How effective are line sprints?

They are brutally exhausting and are hated by everyone: line sprints in basketball. But how effective are "classic" line sprints? Basketball expert Ramy Azrak clarifies you.

Line sprints, also called line pendulums, are often used in youth basketball as a punishment for undisciplinedness. Even in senior basketball, the line sprint is widespread among coaches and known as basketball-typical training exercise. A "classic line sprint", as it is often used in amateur basketball, usually takes over a period of more than 40 seconds with maximum sprint. Have you ever seen a basketball player walk over the basketball court for over 35 seconds at maximum speed?

Already in youth, an "oldschool line sprint marathon", as I like to call these torture runs, always felt like they would never stop. The seemingly endless track, which was to be mastered with "maximum speed", was not only a single uncoordinated rumbling in the last third of the track for me, because a controlled sprinting.

The "oldschool line sprint marathon"

This type of typical line sprint takes place throughout the basketball court. In the following I introduce the longest possible distance (224 meters), with which many a coach already tormented his players:

On command is started at the baseline. The players try to run at maximum speed all predetermined routes to touch the predetermined line (marker / hatch) to turn as quickly as possible and continue to sprint to the next line.

The first sprint goes to the 4-meter mark, where touches with hands the line on the ground and then running back to the baseline. After touching the baseline it then goes at the highest speed to the 8 meter mark and back to the baseline, etc.

GL - 4m - GL - 8m - GL - 12m - GL - 16m - GL - 20m - GL - 24m - GL - 28m - GL

Does this line sprint do anything?

First, it should be noted that every form of stimulus involves a biological adaptation. For example, when I climb a mountain with a heavy backpack on my back or run a marathon, physiological processes are triggered in the form of a supratrous stimulus in the body to which the body adapts. Placing the arm in a plaster, as a subliminal stimulus, also leads to an adaptation, as the arm becomes visibly thinner. The crucial question that arises is another: How effective is the stimulus?

The attraction that a player is exposed to in training should be effective. If the goal of improving the pace and explosiveness of a basketball player is set as a goal, then the basketball player should not complete any 200-meter or 400-meter sprint on the track. A basketball player needs short, fast sprints with frequent changes of direction for the competition, so that's exactly what training should do. A basketball player jogs or stands between the sprints. The "interval" described above is not an optimal stimulus for a basketball player.

There are good alternatives to the "suicide run"

A good alternative is the training of short sprints in several high-intensity intervals, such. B. GL - 2m - GL - 4m - GL, lateral sprints with command changes, reaction games and exercises with slide steps. The training sequences are based on the motto "less is more". High dynamics and intensity in the individual exercises increases the effectiveness for the competition. Of course, the condition in basketball elementary and basic endurance runs is important. But even more important for a basketball player are speed, speed, power and bounce. (Also read: diagnostics of sprint and jumping ability)

I would like to present a principle for trainers at the end of this article. Not only in terms of a line sprint, but in all exercises should be thought of by a coach, first of all consciously what is to be achieved with this exercise. Very good coaches do not even deal directly with the exercise, but in advance with the goal of the exercise or the entire workout and then consider which appropriate exercise is suitable for reaching the goal.

Ramy Azrak

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