Basketball Training
The 8-8-18 Conditioning Workout


Basketball training workouts usually focus on speed and quickness, which makes sense since basketball is a game primarily of speed. But there is an endurance aspect to the game as well, and the 8-8-18 Conditioning Drill effectively develops endurance along with sport-specific quickness.

Basketball requires a very high level of physical fitness in many ways if players want to play to their potential. It's bad enough to lose to a team because they can shoot better, or rebound better, or pass better. But it's inexcusable to lose because we aren't in shape. Everyone can improve their fitness level, and this is something players should be doing on their own in the off-season (they can check out more complete, stand-alone training programs like the Speed, Agility and Quickness Program, a solid basketball training program for players interested in developing their speed and quickness pre-season and in-season).

I use the 8-8-18 Conditioning Drill at the beginning of pre-season practices to see who is in shape and to get players in better shape. More than just one simple training drill, this workout incorporates Horses along with two other stages, and all three parts of the workout are timed, so while endurance may be the major focus, the time element ensures that athletes are also pushing hard for speed.


Basketball Training
An Overview of the 8-8-18 Conditioning Workout


The workout is divided into three stages:

Stage 1: Horses 8 Horses in 8 minutes
Rest: 3 minutes

Stage 2: Fartleks 8 Fartleks in 6 minutes
Rest: 3 minutes

Stage 3: Laps 18 Laps of the gym in 6 minutes



Basketball Training
The 8-8-18 Drill Stage 1: Horses

Horses are like two suicides run back to back

  • 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 touch the baseline.

  • Immediately they sprint to the half, touch the half line, and then sprint back to touch the baseline.
  • Immediately they sprint to the far foul line, touching the foul line, and then sprint back to touch the baseline
Basketball Training - HorsesOne Horse
  • Immediately they sprint to the far baseline, touching the baseline, and then sprint back to the original baseline.
  • Now they work their way back to the beginning, touching lines in reverse order to what they have already done...
    ...sprint to three-quarter court (far foul line), touch the line and sprint back to baseline
    ...sprint to half, touch the line and sprint back to baseline
    ...sprint to foul line, touch the line and sprint back to baseline

That is one horse.

Players have 8 minutes to complete 8 horses - that's 1 horse per minute. Be sure they pace themselves appropriately


Basketball Training
The 8-8-18 Drill Stage 2: Fartleks

  • 1 Fartlek = 1 lap of gym jogging + 1 lap of gym sprinting

Players have 6 minutes to complete 8 fartleks - that's about 45 seconds for each fartlek. Be sure they pace themselves appropriately


Basketball Training
The 8-8-18 Drill Stage 3: Laps

  • Jog laps of the gym, making sure not to step inside the basketball court (players cannot cut corners)

Players have 6 minutes to complete 18 laps - that's 3 laps a minute, or 20 seconds per lap. Be sure they pace themselves appropriately


The entire workout will take close to half an hour to complete, and it will be exhausting for your players. I use it at the beginning of the season, often having a practice solely for this drill or in combination with basic skills drills - it's also a great early morning drill to get that conditioning in at the beginning of the day.

And don't be afraid to throw it in during the season either if you think conditioning may be lagging (maybe if you have had an extended period without practice, e.g., after winter exams) It's a great basketball training workout and an excellent way to get players in shape.





"It's not so important who starts the game but who finishes it."

- John Wooden






For players wanting to gain inches on their vertical leap:

I recommend The Jump Manual - an excellent workout that works!

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