A centre is the position with the largest profile on the basketball court. Centres tend to be taller and heavier players, capable of producing more strength per unit of time but with less capacity to tolerate sustained effort over time (both aerobically and anaerobically) (Puente et al., 2017; Pojskić et al., 2015). Find out more in this Training Guide for Centres.
How should I train a Centre?
Seen in perspective, the centre position seems like the “least fit” one, right?
These players cover less in ground, in total and relatively, they endure less effort, they jump the same as other players, despite having more power, so for practical purposes there is no difference. Are the centres inferior?
Not at all!
«You get the ball and put it inside without bouncing»
…I’ve heard it said a thousand times over.
Centres today are exceptional players. They’re not limited to the ‘5’ function, but can also be an excellent 4. How can they adapt to this new position? With manual mobility skills, with changes of rhythm and direction, making accelerations and being able to cope with any position on the court.
The fact that nowadays the centres are more “multifunctional” does not mean that we should give up the classic centre position. That big centre that was placed inside the zone to fight with the defenders and to sink the ball in the basket.
With all this, we could say that a basketball centre should be training like a rugby player.
How can I make my centre stronger?
Centres are the players who will benefit most from all the gym sessions for basketball players I’ve been looking at.
The demands of the centres are different to those of other basketball positions and, as such, their training must be based on adapting the player to those demands, which are:
- More power and explosivity.
- More strength to cope with player contact.
Combined with a reduced need to tolerate effort.
From this point of view, it seems logical that we shouldn’t be training a centre as we would a small forward, right?
The truth is that, in fact, they should train the same, or at least use the same structure, although the importance and prevalence of one type of exercise over another will depend on the position.
- Small forwards should carry out more demanding training on a metabolic level, with greater distances and running intensities; and they shouldn’t forget about strength training either.
- Centres should perform more demanding neuromuscular training with higher loads and speed of contraction, without forgetting resistance training either, both aerobic and anaerobic.
How do we do it?
Through the frequent implementation of exercises working with high loads thanks to the action of a large amount of muscle mass
Those most used in equipment are
In general training, squats and its variants.
Specific training I: a clean with different attachments.
In specific training II, plyometrics with loads.
Have a look at the specific exercises carried out by today’s NBA centre Willy Hernángomez, in his previous spell at Real Madrid.
One potential system:
- General Training (3 weeks)
- a. Week 1 -> Touch and Go 90º Squat -> 6×8
- b. Week 2 -> Globet Squat Full-ROM -> 4×12
- c. Week 3 -> Explosive Concentric Pin Squat -> 3×6
2. Specific Training I (4 semanas)
- a. Week 1 -> Hang power clean unilateral kettlebell -> 4×8
- b. Week 2 -> Dumbells Power Clean -> 10x EMOM 10’
- c. Week 3 -> Bar Power Clean -> 5×4
- d. Week 4 -> Bar Full Clean -> 7×3
3. Specific Training II (2 semanas)
All these exercises are proposed as the base for strength/power training, but they must be complemented with other exercises that serve to build up an effective volume according to our needs at each stage:
- At the general stage: up to 30-25 sets.
- Specific I: up to 20-22 sets.
- Specific II: up to 15 quality sets.
To this we have to add aerobic/anaerobic training schemes, such as those used in point guard training guide. Less? Maybe, but we shouldn’t forget about them.
If you’ve already read some of the other guides I’ve published, you’ll realise that I don’t like to train only in isolation and expect players to be able to transfer these exercises to their game automatically.
I’ll give you an example…
- We place 3 defenders at the limit of the zone: one of them over the free throw zone, and the other two on the arc line, on the left and on the right; so that they form a triangle.
- We place 2 attackers with a ball that will act as passers and nothing else; on the edge of the free throw line, outside the three-point line.
- We place an attacker without a ball on one of the defenders, and he’ll ask for the ball.
- This attacker has to try and receive the ball (the defender needs to stop him).
- Once he receives the ball, he has to try and shoot; but the other defenders can (and should) block the layup, they CAN’T pressure the ball, that can only be done by the defender associated with the player with the ball. But they can assist the defence in the layup.
- The player with the ball must try to get a basket, usually searching for contact with players and physical overlap, with a point of tactical intelligence.
- If the player shoots the basket, he moves to another of the 3 positions and asks for the ball again, in this case from the second passer.
- If the player misses the basket, he changes with his passer, who enters the attack.
- In the activity, the normal rules of the game apply.
And before long we’ll be at the level of Nikola Jokić. Are you ready?
- Jones, T. W., Smith, A., Macnaughton, L. S., & French, D. N. (2016). Strength and conditioning and concurrent training practices in elite rugby union. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 30(12), 3354–3366.
- Pojskić, H., Šeparović, V., Užičanin, E., Muratović, M., & Mačković, S. (2015). Positional role differences in the aerobic and anaerobic power of elite basketball players. Journal of Human Kinetics, 49(1), 219–227.
- Puente, C., Abián-Vicén, J., Areces, F., López, R., & Del Coso, J. (2017). Physical and Physiological Demands of Experienced Male Basketball Players during a Competitive Game. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 31(4), 956–962.