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To be in shape for games, basketball players must condition themselves for long-lasting endurance. (See Three Ways to Get in Basketball Shape.) This requires more than running lots of long, straight-line sprints. It means the ability to change direction and to transition between sprinting and defensive sliding.
Since both skills are so important for success on the court, training them should be part of your basketball conditioning drills. To improve your short distance sprinting and your defensive sliding speed, incorporate the following basketball conditioning drills into your workouts two to three times per week. (See also Improve Your Basketball Conditioning Program.)
Thunder Sports Institute 17s
A common basketball conditioning drill, 17s require you to run from sideline to sideline 17 times in just over a minute. Although your goal is to complete 17, set a minimum of goal of 12. This variation makes it easy to track your progress and gives competitive players an extra push, preventing them from coasting through a standardized drill.
- Run sideline to sideline for one minute
- Keep track of how many times you cross the court
- Rest for one minute
- In the first set you complete 17 times across you're done. If you fail to complete 17, you must run a second set.
- You must step over each sideline; if you don't, the set doesn't count and must be run again after one minute
- If a set is invalidated, it must be completed normally or it won't count
- If you complete fewer than the 12 minimum crosses in the second set, rest one minute and run a third set
- If you consistently complete 17 trips, increase your goal
These basketball conditioning drills have four parts, and when starting out, it's best to run each part separately. Once you know what you're doing, run them altogether without stopping. Depending on your level of conditioning, you can run one to three sets straight through. When defensive sliding, stay low and never let your feet come down inside your hips. The diagram shows how to do all four parts. For the sake of clarity, the diagram shows each part performed at a different location down the length of the court. However, you will actually begin each part at the same point on the sideline.
- Part 1: Starting on one sideline, sprint to the opposite side of the key, back across the key, then to the opposite sideline. Continue sprinting the same pattern back to where you started.
- Part 2: Sprint to the opposite side of the key, defensive slide back across the key, then sprint to the opposite sideline. Continue the pattern, sprinting between the sidelines and far sides of the key and sliding the short backtrack across the key.
- Part 3: This is a reverse of Part 2. Start by defensive sliding from the sideline to the far side of the key, sprint back across the key, then slide to the opposite sideline. Continue the same pattern, sprinting only the short distance back across the key.
- Part 4: Just like Part 1, only everything is a defensive slide. Make sure to face the same direction on all slides so you get an equal number of reps in each direction.