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Basketball Training Guide

Training tips and words of wisdom that can improve speed, shooting, and stamina for your hoops league.

Passing: Jason Kidd/ New Jersey Nets

At 34, Jason Kidd had one of his best seasons in 2006—07, joining greats Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson as the only players to average at least 13 points, 9 assists, and 8 rebounds per game. Kidd shares some tips on how to deliver pinpoint passes and achieve your personal tripledouble: strength, speed, and endurance.

"I always felt passing isn't so much working on passing as it is anticipation: What does the eye see, and can the mind relay that to my body? What does this guy like to do? Does he like to go right or left? If I see somebody is going backdoor, can I get it to him in stride so that he can catch and finish?"

Hand-Eye Coordination
"How do you work on sight and passing? Try to throw a strikeout in the [batter's] box. If you are playing strikeout with a buddy, if you see he doesn't like the ball inside, can you throw on the inside corner on the plate consistently? I think this is good for anybody with a son or daughter—can you throw pitches to an 8-year-old consistently where you know he or she can hit it? Can you throw the ball so it is in their sweet spot? That isn't a very easy thing to do."

In the Gym
"I do a lot of leg work—stepups with 30-pound dumbbells, leg press, calves and calfraises— and I do situps in between each set. I'm a big fan of Pilates for maintaining your strength. I can go an hour or 30 minutes to stretch and work on my flexibility and my abs. I don't run a lot, but I do try to swim five times a week. I also play one-on-one with a good friend not so much to beatng him but more to chase him, stay in front of him, andmove my feet."

Stamina: Kobe Bryant/L.A Lakers

Maybe the game's best overall player, Kobe Bryant has bulked up with a regimen that combines Olympic lifts with track work. He shares his secrets for playing with the same intensity each time you hit the court.

"You want to make sure you go into the upcoming season in tip-top shape. My conditioning comes from running, whether it's on a track, on a field, or on the court itself just doing suicides or sprints. Whatever your program is, the key is to push yourself to a level where you're hurting. You can't gain conditioning without going through it. You're going to have to feel some pain, you're going to have to feel like your lungs are burning, that sort of thing."

"If you watch me train, it doesn't look like I'm overexerting myself. It's an everyday thing. You have to abide by your program religiously."

In the Gym
"During the season, I focus a lot on weight training, building up my strength level as the season progresses. Clean pulls, deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, back squats, things of that nature. In the off-season, it's about getting stronger as well as more agile. Then, obviously, you want to get on the court and work on your skills. I shoot between 750 and 1,000 makes a day."