Fun and Practical Conditioning Drills for Youth Basketball

In basketball coaching, conditioning is one of the drills that go unnoticed. Coaches mostly concentrate on skills and development, but they fail to capitalize on conditioning as one of the basketball workouts. Nevertheless, conditioning stands as one of the most important drills that players can learn. Whilst there is a perception that it is not as fun as layups, it is possible to approach it from an interesting perspective.

Benefits of Conditioning

Coaches as well as players should grasp the benefits and the importance of conditioning. To begin with, the action forms the foundation on which the games participants can build their performance on, during a game. Poor fitness and fatigue derails a player from performing optimally in basketball. The two elements give rise to errors such as turnovers.

Through the application of conditioning, players can manage to build endurance, mix up training, and avoid burning out. In order to outwit opponents in a basketball match, players not only need to apply games and scrimmages exercises, but also also apply fitness exercises. An interesting performance requires a combination of fun and fitness.

Conditioning Drills that Make a Game Interesting

There are several conditioning drills that make a basketball game interesting through combining fitness and fun. These are simple exercises that one can practice from a gym, car park, or even backyard. Notably, it is possible to customize the drill in order to match with the potential of a player.

Basic Drill and Red Light, Green Light

In Basketball, there is basic drill that calls for a player to run sideline wise, in an alternate manner, for one minute, and then rest for one minute while counting the number of runs. However, a player can also adopt a drill that bears the tag “Red Light, Green Light”. It takes after the operations of traffic lights, and it entails shouting red light for players to start running forward while dribbling the ball. The players should freeze when a coach shouts red light. The exercise factors in short and long intervals of dribbling and running. The long intervals can stretch till when the players cover the entire stretch of the court.

Silly Relays

The second drill takes the name “silly relays”. This drill helps the players to build muscles without lifting weights and attain a competitive fire. A coach should break a team in small clusters and place them at one edge of the court. The clusters should crab walk with their bellies facing the ceiling, and then sprint back. They should then skip while keeping tabs on airtime and sprint back again. Lastly, they should practice Frankenstein where they stretch their hands with palms facing downwards, walk while kicking the palms, and then sprint back.

Layup Race

The third drill entails a “layup race”. In this drill, the team is divided into two groups, and then two players from each group are assigned a similar number. The players should stand at opposite ends of the court. When a coach calls a number, the two players should run to the center of the court, pick a ball, and then dribble back to their position on the lay up. The winning team in the race gets a point.

Stuck in Mud

“Stuck in the mud” is the fourth drill. A couple of players come in to play a game with defined boundaries. Players stick in the mud and freeze in the spot while standing, while a designated player tags them. Another player should crawl on his knees, in order to unstuck the fellow player. However, the game goes on until all the players get stuck.

Court Sprint

The fifth drill that basketball players can engage in is the court sprint. There are two types of court sprints. A player can choose to run half court 10 times, and get back to the baseline. Alternatively, a player can run full court, touch the opposite baseline and return to the starting baseline.


Players can opt to apply the “suicides” as the sixth drill. In this exercise, players perform the following actions, while returning to the starting baseline after every action Dash to the beginning throw line, dash to the half court line, dash to the free throw line that is far, and finally dash to the far baseline.

Hopscotch-ladder Drill

Finally, players can apply a Hopscotch-ladder drill. In this exercise, the players make a rope ladder and lay it on the ground. They kick off the drill with hopping into the ladder box with their two feet inside the box. When hopping to the next box, they step outside the box with their right foot while the next hop places the left leg outside the box.


The application of these workouts ensures that the players acquire the right fitness for a basketball game. The drills compliment the other skills and techniques. Importantly, they enable the players to maintain resilience until the game ends.

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