Coaches around the globe know that very few players actively want to participate in conditioning drills. If you need any proof, just tell your players to “get on the line” and watch their heads lower. While conditioning is not usually an enjoyable part of basketball for either players or coaches, it is unfortunately a necessary evil of the game. With that being said, below are a number of drills that work to improve a player’s conditioning but also include basketballs and fundamental skill development. You might not trick your athletes into loving these drills, but they will certainly like them more than getting on the line for suicide after suicide.
2 Minute Continuous Lay-Ups: (See the diagram below)
Start by splitting your team into two lines at half court, about 30-40 feet apart. Every player in one of the lines should have a ball. Players are going to be shooting lay-ups at both baskets continuously for 2 minutes. The drill begins at the same time on both baskets. Player 1 passes a cross to Player 7, who passes right back to Player 1 for a lay-up. The player shooing the lay-up is not allowed to dribble, so the pass must be in the correct spot to lead them into their shot. Simultaneously, Player 4 passes a cross to Player 10, who passes right back to Player 4 for a lay-up. Both passers (Players 7 and 10) rebound the lay-ups and dribble to the line on the opposite side of the court (the shooting line). Both lay-up shooters (Player 1 and Player 4) sprint to the line opposite them (the passing line). The drill continues with the next pair of players performing the same give and go motion (Player 2 with Player 8 and Player 5 with Player 11) for lay-up attempts. As the drill progresses, the lines disappear as everyone is forced to be moving to keep the drill alive.
Transition Build Up: (See the diagram below)
This drill works on transition offense and defense while getting the players up and down the court a number of times. Start by separating your team into two teams – Red and Blue – each on different baselines. Players are continuously playing either up a player or down a player (2 v 1, 3 v 2, 4 v 3 etc) Put 4 minutes on the game clock and 20 seconds on the shot clock, and choose one team to attempt a free throw first (Red team in this example). The Red team selects one player to shoot a free throw at the far end of the court, with two members of the Blue on the court. The player shoots the FT and gets a point for making the shot…if the shot misses, the Blue team is likely going to rebound the ball and head down the court 2 v 1. Once the Red team secures the ball again, either after the Blue team scores or by collecting the rebound on a miss, two Red players join the action and they head down the court 3 v 2. This continues with each team adding 2 team members after they get scored on or once they secure the rebound until each team has 5 players on the court. Teams then play 5 on 5 until the clock runs out, losing team runs a suicide. When there is only one player back on defense they should “fake their help” and try to confuse the ball handler. When there are two players back on defense they should be in a tandem, with one at the top of the key and the other about at the restricted circle ready to defend the first pass. When there are three players back on defense they should be in a triangle (one up and two slight below them on the wings). When there are four players back on defense they should be in a diamond.