Something I learned a long time ago was that adaptation occurs no matter what kind of training you do. That being said, you can increase this in quantity and quality when you know what the fuck you’re doing! I’ve trialled a lot of programs and methodologies with athletes over the years and the success my athletes are expereince comes down to both the science and the art of coaching. A good friend of mine, Brett Bartholomew is one of the best cats going around who advocates this. You should check him out.


The last 12 months has seen a dozen or so junior basketballers walk through my doors all looking for any or all of the following…


  • Speed
  • Agility
  • Quickness


Using what I’ve learned from a plethora of other sports as well as national level basketballers here in Perth, I’ve created a little resource of what I used and what was included in all of their programs. There are lots of other tricks and tips I included in their programs but this outline the major elements that shaped their amazing results. You can use this stuff immediately with your clients. This was the case for both boys and girls.






Train them to become stronger. Period.


This is a major point that was the foundation of their programs. When making an athlete stronger, their abilities to perform athletic like movements and skills will develop if the strength has a carry direct carry over. For instance, training the squat (we started with the dumbbell squat because it’s a little easier to control for those learning the movement) will have a very good carry over to vertical jump and running speed if done correctly.


Because most of the junior athletes have never trained in the gym before, the results they get are going to be fast and very exciting due to their lower training age. We can use this to our advantage in teaching them the proper techniques as well as creating the right neural pathways for particular movements and drills. Being on the taller side, we want to make sure we focus on ankles, knees, lower back (including glutes) and their shoulder development in the early stages of their programming.


Deadlifts are important. Learning the movement is more important.


Sure, squats are uber important in any running and jumping sport. We know this. However the deadlift, in terms of the hip extension is exactly the movement that takes place in the game. Basketballers rarely ever go down ATG (ass to grass) for anything in the game. They more or less will vary their positions of hip flexion and then quickly into hip extension (see photo’s below). So it’s important to train the movement of a deadlift for that reason as well as for lower back strength.


Due to the height of these athletes, it’s important to keep their lower back strong. We need to manage their lumbar health. Because the loading of the Lumbar is great than most parts of the spine and being in such close proximity to the hinge in hip flexion and extension, the poor ol’ lumbar takes a beating if it’s not looked after.



Romanian Deadlifts

The Shoulder girdle needs to be as strong as an Ox


This has just been a precautionary point that I focus on with all of my basketballers due to the fact that working with NBL All-star and 2x NBL champion Matty Knight who came to me with a very damaged shoulder. Knowing he as a power forward and sometimes a centre, he was spending a lot of time in contact or with his hands above his head meaning shoulder strength was paramount. After a pre-season of hard work of 5x a week training, we were able to escape surgery, constant taping and he had the season of his life.


Dumbbells for overhead work are my tool of choice because of the need for great control and stability especially through the rotator cuff. So when performing a neutral grip press, I tend to get my athletes to hold the lift for a one second pause while locking out the movement. I also add external rotator cuff work at the end of the workouts as auxiliary work too.



Standing Neutral Grip Dumbbell Press

I hope this helps you with your athletes and even in your own training. Remember, each week, we’re going to be bringing a new article on all things strength, conditioning and human performance. If there is something you want to know more about then reach out to me and YOU might just get your wish!



*All graphics are the property of Coach Connolly and Atlas Performance Pty LTD. Use of these images without reference or written permission will result in a severe (and possibly costly) ass kicking from our legal team. They have big feet and are know to follow through… so you know they mean business. Kapeesh?!

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