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Goals and objectives of preseason strength training

This is an excerpt from Strength Training for Basketball by Human Kinetics.

By Nic Higgins and Scott Thom

The complex nature of the game of basketball requires the improvement of strength, power, and aerobic endurance. As basketball athletes begin to increase workload on the court—by the addition of practice, scrimmages, or conditioning—during the preseason, concurrent training in the weight room develops strength and power to prepare them for the physical demands of jumping, cutting, and sprinting. A study by Balabinis and colleagues (1) examined basketball athletes in the preseason phase and determined that concurrent training can significantly increase strength, power, and aerobic endurance during the preseason if the program is properly structured.

For the basketball athlete, although aerobic endurance is extremely important, preseason strengthening programs can still be effective using a concurrent training model. Note that in the previously mentioned study (1), athletes performed aerobic endurance training in the morning and did resistance training seven hours later. It is important to provide appropriate rest between resistance training sessions and basketball activities for both recovery and performance. If strength and power gains are a primary goal, resistance training sessions should take place before conditioning events, but separating skill sessions and conditioning sessions might be most beneficial to allow more complete recovery and limit interference.

During the preseason, resistance training programs increase in intensity and address the development of strength across the entire force-velocity curve while maintaining a balance between power development and basketball-specific conditioning. As a result, the preseason phase should remain relatively short, lasting only four to six weeks regardless of level of play. The off-season should be a longer period that is focused on physical development, where earlier phases of a macrocycle should not have to account for a detrimentally high volume of basketball demands. Unlike other resistance training phases, the preseason introduces a higher volume of basketball-related activities. Therefore, most basketball athletes preparing for the basketball season are taking on high workloads, in both sporting activities and resistance training activities. Athletes are required to complete both resistance training sessions and all basketball activities, causing the preseason mesocycle to align and complement sport-specific skill development.

With appropriate progression, athletes should have completed previous mesocycles focusing on aerobic endurance, hypertrophy, maximal strength, and power. After athletes have completed an off-season resistance training program that has addressed these components, the preseason resistance training program should focus on the athlete's ability to use the stretch-shortening cycle, boosting the athlete's ability to produce high amounts of force in very short periods. As a result, the primary focus is placed on movement velocity to convert the strength and power they have developed in previous mesocycles into more sport-specific reactive strength and explosiveness. A thorough knowledge of basketball requirements is central to the proper selection of programming methods, including frequency, exercise selection, intensity, volume, and other strength and conditioning parameters for preseason training.