What Fitness Skills Are Needed For Basketball?

Basketball is an amazing game, as its increasing popularity demonstrates. Not only does it feature in high school, but also in the games played when students leave and go to college. The Olympics also allow the world to enjoy basketball playing at its very best.

To an outsider, it would be tempting to think you just need to be able to use a ball with your hands, and throw it into a basket. The reality is completely the opposite. Basketball players actually have to have an all-round set of abilities that will take time and effort to improve. That’s what this article is all about.

Strength And Stamina

Not everyone who watches basketball believes that you have to be tall and have a good body composition. Unfortunately, these beliefs are wrong. Whilst a would-be basketball player can’t change their height, they can achieve a good target weight and level of fitness. Leg, core, and arm strength is definitely needed.

It’s been said already that basketball playing begins from the school age. It’s great if there are activities for kids to practice from their own backyard or driveway. When researching on the internet, it was interesting to see that some of these awesome games that are popular with kids, including ‘around the world’, ‘knockout’ and ‘musical basketballs’, are not just great fun but also help children with developing shooting and rebounding skills. Ball control can also be developed in an exciting way.

The upper body will need a good regular workout – that’s the chest, back, and arms. There’s a number of exercises one can perform at the gym that assists here. It’s worth adopting tricep pulls and back rows, crunches and abdominal training, and lots of work on the bench press.

As regards legs, think of the need to achieve high levels of running speeds. Quick sprints are what makes this game so compelling. A player could be sprinting up to ninety feet in one go. By the end of the match, the players have run quite a distance. You could certainly see that if they ran it in one straight line! Muscles need to be toned for running, and stamina increased through cardiovascular workouts. Aerobic endurance fitness is a surefire area to study and practice.


Not only do players need to run fast in small dashes or be adept at maintaining stamina throughout the match. They need to have agility, such as avoiding other players and turning around or changing direction at speed. Issues of balance, muscle, and breath control all come into play here. Body coordination is essential too.

Basketball players need to work on their stretching skills for ball contact and their hand-eye coordination. When the ball is travelling at speed – not to mention the competition – reaction times need to be swift. There could be a lot of jumping involved in a single match, so spotted lunges and squats pay dividends for glutes and quads. Weight training at the gym also comes to the fore at this stage.

Mental Fitness

So often when listening to boxers before a match, it’s easy to see how important it is to have the correct state of mind. They are positive about the forthcoming fight, confident about the outcome, and totally focused on the preparation. Nothing changes here when one thinks of basketball matches. Mental fitness – a positive mindset and the ability to focus – are key. Any sense of defeat, inadequacy, or panic will be highly counter-productive. How people react under stressful circumstances can decide the outcome of a game too. This can be improved by working on both mindsets and physical fitness.

There is so much more to basketball than meets the eye. Players need to learn tactical ability and analytical skills, as well as motivation and self-confidence.

This article has just scratched the surface of the armory of fitness skills each player needs to acquire in order to succeed. It’s important to have an individual assessment by the coach as this will help highlight the areas for development and improvement. Cross-training is the best way forward as the variety makes it more fun, and incorporates lots of essential skills. Not everything can be done in the gym, however. Some offense and defense and dribbling skills can only be gained on the court.

From childhood, it is possible to start training, and long term to develop a healthy diet and fitness regime. There’s nothing like playing the actual game, but other exercises will help target the areas one needs to refine. Confidence comes with experience, but good thinking and reaction process is all part of mental fitness too.



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