Conditioning is an important word in any sport. It has two definitions that are significant to team development, both of which must be considered while practicing. The first definition refers to physical fitness, while the second definition relates to the making and breaking of habits.
There are many circumtances in basketball where a certain stimuli requires a specific response. Training a player to correctly execute a skill in response to a specific situation is conditioning. I am going to spend some time discussing some of the habits that successful basketball teams have that must be emphasized in practice. I will include links that will identify, demonstrate, teach and provide examples of these habits (skills) and drills that can be used to help develop them. When developing any skill I believe it is important to emphasize hard work, enthusiasm and attention to detail. If a team possesses these traits they will be more likely to improve throughout the season.
Loose Ball and Charge
I selected these skills first because I think they are extremely important to the development of team toughness and togetherness. Being the “first on the floor” for a loose ball or purposely getting “run-over” by a driving offensive player represents individual sacrifice for team success. These two skills also contribute to the number of possessions in a basketball game. A charge takes away a possession from the opponent, while winning a loose ball adds a possession. Lastly, these two skills contribute to the overall momentum of a game.
A successful charge can be a huge boost for one team, and deflating for the other. I have learned that if you want an action to be repeated, you must celebrate when it is executed. Successful teams collectively celebrate when a teammate dives for a loose ball or takes a charge. While practicing these two skills, player safety should be considered first. It would also be wise to research the rules related to these skills. Often times traveling calls are made after a loose ball is obtained and the block-charge call is always highly debated.
The video below is for a drill that combines charge, loose ball, next play and team encouragement. During the drill, a player will take a charge, dive for a loose ball, and pass the ball to another player for a layup. Lastly the drill includes players running over and encouraging teammates that have executed these skills.
The video link shows a charge drill that also emphasizes closing out, jumping to the ball, defensive help, rotation and next play (pass for a layup). These are all habits executed by successful basketball teams.
Next blog I will discuss the conditioning of other important basketball habits.