Training for Your Position

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Training for Your Position

Training specificity makes it easy to understand why sports specific training is so important. Training for your sporting position is the next step.

Within most sports the different positons and players have different jobs. When training for any sport it’s important to break down your position and figure out what attributes are needed. For example, a point guard in basketball needs to be speedy with power and high endurance. A center doesn’t necessarily need the speed, but needs to be strong and powerful. In this article I will explain how to train as a small forward in basketball.

To me, a small forward is the player with the best mix of speed, endurance, power, and strength. He needs to be able to get up and down the court quickly and make quick cuts to get an open shot, but he also needs to be strong to be able to post up, and powerful enough to make a quick first step and an explosive movement toward the basket. Let’s take these attributes and look at them a little closer.

Speed and Endurance

Training for Your PositionNow a small forward doesn’t really need as much speed as a point guard, but he does need to be able to get up the court ahead of other players and back on defense in a hurry. The best way to train is to emulate game situations. Luckily, High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T) does just that. A study by Dupont, Koffi, and Serg (2004) showed that a work to rest ratio of 1:1 used with soccer players was effective in increasing speed and 40m sprint time.

To improve speed, the idea is to sprint for 40m followed by 30 seconds passive recovery (walking/jogging) for 12-15 repetitions two times a week. Start off at 12 repetitions for the first few weeks of training and increase to 15.

Likewise, H.I.I.T can be used to improve endurance. Burgomaster et al (2005) found that H.I.I.T doubled the endurance capacity of recreationally active athletes. There are many different protocols for H.I.I.T for endurance training, but a general idea is to have a work to rest ration of about 2:1. For example, running as fast as you can for 4 minutes followed by 2 minutes rest for 10 repetitions, 3 days a week. Protocols such as this have been shown to improve peak VO2. Peak VO2 is the gold standard measurement of aerobic endurance.

Strength and Power

In the case of a small forward it’s impossible to say that strength or power is more important, because a purely strong athlete may be slow in their movements, yet a purely powerful athlete may lack control. That’s why there needs to be a blend of strength and power. The time efficient way to train for strength and power is to split your routine – 2 days strength and 2 days power. With this you can also do an upper/lower body split or a push/pull exercise split.

Be sure to follow the strength and power training principles.

Remember to train smart. Find out what attributes you need and focus on attaining them through tailored training.

Burgomaster, K. et al. 2005, Six sessions of sprint interval training increases muscle oxidative potential and cycle endurance capacity in humans, Journal of Applied Physiology, 98(6), pp. 1985-1990
Dupont, G., Akakpo, K., and Berthoin, S. 2004, The effect of In-Season, High-Intensity Interval Training in Soccer Players, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 18(3), pp. 584-589



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