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How to Warmup For Basketball In Half The Time



Guest Post From Coach Mike Mahon, CSCS, Professional Basketball Performance Consultant

Today we’re going to discuss one of basketball’s most important and misunderstood aspects of peak basketball player performance to make sure that you and your team get the edge.

You do want the edge, RIGHT?

Good, because that’s exactly what you’re going to get in today’s article my friend.

This way you’re razor sharp, and you can cut through the basketball b.s. that’s long been floating around your brain and the basketball world for WAAAAY too long, O.K.?

Now before you read the rest of today’s article, I need you to take a moment and engage in a few quick mental reset practices.

Introducing Your Mental Reset


To perform your mental reset exercise, simply leave everything you’ve ever been taught about warming up for basketball in the past behind you.

If you’re not sure how to do this, take a pen and paper and write everything that you ever learned about warming up, down and then cross it out one by one, and repeat out loud that:

“I’m leaving this behind me, and ready to get to the next level!”

This way, you’re preparing yourself mentally, and emotionally to receive a powerful solution that will make your basketball career as a player or coach more effective and efficient.

I’m serious my friend, take a moment and do it and when you’re done, be sure to move onto to the next phase of this article.

Patiently Waiting…

All done yet???

Great – you are now mentally primed for a great read and an even better warm-up…



Here’s The Problem With How You’re Warming-Up Right Now


There are plenty of problems with basketball warm-ups. Because your time is valuable, I’ve narrowed it down to -4- of the most common.

Problem #1  Players and coaches skip warming up all together.


Problem #2  Players and coaches who do warm-up consistently lack attention to detail, and intensity during the warm-up because they do not fully understand the purpose of it.


Problem #3 Players and coaches have limited time to actually warm-up and don’t know what to focus on in order to achieve a time-efficient, and productive warm-up session.


Problem #4 Players and coaches who do warm-up tend to focus on out of date warm-up techniques that should be used for cool down and relaxation rather than exciting the nervous system and preparing the athletes body, and mind for war on the floor.


…And those my friend are the problems.


I want you to know, that the 4 problems that I’ve shared with you today, are extremely common. If you or your team fall into any of these above scenarios don’t take it as a personal attack or dwell in a puddle of self-pity. Instead, embrace the challenge to persevere, grow, and add one more tool to your basketball development tool box. You’re at the Thrive3 website today for a reason, so take the following solutions as a 100% free gift from yours truly and the rest of the gang here at Thrive 3, O.K.?


Here’s 5 Quick And Easy Basketball Warm-up Solutions


Solution #1: Commit to having a daily warm-up for individual and team training sessions.


Solution #2: Set a concrete objective for each individual and team training practice session and realize that the warm-up phase is your foundation. Take 30-90 seconds and start your practice session with a quote, to draw yourself/team into a common theme/daily objective that correlates to what will be emphasized during the practice/training session. Don’t stop there though add an ‘explosion phrase’, that ties the theme of the day into each drill to help keep yourself/team mentally engaged.


-Ex Theme:


“Today, we’re going to focus on the small details and how every minute of practice used wisely adds to wins on the score board and wins in the game of life daily.”


-Ex ‘Explosion Phrase’ Spoken by Coach/Team Captain/Self:


“How do we win it?”


‘Explosion Phrase’ Response:


“Minute it by minute!”


Easy, right??


Best of all it’s super engaging and effective too!


Solution #3: Block off space for the warm-up.


One of the finer details in understanding an effective warm up is understanding exactly how much space you have to use for the warm-up.

When planning your warm-up, ask yourself the following questions:


  • Do I have a full court available for the warm-up?
  • Do I have a half court available for the warm-up?
  • Do I have a tight space like a locker room before practice or a game that only allows stationary warm-up exercises?
  • What exactly do I have to work with?


Once you know the answer to the above questions, the rest of it will take care of itself so that you can plan to thrive during practice/training!


Solution #4  Know How Much Time You Have To Perform The Warm-Up


If you’re going to have an effective warm-up and make it count it doesn’t need to be long to be effective.

The key is planning and laying a foundation for the warm-up with purpose so that something actually gets accomplished during it.

This way, you get the “inner”, and “outer” player primed for a challenging practice/training session.


Solution #5  Link Your Warm-Up To The Actual Session


A reason why players get bored/unfocused during warm-ups is because they do not see the transfer of the warm-up to the actual sport of basketball.

Make sure that the players have a clear understanding of how the warm-up exercises being used are going to give the players the competitive advantage to score more points, make quicker more explosive moves, play better defense, etc.


Because most players today don’t just take orders like players did decades ago.


Players today want to know the purpose of what they’re doing, and have access to actually research basketball information easier then ever before in history.

Here’s the bottom line…if you can sell yourself/team on the purpose the warm-up, and make your warm-up transferable, you’ll quickly discover that there is a higher probability of them buying in then they ever did before.

Don’t just take my word for it though, put it to the test, O.K.?

I’m willing to bet you’ll be thanking me later!



Introducing Your New Favorite Stationary Warm-Up

For the purpose of this article, I’ve decided to provide you with a quick and easy stationary warm-up.


Because it’s something that any player/team can use in the least amount of space possible and it will eliminate any and all excuses to avoid warming-up with out a purpose.


A) Start your practice/training session with “Solution #2” (see above).

B) Perform Coach Mike’s Official Stationary Warm-Up called:


“Maximum Warm-Up In Minimum Time”




Perform each exercise stationary one after the next as outlined, individually or as a team.


If in a team setting, consider setting up cones in a station format and have players move from one station to the next while repeating their ‘Explosion Phrase’ during each transition. This way they’re constantly communicating, constantly moving, and engaged.


Here’s the exercises


  1. Jog In Place (20 seconds)
  2. ‘Explosion Phrase’
  3. Squat chops w/ basketball/med ball (20 seconds)
  4. ‘Explosion Phrase’
  5. Lateral Lunge And Twist w/ basketball/med ball (20 seconds)
  6. ‘Explosion Phrase’
  7. Rapid Fire Hip Turns (20 seconds)
  8. ‘Explosion Phrase’
  9. Foot Fire (20 seconds)
  10. ‘Explosion Phrase’
  11. Single Leg Hop In Place (10 seconds left leg/10 seconds right leg)
  12. ‘Explosion Phrase’


(Repeat 1-2 times for best results and then move onto the practice/training session.)


Total Time Investment: Around 3-4 minutes per round of warm-up exercises including transition time and ‘explosion phrase’. Best of all only 2 minutes per round is actually spent on the warm-up movements meaning that if you’re on a time crunch your team/self can perform a single set of this warm-up in under 6 minutes and address the basketball-specific needs to prepare to be active and engaged to move effectively and efficiently in all 3 planes of motion on the court (sagittal, frontal, and transverse planes) during practice/training.

Pretty cool right?


Congratulations! You officially have a new basketball performance tool in your tool box. Remember though, without proper implementation it’s completely useless. My suggestion to you is to bookmark this article, and print it out or view it on your favorite mobile viewing device. Also feel free to share some of your favorite ‘Explosion Phrases’ that work best for you or your team with the me, and be sure to let me know how this warm-up saved you time, and simplified things for you, O.K.?

Until next time, don’t just ball…THRIVE!


Coach Mike Mahon, CSCS, Professional Basketball Performance Consultant

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