improve your stamina for basketball

How to Improve Stamina for Basketball (and Play like Fred VanVleet)

Do you have trouble grinding for long periods of time? If so, you need to improve your stamina for basketball. Here’s a drill and a workout that will improve your grit so that you can hustle on the court like Fred VanVleet.

On February 2, 2021, the Toronto Raptors’ Fred VanVleet slayed the Orlando Magic.

In a match-up in enemy territory, the Raptors had their backs against the wall.

They had just won their first game a few days earlier after dropping 3 in a row. They needed to get back on track and on a streak or else they were going to lose their mojo.

So this game, though it was early in the season, was crucial.

But the Raptors had a hiccup in the first quarter and let the Magic get an 11 point lead. Pascal Siakam, their primary scorer, wasn’t feeling it and was 1-for-6.

VanVleet, one of the team’s leaders, felt a sense of urgency.

So, he turned on his NOS and attacked the Magic as if they offended him and his family. When the first quarter timer hit 0:00 and the clock buzzed, VanVleet had 17 points.

As soon as the game clock buzzed at the end of the fourth quarter, he had 54 points (and more importantly, the victory).

54 points is not only his (at the time) career-high but also the most points ever scored by a Raptor.

The previous single-game franchise record, 52, was achieved by Raptor great DeMar DeRozan in 2018 when they faced off against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Scoring that many points is very impressive.

But what makes VanVleet’s accomplishment more special is that he also played hard defence that game.

He didn’t conserve his energy so that he had enough in his tank to stuff his stat sheet with points –he hustled on the defensive end too, getting 3 steals and 3 blocks.

The Importance of Stamina

Near the end of the fourth, Leo Rautins, a Raptors’ commentator, pointed out VanVleet’s hustle and it caught my attention.

This made me think about how important it is to have a lot of stamina.

See, VanVleet has always been a dog. He always gives it his all on either end of the court.

If he’s on defence, he will pester his opponent the entire time, while also running to and challenging open shooters. If he’s on the offensive end, he will run and cut and set screens.

He’s constantly moving and working.

And when he was on his hot streak against the Magic, he didn’t change his play style. He just upped his tank’s capacity to be able to do every necessary thing.

That requires a lot of will and stamina to accomplish.

So point-blank, the importance of having lots of stamina is so you can play hard on both ends of the hardwood for as long as needed.

You have to be able to run and cut, and defend. You have to be able to score while also getting your opponents to commit turnovers/miss shots.

And to be able to be hyper-energetic, you’re going to want to strengthen your muscles and increase your cardio.

How to Improve Your Stamina for Basketball

To improve your stamina and cardio, you’re going to have to do these three workouts:

Med Ball 200

This medicine ball workout will build muscle stamina in your entire body. You’ll have to do squats, slams, twists, and a bunch of core exercises.

It’ll burn and make you huff and puff.

But if you do it consistently and intently, after a few weeks, you’ll feel stronger and more dexterous while you play basketball.

Mamba Mentality Workout

This workout will strengthen your legs for defence, improve your cardio, and help you build willpower.

After doing this (again, consistently), you’ll be able to defend better for longer periods of time, have the cardio to play on both ends of the court, and have the willpower to push through when you’re fatigued.

The Stockton Drill

The Stockton Drill will test your cardio, footwork, ball-handling, and focus.

By doing this drill, you’ll build the stamina and focus necessary for playing at your best for long periods of time.

Final Thoughts

By doing these workouts, you’ll be able to build that doggedness mentality that VanVleet has and that fans have come to love him for.

Aside from mastering the fundamentals, stamina is the most important thing to possess.

Without it, you won’t be able to play hard for a long duration of time. With it, you’ll be able to play often and with the necessary intensity to do well and win games.

So, get your butt up and grind already!