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Basketball Suicides:
A Classic Basketball Conditioning Drill

Running basketball suicides has been a long-standing tradition in basketball practices. And why not? It's a conditioning drill that simulates the start-stop action of a real basketball game, and is a great way to build up anaerobic power for the sprinting that happens in the game. A great workout to slip into your practices, especially in the training sessions early in the pre-season.

Instructions to Players

Here's what players need to focus on when running basketball suicides:

  • Players must touch the lines with their hands, not feet - i.e., they need to bend down and come to a complete stop at each line

  • Be sure they are spaced out - you don't want them running into each other.

  • This is a speed drill - they need to sprint, not jog - be sure to time it and make players complete suicides faster each progressive practice

How to run Basketball Suicides

  • Players line up on the baseline

  • On the coach's whistle, players start sprinting

  • When the players reach the foul line (extended), they stop, touch the line, then sprint back to the baseline, stop and touch the baseline

  • Immediately they sprint to the half, stopping and touching the half line, and then sprint back to the baseline, stopping and touching the baseline

  • Immediately they sprint to the far foul line, stopping and touching the foul line, and then sprint back to the baseline, stopping and touching the baseline

  • Immediately they sprint to the far baseline, stopping and touching the baseline, and then sprint back to the original baseline

    • And that is one suicide

basketball suicides

At the beginning of the pre-season workouts I run this often, throwing a few in between other drills. It's a great way to improve conditioning and since it is all start-stop and change of direction, it is very sport-specific.

Variations to this Conditioning Drill

  • You can have the players shuffle backwards on the return portion of each leg of the suicide (warn them to be careful, as some will get their feet tied up and fall over backwards)

  • You can have them do push-ups, sit-ups, etc. at each line, to add in a little muscle work.

  • And if you have them doing several suicides in a row but you want them to have a little rest in between, have them pair up. The first of the pair runs his suicide, and as soon as he returns, the second of the pair runs. This also spreads the field better, so fewer people run into each other.

It's a great basketball conditioning drill that can be used throughout the pre-season - I use it often as a "reward" to groups who lose in a contest (players take it as good motivation to play hard and concentrate, and accept it well when they lose the contest and have to run a basketball suicide or two). An excellent training drill.

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