WHAT WILL YOUR PREPARATION BE TO GET YOU TO THE NEXT LEVEL?
Every aspect of your conditioning should be considered for you to successfully make the team you’ve always wanted, get that scholarship and come in ready to compete.
1. You’re going up against FAST girls!
Every 2 seconds! The amount of time a change of action is occurring during a game. The ability to accelerate quickly is often painfully overlooked during training because we look at the technique of Usain Bolt and go: “He is the fastest, so let’s do what he does!” Wrong. The second half of the race, after 50m; is were Bolt is great. That is a distance basketball athletes never achieve on a 30m court. The fastest accelerators in history use their legs as powerful pistons, propelling them to top speeds in a matter of steps. Are you addressing your first 3 steps in your training or are you training to last for four 10 minute quarters? If it is the latter, high level basketball is likely not in your future. If you can’t make it to the ball first or pull away from that check on your hip, the scouts and coaches won’t make much time for you.
Have your 10m sprint time tested by a professional strength and conditioning coach. Then work on improving that time like it’s YOUR JOB.
We can help you with both at The Athlete Factory.
2. Up and down the court in straight lines won’t cut it.
It is one thing to be fast, but are you able to change direction multiple times at full speed? The best players seem to catch their opponent flat footed and can change direction with complete control at full speed. Did you know a player will change direction hundreds of times over the course of a game2? These changes of direction are all stop and starts. What if you could accelerate in and out of each step you made better than your opponents? Simply put – you would create better space, make more things happen and be noticed more. You never know who is in the stands watching.
3. Don’t expect that scholarship or spot on the team to wait for you when you get injured
If a simple injury keeps you out for even 2 weeks, the other girls in your position will be ready to take your spot. Falling behind due to chronic injuries, no matter how small, and ending up on the bench are a very real consequence of injury. This can turn into a whole season being lost.
Unfortunately, injury rates in basketball seem to be more prevalent, 1.02 injuries per 100 participant hours3. With the highest proportion of injuries being ankle sprains and knee injuries4. Contrary to what many believe, a knee injury does not just happen out of the blue. They are not because of one bad step or one unfortunate turn. Knee injuries are a result of poor movement patterns created and reinforced over many years. From as young as 5 years of age, when you start going to school full time and sitting for long periods of the day, you begin to develop movement patterns not conducive for sport. Bad habits sneak in without notice and results in your muscles fulfilling roles they were not meant to. Overuse and eventually damage will keep you out of the game.
The best way to avoid these types of injuries is to work on effective movement patterns from an early age5. Your training should address your individual weaknesses while at the same time promote a movement pattern that increases performance relevant to basketball and injury prevention. At The Athlete Factory, we focus on keeping all our athletes in the game and injury free.
4. Athletic strength is becoming a must in female basketball
It is your first day of training with your new team and you walk into the gym and your teammates are power cleaning 60+kg, squatting 1.5 times their bodyweight4. Top schools and national programs have their players lifting weights to help with a powerful stride, strength in contact, and improve overall robustness to help prevent injuries.
The issue is that thousands of aspiring female basketball athletes are preparing for their dreams with traditional ‘weight’ training, which is sure to change the shape of your physique, but does little good in promoting an athletic movement pattern, and improving the ability to be propulsive on the court. Improved strength without the proper coordination and sequencing may be making you a slower, less explosive player6. If you have hesitations regarding strength training and want to learn more about this contact me for a free consultation.
5. The meaning of the word ‘conditioning’
Conditioning is often associated with endurance only, when in fact you need to consider how you have ‘conditioned’ yourself to execute every action in competition. Have you conditioned yourself to go flat out whenever you have a job or skill to execute? Or are you subconsciously training to pace yourself to ‘last’ the whole game? As human beings, we instinctively want to conserve energy for possible life-threatening situations, like running away from predators. The best athletes can tap into this energy and use it for longer and recover quicker.
Often we are working hard, but we are only working hard at 80-90%. Most of the time the reason we must work hard is because we did not execute properly and must make up for not doing the job well enough in the first place. The game of basketball is not played at a constant pace, players move at varying speeds and execute a variety of movements with a ton of explosive elements1,4.
So, if you are doing the beep test, yo-yo test, or interval training sessions at sub-100% majority of the time, how is this contributing to your mindset as a high-level basketball player? If your training staff and coach are not consistently asking you to replicate flat out or 100% efforts in your program, do not expect to be able to suddenly pull this out during a game.
6. Embrace the workload and crave routine.
Managing classes, practice, training and a social life will become a constant balancing act. Of course, you are going to school to learn and earn a high-level education, however, do not forget – you are also getting paid to play basketball. Learning to manage and enjoy the workload early on will be of great benefit especially coming into your first year with your fellow rookies having never experienced a full training program. Being fatigued because you are not used to training and practicing on the same day with poor recovery techniques will affect your performance, and ultimately, your playing time.
Interestingly, high workloads are not necessarily to blame for injuries, it is the sudden change in workload that places athletes at high risk of injury7. Improve your capacity to train hard and learn proper recovery techniques and you will be two steps ahead coming into your first year!
Best of luck in your journey to break into the top ranks of collegiate basketball. Of course, if you do not want to rely on luck and want to make your dreams a reality – this is why we exist. If you are reading this article you must be interested in success. The question becomes are you truly committed to success? If yes, contact me at The Athlete Factory for a free consultation today. Your competition is not waiting around hoping for a lucky break, they are taking action and so should you!
(1) Abdelkrim, N.B., Fazaa, S. E., Ati, J. E. (2007). Time motion analysis and physiological data of elite under 19 year old basketball. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 41(2), 69-75.
(2) Bloomfield, J., Polman, R & O’Donoghue, P. (2007). Physical demands of different positions in FA premier league soccer. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 6(1), 63-70.
(3) Kilgore, L. Misconceptions about youth training. Starting Strength (pp. 215-223). Aasgaard Company.
(4) Read, P. J., Hughes, J., Stewart, P., Chavda, S., Bishop, C., Edwards, M. & Turner, A. N. (2014). A needs analysis and field-based testing battery for basketball. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 36(3), 13-20.
(5) Kraemer, W. J., Fry, A. C., Frykman, P. N., Conroy, B. & Hoffman, J. (1989). Resistance Training and Youth. Human Kinetics Journal, 1(4), 336-350.
(6) Jacobson, B.H., Conchola, E.G., Glass, R.G., Thompson, B.J. (2013). Longitudinal morphological and performance profiles for American, NCAA division I football players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 27(9), 2347-2354.
(7) Windt, J. & Gabbett, T. J. (2016). How do training and competition workloads relate to injury? The workload – injury aetiology model. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 51(5), 428-435.