Stop forcing your players to run the mile as a part of their basketball conditioning. While I think there is a place for the mile in your workouts, I think that’s more about competition and mental toughness than it is basketball conditioning.

Think about what your players need to be prepared for to be in basketball shape. They need to be able to sprint in short spurts multiple times per game. They need to be able to exert everything they’ve got, slow down, and then exert all of their energy again. The mile doesn’t translate to that. Instead, the mile allows players to pace themselves and never really involves sprint, which is half the battle of basketball.

But you can still use principles from the mile to condition your athletes. How many feet are in a mile? 5,280. A basketball floor is 84 feet. 5,280 divided by 84 is 62. We round that up to 64. It would take 64 full court sprints to equal a mile. We want our players to work on the starting and stopping aspects, so we cut the court in half and start our players on the baseline, have them touch half-court, and sprint back to the baseline to count as 1 sprint.

We break the sprints into four groups of 16, as if they were quarters in a basketball game. After the first group of 16 sprints, we give our players a 2 minute break. After the 2nd group of 16 sprints, we act as if it is halftime and give them a 4 minute break. After the 3rd group of sprints, we give them a 2 minute break again, and they are done after the 4th group of sprints.

To ensure that your players are sprinting, we break each sprint into 15 seconds. Meaning, players would start their first sprint when the clock starts, the 2nd sprint would start :15 seconds in, the 3rd sprint at: 30 seconds in, the 4th sprint at :45 seconds in, and so on until the 16th sprint is ran, where their first two minute break would start.

An example table of when each sprint would start can be seen below.

Sprint 1 0:00 Sprint 17 6:00 Sprint 33 14:00 Sprint 49 20:00
Sprint 2 0:15 Sprint 18 6:15 Sprint 34 14:15 Sprint 50 20:15
Sprint 3 0:30 Sprint 19 6:30 Sprint 35 14:30 Sprint 51 20:30
Sprint 4 0:45 Sprint 20 6:45 Sprint 36 14:45 Sprint 52 20:45
Sprint 5 1:00 Sprint 21 7:00 Sprint 37 15:00 Sprint 53 21:00
Sprint 6 1:15 Sprint 22 7:15 Sprint 38 15:15 Sprint 54 21:15
Sprint 7 1:30 Sprint 23 7:30 Sprint 39 15:30 Sprint 55 21:30
Sprint 8 1:45 Sprint 24 7:45 Sprint 40 15:45 Sprint 56 21:45
Sprint 9 2:00 Sprint 25 8:00 Sprint 41 16:00 Sprint 57 22:00
Sprint 10 2:15 Sprint 26 8:15 Sprint 42 16:15 Sprint 58 22:15
Sprint 11 2:30 Sprint 27 8:30 Sprint 43 16:30 Sprint 59 22:30
Sprint 12 2:45 Sprint 28 8:45 Sprint 44 16:45 Sprint 60 22:45
Sprint 13 3:00 Sprint 29 9:00 Sprint 45 17:00 Sprint 61 23:00
Sprint 14 3:15 Sprint 30 9:15 Sprint 46 17:15 Sprint 62 23:15
Sprint 15 3:30 Sprint 31 9:30 Sprint 47 17:30 Sprint 63 23:30
Sprint 16 3:45 Sprint 32 9:45 Sprint 48 17:45 Sprint 64 23:45
Break 1 4:00 Break 2 10:00 Break 3 18:00

Important keys to remember:

  • These are sprints. Players should not be pacing themselves.
  • Players should start on the baseline, sprint to half court and back to the baseline for each sprint.
  • This workout equates to about a mile with basketball conditioning and movements incorporated.

We have used this workout with our players, and they have been in the best basketball shape of their lives to start the season.

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