Lately I have heard from a few people that it is unnecessary for young basketball players to do any speed and agility, strength and conditioning or skill specific training, and what counts the most in their development is just basketball team practice - running X's and O's multiple times per week.
In this post I'll talk about my opinion about it based on my Masters Degree thesis - yes, I have a Masters Degree. A few times I was told that since I do basketball for a living I must be uneducated :)
My masters thesis was about correlation between a physical fitness level and game performance based on a study conducted over a duration of a whole season on one of the youth teams in Poland.
Prior to the season I conducted a physical test on the team with a use of the International Physical Fitness Test.
Later on, I had followed their game performance over the whole season (almost 30 games) and put all the numbers into Excel sheets, along with the IPFT results. After a few weeks of crunching all the numbers with math formulas that I still don't understand, the results were clear and pretty obvious.
All the red boxes show very high correlations, the orange boxes show medium correlations, and clear boxes - no correlations at all.
The tables shows pretty clearly that it is extremely important for young athletes to not only play pick up games all day, or run offensive sets endlessly, but strength training is a crucial part of their development.
There is a 100% correlation between agility and basketball efficiency (Eval.)!!!
As educators our goal should be not to win games this season, but to set our players for a long lasting success in the future!
Yes, if you run X's and O's endlessly in the practice you might win a couple extra games, but all you're doing is creating a set play running machines and not athletes.