How Long Do NBA Players Practice A Day?

On May 7, 2002, soon-to-be Hall-of-Famer Allen Iverson had one of the most memorable sports moments in recent memory.

The funny thing is that it didn’t happen on the hardwood floor. Instead, it happened in front of a microphone while he was ranting about one thing – practice.

So, how long do NBA players practice a day that AI would detest it wholeheartedly?

According to sources, the average practice of NBA players is between two to four hours per day during the season but may be more during the off-season. The practice may include variations of shooting, drills, scrimmages, and coaching instructions.

Let’s look at how NBA players spend their time practicing.

How Long Does an NBA Player Train a Day?

NBA Players are the best basketball players in the world, and that didn’t happen overnight.

It is a long process that starts when they’re young until they reach the pros and beyond. A particular habit required for the best of the best is to practice.

According to an ESPN interview with Jalen Rose, who was the 2000 Most Improved Player of the Year and a 13-year NBA veteran before moving to basketball analysis upon retirement, the average NBA practice will take around 2.5 hours, but that is not the whole story.

The two and a half hours of practice is only the time spent on the floor. The actual time you spend at the facility may last four to five hours.

The added time is for physical treatments and conditioning, film study, and especially spending time with teammates in the locker room to build team chemistry.

Does the Length of Practice Improve a Player?

Players practicing at a gym

Absolutely! The length of the practice for NBA players is critical because it builds up the strength and mental toughness needed to be or stay on top of their games.

The best players in the league are also usually the hardest workers on their team.

Besides the length of practice, it is also essential to include practice quality.

Elite athletes, especially the best of the best, don’t want to waste their time, so they hire personal trainers to help them be in their best shape.

Think of the best players in the game’s history, and it is impossible not to think about the superstars with almost the same work ethic – the 6-time NBA Champion Michael Jordan and 5-Time NBA Champion Kobe Bryant.

Do the Best Players Still Practice?

In the documentary, The Last Dance, it was revealed just how hard Michael Jordan would train.

Even while filming for the movie Space Jam, 12 hours, six days a week, he still managed to squeeze in five hours of practice, which only proved to be essential as he won the MVP and the championship during the following season.

Another player known for his intensity in the game and practice is the late Kobe Bryant.

He was known to refuse to pass the ball to players who won’t work as hard as him, which soon developed his ball-hog image.

However, according to Phil Jackson – the only coach to handle MJ and Kobe – Kobe modeled a lot of his behavior from Michael Jordan but stepped it up a notch in practice.

Bryant was known to practice six hours a day, six days a week, proving to be a defining factor for his career.

How Many Times a Week do NBA Players Train?

Miami Heat practice at Aderholt Fitness Center 2010-09-28 2
Miami Heat practice at Aderholt Fitness Center 2010-09-28 by SRA Sheila deVera

The number of times NBA players train in a week differs during and off-season.

During the Season

NBA teams usually play around two to four games weekly during the season. This means they have less time to practice hard because they also need time to rest and recover from their previous games. They also need to fly and travel from one city to another while on road games.

However, even with the restraints and the busy timeline of the season, NBA players, especially the stars, would still train up to five days a week, but with limited hours and more strengthening and conditioning.

Rest has also been a crucial part of players’ routines. That is why many would include naps in their training days to give their body more time to rest and recover.

During the Off-Season

On the other hand, the off-season is when players spend more time in practice than anywhere else.

Most players who have breakout seasons the following year spend up to six days a week and five hours in practice during the off-season.

They also usually hire private coaches and mentoring sessions to improve their game further and prepare their bodies for the upcoming season.

Also, during the off-season, teams hold training camps for their players to select the 15 that will be included in the roster. During this time, teams have two practice sessions every day that lasts upwards of three hours.

Do NBA Players Practice on Game Day?

During the game day, players still spend some time on the court, but not at the same intensity as the actual game.

There are usually shootarounds in the morning for players to familiarize themselves with the court, especially when playing road games.

On the other hand, some players would not think about basketball altogether before the actual game to help themselves relax for the actual game. In an interview, Klay Thompson said he would play with his Nintendo before a game while avoiding watching basketball.

Another shared secret in the NBA is that players spend a few hours’ naps before the game to help them prepare and recover. 2x NBA MVP Giannis Antetokuomnpo naps for 2 hours and 45 minutes after the morning shootaround and lunch.

Since NBA games are often played later at night, the mid-day slumber helps their body to adjust.

How Long Are NBA Warm-Ups?

NBA All-Star 2022 Practice Cleveland (51915384839)
NBA All-Star 2022 Practice Cleveland by Erik Drost

After arriving in the arena in preparation for the game, players often spent a couple more hours on additional warm-ups on the court, followed by dressing up and game preparation.

After getting dressed, players would return to the court less than an hour before the tip-off to perform pre-game warm-ups. It will include shooting practice, layups, and free throws.

What do NBA Players do During Off-Days?

NBA Players are given a day off per week during the season to spend on themselves and their families. They can use this time for rest and recreation and take some time away from basketball.

But some players use this time for active recovery and maintenance to fully rest their bodies before returning to court the next day.

While some players still sneak into the facility for a few more hours of practice, strengthening, and conditioning.

NBA Players’ Daily Routine

NBA Players are the best basketball players in the world and deserve to be in the league, but that is because they worked hard for it. Their daily routines will also show that they are dedicated to their work.

Here is the common daily routine of an average NBA Player during the game day:

1. Waking up

Typical NBA Players usually wake up from 8:00 am to 9:00 am.

2. Breakfast

Breakfast is from around 8:30 am to 10:00 am. Players would eat their breakfast depending on their prescribed diets. Some eat light, while others eat heartily, and some opt to eat fruits.

3. Morning shootaround

After their breakfast, players will go to the stadium to practice for two hours in the morning, usually from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.

4. Lunch

Lunchtime follows the shootaround, where they eat with their teammates from around 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm. They also discuss game strategies they will use in the night’s game.

5. Personal Time and Nap

After eating their meal, players will spend the next few hours for themselves to rest and relax.

Many would spend the next few hours napping. This extends up to 4:30 pm.

6. Going to the stadium

Players will go to the stadium from around 4:30 to 5:00 pm. The distance from their hotel to the stadium is usually a 15-minutes travel time.

7. Arrival and warm-ups

Upon arrival at the stadium, players would perform another hour of warming up and conditioning before returning to the locker room.

8. Pre-game preparations

During this time, players will change into their uniforms, eat and rehydrate, use the restroom, and perform pre-game routines to calm their minds in preparation for the game.

Team meetings will also be held during this time.

9. Pre-game warm-ups

Once dressed, players will perform their final warm-up, including shooting, layups, free throws, dribbling, and more.

10. Game Time

Once the game starts, it will take about 2.5 hours to more than three hours of intense, high-level basketball from the best players in the world.

11. Post-game

After the game, some players will get interviewed before returning to their hotels to eat dinner and finally rest.


NBA Players became the best not because of their sheer talent but, most importantly, their hard work.

Two to four hours of practice per day may look short, but the intensity and focus they perform during the game make all the difference.

Imagine if Iverson became keener on his ‘practice,’ then maybe he may have won a ring or two.

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