During the summer evaluation period, basketball players are often on the road, travelling and playing multiple games in short order. Despite distractions such as pressure, unfamiliar surroundings and living with teammates away from home, elite athletes must remain focused and stay in top form.


  • During summer basketball, elite adolescent basketball players can sweat 2.6 litres per hour (and even more) due to the intense level of competition and high temperatures.
  • More than half of athletes at an U20 tournament showed significant dehydration after games and the morning afterwards.
  • Dehydration reduces points, rebounds and assists, lowers physical endurance and impairs decision-making.

Hydration Tips

  • Rehydrate by constantly taking small sips:
    • Use a 1.5L water bottle during practices and games
    • Coaches can use a smaller 500ml water bottle
    • Avoid caffeinated drinks.
    • Players should keep the water bottle handy while travelling, during meetings and in their room.
  • Do not share water containers.


  • Challenges while travelling include consumption of carbohydrates and protein, energy intake and food safety.
  • Some meals may not provide enough calories for an athlete, or the right mix of carbs, protein and fat.
  • Food service may not be available when athletes return from late games.

Nutrition Tips

  • Eat when hungry, not only when food is available.
  • Eat a high carbohydrate meal before travelling.
  • Plan ahead to assure good nutrition on the road:
    • Pack snacks such as granola bars, fruits, whole grain bagels/breads and liquid meal replacements to avoid temptation and eat outside of regular hours.
    • At buffet-style meals, grab extra fruits and grains that are portable and can be consumed later.
    • Visit well-known chains with familiar menu items. Search online beforehand to research restaurants near hotels and competition sites.
  • Bring snacks that mix carbohydrates and protein to practices and games to consume within twenty minutes.
  • Ask about food safety if unsure or eat and drink from sealed containers.


  • In season, collegiate basketball players sleep around 6.5 hours although they may need 8.5 to 9.25 hours because of their stage of development.
    • On a road trip, sleep may be further decreased because of travel time, unfamiliar sleeping accommodations and the noisy social atmosphere.
    • Fatigue due to lack of sleep is cumulative.
  • Adding two more hours of sleep per night increases free throw shooting by eleven percent and three-point shooting by fourteen percent.
    • Speed on a 282 foot sprint improved by 0.7 seconds.

Sleep Tips

  • Focus on getting enough sleep each day:
    • Take a nap between a morning and afternoon game.
    • Avoid electronic devices late at night.
    • Keep a regular bedtime. Try to get more sleep than you need.


  • Long trips slow the metabolism, reduce mobility and tighten muscles.
  • More soreness – which can disrupt sleep – is alleviated by thorough stretching.
  • Stretching also promotes recovery and “resets” the body for the next practice or game.

Stretching Tips

  • Practice active recovery (moving around, stretching, yoga) during stops.
  • Stretch after arriving at a destination.
  • Stretch and/or self-massage in the evening back in the hotel or residence.

Portable Workout

  • Use a free app such as Interval Timer to time the activities and play energizing music.
  • Warm up and cool down before and after each workout.
    • Pack a skipping rope to help warm up in tight places.

Functional Movements for Basketball

  • Body Weight Squat: Watch for inward knee bend.
    • Progression: Lower for six seconds (concentric movement) and explode upwards for one second (eccentric movement).
  • Forward and Rear Lunge (R/L): Drop hips, keep torso erect, knee should not pass front foot.
    • Progression: Lower for six seconds (concentric movement) and explode upwards for one second (eccentric movement).
  • Alternating Bird Dog: Keep back & neck straight, head looks down.
  • Lateral Lunge (R/L): Assume a balanced stance, keep torso erect.
  • Push-Up: Keep back straight.

Time: Start with three sets of fifteen seconds per exercise. Add five seconds per exercise each workout. Add an additional set if the workout is going well.
Work:Pause Ratio: 1:1 (Rest after the sets, not between exercises).

Balance and Stability

Time: Three sets of each exercise. Start with holding each position for thirty seconds and increase to a full minute.
Work:Pause Ratio: 1:1.

Core Exercise Series

Cycle through each exercise. Keep feet off group for entire workout.

Time: At first, perform each exercise for twenty seconds each (one minute today). Progress to a three minutes routine (alternate between three exercises for twenty seconds each) and keep the feet off the ground.
Work:Pause Ratio: 1:1. 30 seconds rest between sets if needed.


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Exercise Demonstrations