10' out, the player takes 10 left- and 10 right-handed lay-ups. Use reverse lay-ups driving the baseline, as well as hard drives from wing and elbow areas, and mix in some power layups as well as regular, one-foot-takeoffs. Players should need only 1 dribble from 10' out.

Always simulate game situations by:

  • Driving hard
  • Protecting the ball
  • Finishing strong

  • C. Two Balls on the Blocks

    This must be done with a partner. The first player (1) stands about 3'-5' in front of the basket, facing the basket. The other player (2) lines up under the basket out of bounds. The two balls are placed on the blocks along the foul lane.

    Player 1 reaches down and picks up one ball, planting both feet as he does so, and then powers up hard to the basket. He immediately moves to the other ball as quickly as possible and powers this ball to the basket.

    Player 2 must quickly rebound the ball and place it back on the same block.

    The goal is to make 20 power moves, 10 from each side, as quickly as possible.

    basketball conditioning workouts - 2 balls on the blocks

    D. Inside Shooting

    The following drills improve players' shot-making ability around the basket with both right and left hands, and increase scoring chances in traffic with strong power moves and agility.

    A. Reverse Lay-ups

    This is a version of the Mikan Drill.

    The player stands underneath the basket to the right, inside the foul lane; facing the basket. He steps across the lane with the right foot and executes a baby hook reverse lay-up with left hand (lifting the left knee high for height and turn).

    The player catches the ball before it hits the ground; steps across the key again to the right, using the left foot, and executes a baby hook reverse lay-up with the right hand (lifting the right knee high).

    Repeat this 10 times (take 10 reverse lay-ups on each side)

    B. Power Moves

    The player starts off on the right side of the basket, square to baseline. He executes a power lay-up - jumping off both feet, jumping for height, keeping elbows wide to take up as much room as possible. He keeps the ball in both hands until the last moment - protecting it - then sinks the lay-up using the right hand.

    The player catches the ball before it hits the ground; takes one strong dribble to position himself on the left side of the basket; then executes the power lay-up on the left side, releasing the ball with his left hand this time.

    Repeat, taking 10 power moves on each side.

    Summer Basketball Conditioning Workout for Inside Players

    Players practice the following moves, first alone, then with defense.

    A. Baby Hook from in front

    The player stands with his back to the basket about 5' out, with both feet planted solidly. He pivots on the left foot, raising his right knee high as he turns into the basket. The ball starts in both hands, and as he raises it, he brings his left hand off the ball and uses the left hand to guard against defense. He executes a baby hook shot.

    The player then executes the same move on the left side, shooting the hook with the left hand and using the right hand to guard the ball. He executes 10 baby hooks on either side.

    Note: the higher the knee is driven up, the more height the player will get on the shot.

    B. Drop Step

    The player begins with his back to the basket, both feet planted solidly at about the block on the foul lane (left foot just below the block, right foot just above it). With his weight on the right foot, the player slides his left foot back - at first this can be done alone, until the movement feels natural. Then add in a defensive player, in which case this left foot drops behind the defensive player.) The player takes one hard dribble as he spins around the defensive player, squares up, and powers to the basket.

    The player repeats on the other side, this time sliding the right foot back to execute the drop step.

    The player executes 10 drop steps on each side.

    Summer Basketball Conditioning Workout for Inside Players

    A. Tapping

    • Player stands to right of backboard and tosses ball off board
    • The player taps the ball using the finger tips on right hand 9 times
    • On the 10th tap he taps the ball into the basket
    • Repeat procedure on the left side using the left hand

    B. Closeouts

    • Player starts in the key in a "swordsman" stance - feet in a 'T' position with the lead foot pointing to the wing - and closes out to the wing (as if the man he is guarding is just receiving a pass at the wing)
    • Note: Players should spring the first two-thirds of the way, then break down into short, choppy steps with hands up and weight back to complete closeout.

    C. Finish

  • Player runs two suicides, trying to complete each of them in 30 seconds or less.
  • Player shoots 50 free throws to finalize workout.

  • Summer Basketball Conditioning Workout for Inside Players

    Aside from the 50 foul shots that players shoot at the end, they should also take 5 foul shots in between each of the sessions.

    Summer Basketball Conditioning Workout for Inside Players

    Players jog a few laps to cool down muscles, then perform Static Stretches (hold for 10 seconds then switch). Be sure to stretch all muscles, moving the muscle into the stretch slowly, holding the stretch for 10 seconds, before releasing it slowly.

    And That's It!

    The drills contained in this basketball conditioning workout are intended to improve the basketball skills of inside players in particular - guards require different drills to hone different skills. Players should pay particular attention to areas where they are weak, and try to develop them over the summer vacation.

    Note, however, that this particular basketball conditioning workout does not help improve physical conditioning to any great extent. Players eager to do that need to also be given solid programs designed in two other areas:

  • Strength training
  • Aerobic conditioning

  • So have your inside players run this basketball conditioning workout 4-5 times a week during the summer. Remind them to focus on the basics of the game. Tell them to attend a basketball camp if they can. And most importantly, remind your players that more than anything else this summer, every chance they get, they need to...


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