A team generally has an eight to nine-player rotation, which leaves a handful of reserves watching the majority of games from the bench. At the same time, these limited-action players have to stay in good enough shape to be able to contribute productively in practice and more importantly, come into a game and be effective at a moment's notice.
NBA teams generally have a workout regimen for players on game days who don't see a minimum amount of court time, say an average of at least 20 minutes. Golden State's director of athletic development Mark Grabow puts the reserve Warriors through a variety of pre-game drills designed to maintain their endurance while sharpening their basketball skills. Following is a typical workout, demonstrated by rookie guard Dean Oliver during a late-season road trip in Houston.
Drill #1 – Pick-ups with Sideline Run to Jumpshot
| Player is placed on one sideline in a ready, athletic position with the feeder (coach) about 3-4 yards in front of player. Drill begins with player sliding side-to-side as coach rolls ball at a high pace. Player slides laterally, picks up ball off ground and tosses underhand back to feeder. He then slides to the other side, as feeder rolls ball to that side. Player works for about 10-15 pick-ups.|
| || When coach yells, “Go,” player breaks out of low position from sliding and sprints to opposite sideline. Once sideline is touched, player turns and breaks off to the wing position for a pass from coach and wing jumpshot.|
| Have the player return to the starting position and repeat for a total of three sets of pickups always followed by a jumpshot. After sets are completed, have player go to foul line for recovery. After free throw, player repeats drill again.|
Drill #2 – Sideline-to-Sideline Touch Pass to Jumpshot
| Player starts on the sideline with the coach standing at the midpoints of both sidelines with a ball. Have player run sideline-to-sideline for 6-10 touches. Everytime player touches a sideline and turns back to next sideline, coach passes the ball quickly to player, who then passes it back to coach as he moves to next sideline. It is a quick “two-touch” pass between player and coach between each sideline touch.|
| After 6-10 sideline touches, player hits sideline, turns and breaks off sharply into the wing area for a pass from coach and jumpshot. After shot is taken player shoots free throws for recovery. This concludes one set. Player should perform 3-5 sets.|
Drill #3 – Baseline slides to Turnout Jumpshot
| Player stands on baseline at very edge of the free throw lane, facing the baseline. Player slides side-to-side hard for 10-15 seconds from the edge of the lane to the sideline and baseline corner.|
| On “Go” from the coach, player turns sharp and turns out in a banana shaped run out to the wing. Coach passes the ball to the player for a wing jumpshot. After shot is taken, player shoots free throws for recovery. This completes one set. Player should perform 4-6 sets.|
In his 13th season with the Warriors, Grabow is responsible for the team's conditioning, speed, strength, power development and flexibility programs. In addition, he oversees injury rehabilitation throughout the year and designs personalized curriculums for each player. He has also served as a conditioning coach at Pete Newell's Big Man Camp in Hawaii for the last 12 years.
Grabow has authored a book entitled "The On-Court 100," a training manual for basketball players of all levels and both genders. It features a variety of different on-court drills for every aspect of the game and can be purchased for $45 (includes shipping and handling). To order, please contact Grabow at 510-986-2269.