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Fitness Tests for Basketball

Fitness testing is essential component of the physical development of a basketball player. Initially, the purpose of testing is to gather baseline data on the main fitness components such as speed, power, endurance and strength. This will help determine the athlete's strengths and weaknesses relative to the demands of basketball, and assist in identifying what training and activities are required to improve their game.

As with most team sports, there are many components of fitness that are important for success. In basketball, the various components of fitness are close in their relative importance. Having a very good aerobic fitness level is a very important attribute, and on the other hand, being very quick and agile is essential. 

The tests listed below are my suggestions for a basketball player, which reflect the all-round fitness requirements for basketball. I have also listed and described the fitness tests that are performed at the NBA pre-draft camp and as part of the Basketball SPARQ.

Aerobic Fitness

Aerobic fitness is a very important component of fitness for basketball. The shuttle run (beep) test would usually be the most appropriate test for testing a basketball team. The test should be performed indoor on the same surface that the game is played on. There are many other aerobic tests that could be conducted. You can find information on many other aerobic tests here.

basketball requires rapid and skillful movementsYou need to be fast and agile in basketball


Flexibility is important in terms of being injury free and being able to move freely around the court. The sit and reach test can be done for lower back and hamstring flexibility. Flexibility tests of other body areas that are used in the game would also be suitable.

Strength and Power

Vertical jump ability is very critical for basketball. The vertical jump test can be performed to measure leg power. The technique for the test may be changed to incorporate a step to be similar to the jumping technique used in the game. Strength and power tests should also be done to determine strength levels and to monitor strength changes in conjunction with training programs. Maximal strength tests for specific exercises should be conducted. 


Speed and Acceleration are very important in basketball. Most running in basketball is conducted over a short distance. Sprint time over 20m, with split times for the first 5 & 10m should be done if possible, though this usually requires timing gat to get accurate measurements.

Body Composition

Any excess body fat would affect the basketball player's ability to jump vertically, move freely around the court, and the extra weight will increase fatigue. Body fat can be measured using the skinfold method. If this is not available, monitoring body weight changes would give an indication of body fat changes, assuming no change in muscle mass.

Body Size

Body size measurements such as height, arm span and hand span are important for success in basketball. With junior athletes, these measures can be used for talent identification. More about body size for basketball, and changes in body size in NBA players.


The ability to quickly change direction is very important for basketball. In addition to a simple agility test, you could also incorporate a ball into the testing as all movement on the court is performed while dribbling the ball. The 505 agility test measures the ability to change direction 180 degrees. A 90-degree turn test would also be suitable for basketball.

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