A comprehensive, five-week preseason running program By Ron Ashlaw, boys basketball coach, Waukegan High School, Illinois

Our fall running program is designed to give all prospective players an opportunity to get into good physical condition. It also prepares their bodies for basketball tryouts in November and the long season that follows if they make the team.

The running program is conducted over a five-week period and is held Monday through Friday each of those weeks (except for week five). It’s built on a steady progression from the first week through the end of the program, and it can be easily altered to meet the specific needs of your program. It’s comprised primarily of sprint work with some middle and long distances included for the overall training benefits of those forms of conditioning.

Preparedness commitment

Once the school year starts, we begin each session shortly after school lets out each afternoon. We conclude it with some other facet of our preseason conditioning regimen, such as an open gym, weight training, jump-rope routines or plyometric training. The running program is strictly voluntary, yet it’s recommended for those who are serious about being part of the basketball program.

Participation in the program in no way guarantees a player a roster spot on any of the teams, but participation goes a long way in helping the player get ready for tryouts. It also demonstrates a level of commitment, dedication and work ethic to the coaching staff.

Pre-run requirements

This running program has evolved over the years and is proven to be excellent in getting our players physically ready to begin the season. Before participating in the program, all players must:

— Dress appropriately. The run is performed rain or shine, and in warm or cold temperatures.

— Have a signed parental-consent form. A physical examination by a doctor must be on file prior to any student beginning a basketball program’s exercise or workout program.

— Report to their assigned running groups. Prior to the beginning of the running program, all players are assigned to specific running groups. The groups are based on age, position, ability, etc. Adjust the groupings accordingly as the weeks progress.

— Take part in the warm-up routine. Before the run begins, players are put through a warm-up series and flexibility routine that gets them primed and ready to train. The warm-up routine consists of:

  • Jogging (two lengths of 30 yards — there and back).
  • Jogging with high knees (two lengths).
  • Butt kicks (two lengths).
  • Skips (two lengths).
  • Layup “explosions” (two lengths).
  • Defensive slides and sprints (three repetitions, two lengths).
  • Sprint strides, pivot and backpedal (two lengths).
  • Carioca shuffle (two lengths).

— Take part in stretching/flexibility program. This program is led by seniors (high school) or veteran members of the basketball program who are taking part in the running program.

— Take part in a brief jump-rope routine. Develop this routine based on the athletic ability and age of your players. Remember, you don’t want to burn them out before the run begins.

— Do a light jog to the running course. Establish a maximum time allotment for players to get to the course based on the distance of the warm-up run.

Running program: Set up

Prior to the start of each day’s run, you must set up the running course with orange cones to mark the starting lines and other boundaries of the course. The players run in “heats” based on the pre-established groupings.

Set up a predetermined time to complete the run, and record penalty times for those who don’t finish in time. You should also set up “penalty days” for those who sign up for the program and then miss days. Stress to any player who signs up for this program that he or she is making a commitment to follow through the entire program — from day one to completion — so it does no good to allow players to skip days as they please. Make-up days are scheduled for Saturdays.

But since you can’t force players to attend these voluntary sessions, you can offer further incentives by awarding points for each day attended. Athletes can receive additional points for being named the “Runner Of The Group” or “Runner Of The Day.” Accumulated points earn recognition with an “I Survived The Running Program” T-shirts. Remember, finishing the program does not guarantee a spot on the basketball team’s roster.

At the end of each day’s run, players jog back to the school or gym. This is again a timed jog. Lengthen the maximum time on this finishing jog, as players will be fatigued.

Five-week running program

WEEK 1:

  • Monday: 4 x (2 x 30 yard shuttles). Set players up in 22-, 23- and 24-second groups.
  • Tuesday: 6 x 60, 8 x 80, 10 x 100, 6 x 60 yard sprints.
  • Wednesday: 5 x (2 x 30 yard shuttles). Set up players in 22-, 23- and 24-second groups.
  • Thursday: 6 x 60, 8 x 80, 10 x 100, 6 x 60 yard sprints.
  • Friday: 6 x (2 x 30 yard shuttles). Set up players in 22-, 23- and 24-second groups.
  • Saturday: Make-up day.

WEEK 2:

  • Monday: 7 x (2 x 30 yard shuttles). Set players up in 22-, 23- and 24-second groups.
  • Tuesday: 1-mile run (timed).
  • Wednesday: 8 x (2 x 30 yard shuttles). Set players up in 22-, 23- and 24-second groups.
  • Thursday: 1-mile run (timed).
  • Friday: 9 x (2 x 30 yard shuttles). Set players up in 22-, 23- and 24-second groups.
  • Saturday: Make-up day.

WEEK 3:

  • Monday: 10 x (2 x 30 yard shuttles). Set players up in 21-, 22- and 23-second groups.
  • Tuesday: 4 x 40, 6 x 60, 8 x 80, 10 x 100, 8 x 80, 6 x 60, 4 x 40 yard sprints.
  • Wednesday: 11 x (2 x 30 yard shuttles). Set up players in 21-, 22- and 23-second groups.
  • Thursday: 4 x 40, 6 x 60, 8 x 80, 10 x 100, 8 x 80, 6 x 60, 4 x 40 yard sprints.
  • Friday: 12 x (2 x 30 yard shuttles). Set players up in 21-, 22- and 23-second groups.
  • Saturday: Make-up day.

WEEK 4:

  • Monday: 13 x (2 x 30 yard shuttles). Set players up in 21-, 22- and 23-second groups.
  • Tuesday: 1 1/2-mile run (timed).
  • Wednesday: 14 x (2 x 30 yard shuttles). Set players up in 21-, 22- and 23-second groups.
  • Thursday: 1 1/2-mile run (timed).
  • Friday: 15 x (2 x 30 yard shuttles). Set players up in 21-, 22- and 23-second groups.
  • Saturday: Make-up day.

WEEK 5:

  • Monday: 4 x 40, 6 x 60, 8 x 80, 10 x 100, 8 x 80, 6 x 60, 4 x 40 yard sprints.
  • Tuesday: Off day.
  • Wednesday: 15 x (2 x 30 yard shuttles). Set players up in 20-, 21- and 22-second groups.
  • Thursday: Off day.
  • Friday: 4 x 40, 6 x 60, 8 x 80, 10 x 100, 8 x 80, 6 x 60, 4 x 40 yard sprints.
  • Saturday: Make-up day.

WEEK 6:

This week, prior to the start of tryouts, can either be a recovery period or you can schedule a few open-gym sessions to whet the players’ appetites for basketball.





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P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345
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