This Is Why You Should Eliminate Running From Practice

Bob Bigelow mentions a better alternative to the traditional running for conditioning. This is a great basketball practice tip for youth and high school coaches.

This video clip is from Bob Bigelowís Coaching Middle School Basketball.

As Bob mentions in the video, if youíre going to have the kids run for whatever reason, pair the running with a basketball skill.

That way, youíre conditioning and improving your basketball skills at the same time!

I can think back to where I might have wasted 5 to 10 hours in one season! Thatís a lot of wasted time that could have been spent on developing better players.

You can simply have them dribble down the court with their right hand and dribble back with left hand.

You can have them switch hands at each free throw line and half court. Since I want them to maintain speed, you might try using a speed crossover or wrap around the back dribble.

When should you implement running?

Personally, I donít believe in running for conditioning anymore. You should have well-structured drills and practices that condition players.

However, I do RARELY use some running in special situations related to lack of effort, poor attitude, and poor focus. You should also give at least one to two verbal warnings prior to doing this.

You should also clearly explain your rules and expectations at the first practice. And you will need to remind them throughout the season.

Editor's note: You should only do this to the team once or twice a year. I don't like to use it more than that. In fact, if you come up with better ways to get your team's attention, do so. If you are running as discipline more frequently, it could create a negative psychological connection to running. This could lead to unhealthy habits as an adult.

Other Running Tips:

Donít use the term suicide. Iím guilty of this. I used to say this term. However, I really donít like saying that anymore. Instead, you might use the term YoYos.

Am I being a little too PC? Possibly. But a fellow coach told me about a player that died on the court due to a heart problem and because of that, he hates using that term.

Make them touch the line with hand or foot - If a player doesnít touch the line, you can make them go back and touch the line again. That way, they arenít cheating the drill.

Run again if effort isnít satisfactory - If you feel an individual isnít giving full effort, make that individual run another one.

Create competition - You can also set up races. If a player is the first one back after a specific line is touched, they can stop running. This makes it a little fun and motivates them to run harder.

Well, we hope these tips help you develop better practices and better teams! Let us know what you think or if you have some other tips.

Do you have any questions or suggestions for this article? Let us know by leaving your comments...


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Hector says:
10/20/2017 at 8:40:46 AM

Bob thank you for your input I coach fundamentals and I agree with you 100% I try I make it fun for my kids however some of them need more discipline when running they get too lazy and complacent. Thank you very much for your input. God Bless You


Coach Boge says:
8/18/2017 at 4:34:55 PM

I do not like the term "suicides". When creating teams individual efforts must always be the best. I always practice with speed and conditioning as a base. Sometimes it is hidden, but if is always there. Example of this is I have players do shooting in groups of three. They get 100 shot each in ten minutes. Reporting their results in 10 shot segments. Yes ythis is faster than in most game, but it gets them to shoot when winded. O the rebounders must get ball before it hit the floor. So all three are moving. Each shot must be 15 ft from last shot. This is done with all drills and it works. Our suicide run is called a "homerun", and last thing done every practice. ( 28 secound time for entire team)

  1 reply  

Insane says:
8/21/2017 at 10:01:51 AM

Coach Boge, I like your style. Keep them moving, keep them running and keep them competing. How about fun run for the conditioning. A well conditioned athlete is always an asset.


Insane l says:
8/18/2017 at 11:22:40 AM

If the kids are actually requesting more running, then that tells you something. I think a well conditioned player can remain on the floor and produce positive results while a equally talented less conditioned player will need longer recovery time.(on the bench ) A well conditioned player with excellent speed can be trained to be disruptive defensively which is always a positive. Running at practice displays a level of skill which is essential to positive athletic outcomes. Just use your time wisely, and keep running.


Ali Calloway says:
8/18/2017 at 9:54:23 AM

I like this idea about not running "suicides" for the sake of just conditioning. And I hat the word "suicide". I used to call it running lines. You never know who's loved one actually committed suicide and it probably brings up memories for her. From now on, we will not run lines, we will run while dribbling, just like Bob Bigelow suggested. Great idea. Thank you!


midd44 says:
8/10/2017 at 2:12:19 AM

Bob is the best. i wish he had this change of heart back when he was coaching us... i totally agree with this for middle school kids but i do see a benefit to "just" running at the high school level because: 1. most kids can not sprint at full speed & control a dribble. they slow down their running speed in order to control the ball. by slowing down to control the ball they are actually training themselves to run slower 2. how many times are kids told to sprint back on defense or sprint ahead on offense? most of the time kids are sprinting, it's without the ball 3. there is a mental component to being able to sprint when tired. 4. running against the clock is a good measuring barometer to see if a kid is in game shape..running just to punish players is outdated.


Michael says:
7/27/2017 at 5:40:05 PM

I agree with this 100 percent.

A middle school program is more hard pressed for time than higher levels.

When my teams ask why we don't run more, I explain it the same way.

Twenty minutes a day, doing nothing but running, eats up too much time.

For us, at that rate, we lose the equivalent of a practice every 6 days.

We do a lot of 4 On 4 Change, 1 v 1 Attack With Narrow Cones, etc.


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