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10 Tips for High School Basketball Players:
With Tucker Herzberg, Maryland Men’s and
Women’s Basketball Performance intern
Strength and Conditioning
1. Keep your strength training simple. Because of the need for single leg strength in basketball, if you can only pick 1 lower body strength movement (though hopefully you have time for a few each week), a great option is rear foot elevated single leg squats. Master the movement with your bodyweight, and then progress to holding dumbbells. Your legs are the strongest/biggest muscles in your body, so they need to be stimulated by lifting heavy weights! Bodyweight only or only using light resistance for high reps won’t stimulate the leg strength you need on the court! – Video demo – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zm6AOhAN-WM
2. Train your abs/core like an athlete! If your only core training consists of static planks, crunches, and leg raises, you are selling yourself short. Basketball players need a strong core to keep them balanced when in a defensive stance or with an arm overhead shooting a lay-up while getting fouled. Check out the links for a video of 10 movements you should incorporate , and another blog post with ‘My Favorite Core Training Resources’
3. Spend the majority of your conditioning at very high intensities. At Maryland we use ‘tabata’ style training for a lot of our conditioning, which is simply riding a bike, running on a treadmill, or sprinting on the court at high speeds/intensities for 20 seconds, resting for 10 seconds, and then going for another 20. We do these for 8 sets total, equaling 4 minutes, which simulates the breaks we have for media timeouts during games. Any form of high intensity training followed by short rest will work, and stationary bikes are great in the off-season to reduce impact on your lower body.
4. Stay generally fit year round (hopefully you play 1-2 sports in addition to basketball which will help with this), and then ramp up your game-intensity conditioning around 4-6 weeks out from pre-season practice. Whether you play other sports or just basketball, in the off-season, focus more on improving jumping ability, speed, strength, putting on size, or whatever other goals you have. Intense, game-like conditioning year-round may wear you down and take away from other aspects of your training.
5. To improve your vertical jump, make sure to be training all 3 aspects of the jump – speed, speed/strength, and strength. Training the speed component involves bodyweight jumps at 100% intensity. For example, do different stepping patterns (1-2 step, drop step) and then jump as high as you can with our without a box to land on. Keep these sets to around 5 or less reps so that you do not turn it into a conditioning drill. The speed/strength component involves weighted jumps (holding dumbbells or medicine balls, hang cleans, dumbbell overhead snatch). Finally, simply by improving your lower body strength (through heavy strength training) will allow your body to have more ability to jump higher as you pair this heavy strength work with your speed and speed/strength jump training.
6. Incorporate lunge matrixes into your training – bodyweight as well as resisted lunges (holding dumbbells, medicine balls, kettlebells). Basketball players are in different lunge positions all the time during games, so you’ve got to train to be strong in these positions! Here’s two videos for different lunge variations: – https://www.instagram.com/p/BD1kYkhkJq1/?taken-by=thrivemovementscience – https://www.instagram.com/p/BCjTp2KEJkB/?taken-by=thrivemovementscience
7. As students who have to do a lot of sitting during the day, hip flexor tightness can become a real problem. Before training or getting on the court, try this mobility work to combat the sitting you do each day! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOee8Lgzxus
8. Don’t neglect your ankles! Basketball players need strong ankles, but they also need mobile ankles to help absorb force during landing and decelerating. These 2 videos will show you ways to improve your ankle mobility in all directions: * https://www.instagram.com/p/BB0Fi2ykJtu/?taken-by=thrivemovementscience * https://www.instagram.com/p/BBm91vFkJmA/?taken-by=thrivemovementscience
Rest and Recovery
9. If you don’t have access or time for an ice bath, jump-start your bodies recovery through improving circulation by doing this: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/latest-news/article9165635.html
Hold this position with deep breathing for 1-2 minutes or more. You can close your eyes or listen to some relaxing music when you do this as well. Getting the blood from your legs back to your heart faster is one way to jump-start your recovery, and relaxing with the deep breathing will begin to turn on your bodies recovery systems as well. You can do this recovery method anywhere right after a workout before you leave the gym.
10. When it comes to hydration, try to stick with water almost exculsively. Make it a priority to hydrate (1-2 cups) before, during, and after your training, but this is easy to do as you feel like drinking water when you’re training. It’s harder to make water a priority in the mornings, during school, and at night, so do whatever you have to do to get that done. Carry around a water bottle, drink 1-2 cups as soon as you get up and during every meal, or set a goal for number of cups per day (half your body weight in ounces + 0-20 ounces is a general guideline).
Thank you for reading! My mission is to help high school coaches and athletes with their training goals and answer any questions that they have, so please leave a comment below or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or send me a snapchat (@tuckerherzberg) with a question you have about something I said or any other training question you have, and let me know which of the 10 tips was most helpful for you!