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Length, structure, and organization of in-season programs

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

By Nic Higgins and Scott Thom

The in-season phase is a significant period that athletes need to take advantage of, and they should continue to develop general and specific aspects of strength while competing in-season. This period can last 16 to 20 weeks for high school, up to 24 weeks for college, and as long as 30 weeks for professional basketball athletes. As a result, this phase is likely be the longest mesocycle of the year, offering a significant opportunity to implement a resistance training program. Although these weeks are filled with practices, games, travel, and other obstacles, proper planning and programming of resistance training sessions will prevent regression and aid in the continual growth of a developing athlete. The emphasis of in-season resistance training should be to continue to develop overall athleticism and ultimately maximize athletic performance in playoff competition.

High School

High school basketball athletes should be expected to complete one to two resistance training sessions per week strategically scheduled around their classes, practices, game schedule, and extracurricular activities. Total body resistance training programs for the high school athlete should last 30 to 45 minutes and include a proper warm-up and cool-down. The frequency per week of resistance training sessions should be adjusted around the volume of basketball activities, providing not only adequate recovery periods between resistance training sessions but also appropriate recovery leading up to the next game.

College

The collegiate basketball athlete's in-season phase ranges between 20 and 24 weeks and should consist of a minimum of one to two total body resistance training sessions per week. Each session should last 30 to 45 minutes and include a proper warm-up and cool-down. In-season training frequency should be structured around game schedule, travel schedule, academic calendar, and extracurricular activities. Previous training cycles may have allowed consistent training schedules such as a four-day or five-day training split with no basketball requirements, but in-season resistance training programs require coordination with academics, practices, games, and NCAA regulations.

Professional

The professional season can last anywhere between 24 and 30 weeks including playoffs. The overall game distribution, the length of the season, and travel requirements present a unique challenge when attempting to maximize performance for the professional athlete. One of the challenges that a strength and conditioning professional faces because of the demands of longer travel stints is access to a weight room that fits the basketball athlete's training needs. In the professional setting three to four games can spread throughout the week, including games on back-to-back nights that are sometimes played on the road for one and at home for the other. But with the redesign of the NBA schedule, games typically take place every other day. This setting can make it challenging for the coach to balance workloads on practice days and determine when it is time either to push an athlete or to promote recovery. In general, a professional athlete should take part in a minimum of one to two total body resistance training sessions per week lasting 30 to 45 minutes.