Basketball Circuit Training

2011 NBA Finals Practice

There’s no such thing as a one-dimensional basketball player. A post player who typically remains near the basket, for example, must also possess good jumping ability to pull down rebounds and needs enough stamina to run up and down the court. A small guard who’s not expected to battle on the boards must be quick enough to defend another guard and needs strong hand-eye coordination for dribbling and passing. Circuit training -- which involves a variety of exercises performed in rapid succession -- can help players increase their speed, strength and stamina, as well as prepare them for action through game-specific drills.

Shooting Circuit

Most players shoot from a variety of spots on the court during the season. Some post players may not shoot from more than 12 feet from the hoop, but even they will see some variety in their shooting locations during a game. And all players, regardless of position, will eventually shoot some free throws. Set up a circuit on one side of a court with a variety of shooting locations. Players may take a specified number of each type of shot, or they may shoot for a certain amount of time at each location. The circuit should include some three-point shots, including at least one spot in the corner, as well as free throws, short jumpers and layups.

Mixed Basketball Circuit

To practice a variety of skills, coaches can divide the court into many different stations at which players can practice skills such as shooting, rebounding and ballhandling. If your practice facility has baskets at the sides of the court as well as the ends, your options increase further. For example, the circuit may include standard shooting drills at the ends. The side baskets can be used for specialty shooting, such as free throws or post shots, or you can set aside those areas for skill work, such as ballhandling, rebounding or one-on-one defense.

Basketball Fitness Circuit

The familiar setting of a basketball court can also play host to a circuit that emphasizes fitness drills, with basketball-specific work fitted into the basic structure. For example, the players may perform a dribbling drill at one station, a jumping drill -- such as leaping to touch the rim or the backboard -- in a second area, then perform an exercise, such as pushups or situps, then get up and run from the baseline to midcourt and back, moving forward in one direction and backpedaling in the other. Alternatively, fitness exercises or drills can be worked into a mixed basketball circuit.

Resistance Training

Basketball players, especially high-level professionals, typically remain in top shape year-round. Standard circuit resistance training provides a method for players to build strength and cardiovascular fitness at the same time, particularly when they perform their circuits quickly to keep their heart rates elevated. For example, NBA and U.S. Olympic standout Carmelo Anthony developed a circuit of six exercises, including a standing cable fly/chest press combination exercise; standing cable rows; a machine push press; physioball rear delt raises; stability pad bicep curls; and single-leg, single-arm cable rows with tricep extension. Anthony performs 16 repetitions of each exercise and rests for just 10 seconds between exercises. He performs two or three circuits during his workout, resting for about two minutes between circuits.