When improving your basketball skills, it’s not just about working on plays on the court or getting your passing game down. Improving your overall strength and ability to play a full game without your body giving out is a big part of your ball game. Especially during the off season, you want to focus on improving your overall strength and conditioning so you are ready for the court in the fall.

9 Do’s and Don’ts with Strength and Conditioning

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Remember, youth athletes should NEVER begin weight training without proper adult trainer guidance and supervision!

1. Do: Build your strength with weight training

No matter what sport you are training for, weight training is a great way to improve overall muscle strength. While lifting weights won’t directly improve your basketball game, becoming a stronger athlete is going to have many benefits on your footwork, shooting, passing and even overall recovery.

2. Don’t: Work out unsupervised

Most young athletes are new to the world of weight lifting and working out and haven’t quite learned yet both how the machines and weights work best, and how their body works best. Because of this, it is imperative to supervise youth while they work out to avoid any strains or injury that might occur without supervision.

3. Do: Work with a trainer and learn proper technique

Working out with the help of a trainer will help you learn the best workouts to achieve your goals. A trainer will also help to make sure you are using proper technique to maximize your workout and reduce the chance of injury.

4. Don’t: Lift too much weight

One of the biggest mistakes new weight lifters make is to lift weights that are too heavy for them. Weights that are too heavy can do a lot of damage to muscles, so it is imperative to lift weights that are appropriate for your strength. You should be able to comfortably lift the weight 12-15 times to avoid muscle strain.

5. Do: Learn about nutrition

Fueling your body with proper nutrition is the best way to ensure your strength and conditioning is in top form. Learning how different foods affect your growth and performance is the best way to build muscle and improve your overall game.

6. Don’t: Include too many exercises

Though there are benefits to including a variety of exercises in your workout plan, both to maintain interest and keep your body improving, but there is a limit to that. Too many exercises can actually work to confuse you and decrease your interest level. A workout style like HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is a great way to incorporate variety, while still keeping the workout engaging.

7. Do: Work on cardio and footwork

You no doubt realize that basketball is a running sport, so it’s natural to work on cardio as part of your conditioning regime. In order to maximize the benefits of a cardio workout you’ll want to incorporate both footwork and ball handling into your routine. HIIT workouts are a great way to improve your overall cardio conditioning.

8. Don’t: Forget to rest and recover

Balance your workout schedule to allow for both hard workouts and days to rest and recover. Muscle repair and growth can’t happen if you don’t allow your body and mind time off to heal so rest days are just as important as work out days, but they often get forgotten. In the long run, pushing hard every day can actually do more harm than good, especially for young developing bodies.

9. Do: Stick to a regular schedule/routine

Getting into a regular routine will help make sure you have well rounded workouts and don’t skip days because you get busy. Choosing a set time or timeframe every day to do something active to further your basketball game will help you stay on track for maximum strength and conditioning gains.

Strength and Conditioning the RIGHT Way for Youth Athletes

Often you hear that strength training for youth athletes is unsafe. Of course, you’ll want advice straight from medical professionals on an individual basis. However, PROPER strength training is – yes, is – good for young athletes. It will not involve heavy weights – most often body weight or resistance bands – and the focus will be on injury prevention as much as performance enhancement.

Train safe!