Centre Position Basketball Training Guide

Centre Position Basketball Training Guide

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.

I’ve already discussed all this in depth in this article. If you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to take a look.

Determinants basketball center

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!

Training center basket

And this has been a widespread error made for years by basketball coaches who took the least skilled and fattest kid and put him under the basket as a centre:

«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.

Basketball pivot dispute

These are players who must be trained to be ready for offensive and defensive physical contact, taking advantage of their physical superiority (anthropometric), to act as an immovable wall in defence and as a striker in attack.

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.

Center defending basketball

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 to train pivot basketball

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:

  1. General Training (3 weeks)

2. Specific Training I (4 semanas)

3. Specific Training II (2 semanas)

Training performance gym center

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.
With this progression we’ll be able, in 9 weeks, to improve power and overall ability to exert force per unit of time in our centres, helping them jump higher, run faster and be able to master more situations they’re faced with in a game.

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.

What else?

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.

Therefore, my suggestion is that during the training sessions some specific exercises should be done in order to integrate the strength training movements into the actual playing position of the centre.

I’ll give you an example…

Functional training basketball

  • 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.
With this we’ll be able to integrate that increase in strength and muscle power of the lower body in replicable offensive situations in a basketball game.

And before long we’ll be at the level of Nikola Jokić. Are you ready?

Let’s go!

Bibliographic References

Review of Basketball Training Guide: Centres

Characteristics of the position - 100%

How to train a centre - 100%

Load and gym work - 100%

Court exercise suggestions - 100%


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About Alfredo Valdés
Alfredo Valdés
He is a specialist in metabolic physiopathology training and in the biomolecular effects of food and physical exercise.
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