Basketball Workout
The Lion Circuit for Improved Fitness

This basketball workout is a combination of several other workouts we put together one practice, trying to hit a few targets at the same time. It is a quick circuit that builds fitness levels, ballhandling and passing skills, as well as rebounding and jumping ability.

Playing good basketball requires good fitness. I always remember when I played ball in high school, the team we worried about the most wasn't the best skilled, they were the best in shape (almost the entire team played soccer for their school before basketball season, so they came into basketball season in tremendous shape - skills were only so-so, but they were quick!).

So fitness training helps, especially at the beginning of the pre-season, and particularly if you can weave skills training into it. Which is what this basketball workout does - good fitness, good skills training combined.

Insist that players run the whole drill at full speed - it isn't a long basketball workout, but it will be tiring if they go hard. And enforce good form in the ballhandling and passing - especially important if they are running hard and getting tired. The more they can focus on this in practice, the less likely they will be to slip up in the game.

Basketball Workout
The Lion Circuit

1. Dribbling

  • First player in line dribbles quickly through a series of cones, while under control. As he moves around each cone, he uses a different dribbling move - crossover, around the back, spin, on-side (review the basketball dribbling skills page for more details)

  • Once around the last cone, at the half court line, the player speed dribbles the length of the court to the far end line.

2. Sprint and Jump

  • The player places the ball on the end line and sprints to half, touches the half-court line with his fingers and then sprints back to the base line.

  • The player then sprints back to the half-court line, performs a two-foot stop at the half, and then leaps as high as possible, touching his knees to his chest, five times continuously.

  • Once he has finished the jumps, he sprints back to the end line to retrieve his ball.

3. Superman

  • The player steps to just outside the foul lane. From here, he tosses the ball high off the backboard, hitting the backboard in the center.

  • The player then sprints to the other side of the foul lane to rebound as the ball comes off the backboard.

  • The player rebounds, jumping as high as he can and landing squarely on two feet, ball in both hands, in good rebounding position.

4. Outlet and Break

  • The player pivots and outlets the ball sharply to the man in the outlet position on the sideline.
  • Have the rebounder use a pass that he is likely to use in the game, with other rebounders around him - overhead or bounce pass.

  • He then begins to sprint up court, looking for the return pass from the outlet man.

5. Finish the Fast Break

  • After receiving the pass from the first outlet man, the player immediately passes ahead to the second outlet man - player needs to pass quickly, as he does not want to travel nor does he want to break his pace).

  • The player continues to sprint up the floor, looking for the return pass from the second outlet man.

  • Upon receiving the return pass, the player takes the ball hard to the basket - he should not need a dribble if the passing is quick and accurate and the player is sprinting hard.

Players work hard in this basketball workout - it shouldn't take more than a minute or so for each player to get through, but they should be out of breath by the time they reach the end.

And if you are looking for a more specialized program for your players, the Explosive Speed Training Program is a program designed to increase non-linear speed and explosive quickness. It's a program you can use in the pre-season to improve the speed and quickness of your players, and then incorporate some of the drills into your practices as you move into proper training. It produces good results and makes quicker basketball players.

Regardless of the workout you use, remember to get your players working hard throughout - the more work in practice, the better they'll be in the game.

Good luck!

"The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will."

- Vincent T. Lombardi