In case you’re unaware, the holidays are here and once again they’re smack dab in the middle of basketball season.  All the down time, all the family time, all the food, all the holiday cakes, cookies, snacks.  You’ll be given days off by your coach that can reach anywhere from three to seven days.  What’s the old adage: It takes three months to get in shape, and one week to lose it all?  That is a slight exaggeration, but it does have shades of truth (days off can lead to: muscular efficiency drops, VO2 levels change, glycogen storage is effected, etc.)

As a basketball athlete you’re expected to, AND SHOULD BE peaking with your conditioning and physical fitness these next couple weeks as you head into league play.  So how do you maintain or even IMPROVE (what a concept that would be…) your conditioning with so many holiday factors not wanting you too?

Here we go:

  • Be conscious of everything you put into your body. All the sugar from cakes, cookies, grandma’s homemade cinnamon rolls, and your aunts amazing fudge taste great, but they are taking away from all the hard work you have put into your preseason practices and games.


  • Maintain your daily routine (AKA don’t trick your body!). Once the holiday break starts, athletes tend to go to bed late and wake up even later.  Your school schedule and practice schedule have pushed your body into a daily routine of early to bed, early to rise, with (hopefully) a good breakfast.  Don’t stray far away from your routine!


  • Run. Run. Run. As coach gives you the green light on four or five days off for Christmas, MAKE A PLAN. This plan should consist of doing both aerobic and anaerobic workouts, ideally at the same time your team would practice.  Hit a three mile nice paced jog, run some timed wind sprints, run two minutes hard- rest for a minute- then run two minutes hard again. Anything that will maintain your fitness must be done!


  • If you’re out of the gym for three-five days, it seems a basketball players handles are the first to go. Dribble at home in the garage or driveway (on Mom’s wood floors???), and ask your coach to let you into the gym for a ball handling/shooting workout or two.


It is, at times, nice for your body to relax and get a break from all the rigors of practices and games, and the bumps and bruises associated with them.  Just be cognizant of how much you relax, league games and a league championship are looming… none of which are won by out of shape teams.  EYES ON THE PRIZE, NOT GRANDMA’S COOKIES!

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