Basketball is a game of precision, finesse and polished skill. An athlete must be in peak physical condition in order to excel in the sport. Cardiovascular fitness and speed training are crucial elements in the conditioning process. There are simple running and sprint workouts that can provide the speed and stamina you need to succeed.
The most commonly known basketball sprint workout is the suicide. Begin at the baseline and sprint to the free throw line closest to you. Return to the baseline. Immediately sprint to the half court line. Again, return to the baseline. Turn to sprint toward the free throw line farthest from you and sprint back to the baseline. Finally, run the full length of the court at full speed and return to the starting point on the baseline. In order to improve your speed, time yourself and work on beating your best suicide time.
Footwork is key in an all-around basketball game. Defensive slides will improve footwork, increase speed and help your defensive game. Begin in a defensive stance with feet shoulder width apart, knees bent to a 90 degree angle, chest up and back straight and arms extended to either side and facing ahead. Start in the middle of the court and slide as quickly as possible from sideline to sideline. For a faster variation, have a friend or coach point in either direction as you slide, switching directions without warning.
In order to improve stamina, try the "Sweet 16" workout. Begin on the basketball sideline and run to the opposite sideline. Turn and run back, counting one for each trip made. Complete this circuit 16 times, and time yourself to beat the clock. This drill improves both endurance and speed.
Ladders can be run as a full sprint workout or as an endurance building moderate run. Begin on the baseline and run to the opposite baseline just one time, then rest 10 seconds. Run baseline to baseline twice. Rest 10 seconds. Run baseline to baseline three times, then rest. Complete this cycle until you've reached five trips down and back, then decrease the number back down to one. In order to maximize this workout to improve your basketball skill, complete the entire ladder while dribbling a basketball, alternating hands.