More than Conditioning – An Open Letter to Basketball Players

More than Conditioning - An Open Letter to Basketball Players

This article was written by Basketball HQ co-founder Kyle Ohman.


Dear Current Basketball Players,

Looking back at my playing career in high school, college, and professionally I can pretty easily link most of the worst times in practice around the simple phrase, “everyone on the line.” Every basketball player knows exactly what that means, and almost immediately, the tone in practice shifts to, “well, let’s just get this over with.”

If you are in shape, it is really more of an inconvenience than anything, and if you aren’t in shape… well, let’s just say it is not going to be a fun rest of practice. This is pretty much the mindset that I had during my entire playing career.

It wasn’t until I became a basketball coach myself that I fully grasped what was happening all those times we lined up in practice to run. We weren’t just working on our conditioning, being punished, and so on. Yes, these were an underlying part of it sometimes, but they were not the primary purpose.

If you think about it, you run up and down throughout basically the entire practice. If a coach wants to, they can easily work in enough conditioning during different basketball drills that you wouldn’t need to line up and run. So what gives?

When a coach tells you to line up at the end of practice or you are scheduled to do some conditioning, it is more than just running; it is really about developing your mental toughness on an individual level and as a team. Coaches want to put you in situations that push and challenge you to get out of your comfort zone.

They want to see if you have what it takes or if you are going to drop your head and shut down. They want to know if you will isolate yourself and just get through it, or if you are going to help pick up and encourage a struggling teammate.

It is tough to simulate game-like stress and pressure, but a great way to come close to this is high-stress conditioning situations that force players to give everything they have individually and work together to get it done.

So next time your coach yells, “line up,” or you have already been running for what seems like forever, be the player that; is picking everyone else up, is bringing energy, doesn’t miss a line, can execute, and is a leader that brings everyone else with them.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that it is “just” conditioning.


Sincerely, Kyle Ohman



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