Articles & Resources

Half-Time - What's Your Role?

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Feb 20, 2011 6:36:00 PM

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Recently I was asked about what to do during halftime to get the guys prepared for the 2nd half of play.  Currently I don’t do anything (stretching/warmup) as a team or for an individual unless they ask or there is evidence that something isn’t right.  

Prior to the game we shoot from the 90-60 minute mark and stretch at the 30 minute mark for 5-6 minutes at a good pace.  The rest of the time is to get shots up etc. 
My initial thought is to continue with our layup lines and possibly a more structured shooting drill.  I’ve thought about a team stretch but at this point, neurologically, they’re either turned on or not.  This would be our 3rd or 4TH STRETCH OF THE DAY if you include shoot-around.
What are your thoughts?  

• Strength & Conditioning Coach 


I have thought about this before too – after 20 minutes of play, how much cool down is involved during halftime? How long has a guy been sitting prior to the half? In that case, is static stretching the warm tissue better post halftime better than another dynamic motion (perhaps for guys who didn’t play as much). How much work is necessary to re-raise the heart rate? Lots of questions hard to answer.
Another interesting concept that I had discussed with my former Ex. Phys. Instructor at Georgia was having guys who played major minutes ride a bike easy for 3 minutes or so (even if they get into foul trouble and will sit for 10 minutes in the first half). That way your body chews off the lactic acid it just produced as energy and it doesn’t get to settle in the muscle. A great idea but hard to convince coaches and players that it would work.
As with most of the other coaches, I have found that we don’t have enough time – guys want to get shots up. I may address a specific player off to the side but coaches and players want shots to get a feel for the second half.

• Michael Schweigert, Northwestern University


At the high school level (I am at DeMatha) we have even less time… and usually return from the locker room with under two minutes on the clock… so I don’t do anything organized with the group.  We rarely have time for lay-ups… our guys just head over the bench to get ready for the 2nd half. If a particular player has an issue – I address it.
I give our guys a handful of Gummi Bears at half-time – quick sugar to refuel their energy stores… no different than Gatorade or the orange slices we all ate as kids at the halftime of soccer games!
I let the team split two individual size bags… so each player gets about 6-8 Gummi’s.

• Alan Stein, DeMatha High School


Great question! I have recently started a dynamic warm up right after our half time talk. Knee hugs, straight leg kicks, and anything else I could do in that amount of time. Since our rotation has been cut down I basically just have 7 to 8 guys going through this while everyone else is shooting.  One major issue is your Head coach. Will they give you enough time? I would like if the guys did get up a couple of shots before the second half, because we are here for a basketball game. So if you do have enough time before the second half starts I think it’s a great idea. If your coach just tore the team a new one and gave you 2 minutes to return to the court then individual stretching may be the best bet.

• Ben Kenyon, George Washington University



This is a good question and I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer.  It really depends on your situation and what the head coach will ALLOW you to do.  One thing is for sure, the outcome and performance by your team in the 1st half will probably determine what you may be able to do with the team during half-time (unlike the pre-game movement prep which is typically a structured routine).  If you are up by 10-20pts, you may be able to take the team through a “structured” movement/stretching routine (because the half-time talk may not be as long and psychologically, the head coach and players are feeling good).  However, if you are losing by 10-20pts, you may only get 2 minutes and the coaches and players may want to do some quick “on-court” shooting because their focus is strictly on the game and executing their on-court strategy.

Personally, I would rather have my players especially the starters go through some “position specific” on-court movement/shooting drills (regardless of the available time).  I want their focus to be strictly on the game and competing (personally, I don’t want to be a distraction).  If players have individual needs then I and the athletic trainer will address those issues.

• Ray Eady, University of Wisconsin



I couldn't have said it better….they need to get shots up and if individuals need to be stretched then I can take care of them – but it depends on the game.  Usually we'll head out with 2 or so minutes to go which isn't enough time to get loose again – they need more of a specific warmup….lay-ups, shots, etc.

• Brijesh Patel, Quinnipiac College




Minutes 15-10:

focus on rehydrating with Water and Powerade, and replenishing blood sugar levels. We use Solobars cut in half so guys can either grab one or two pieces. 

Minutes 10-5:

Coaches talk - address tactics and second half changes

Minutes 5-1:

Athletes return to court.  With the four minutes remaining, our guys jump into some "trigger" shooting attempting to get as many "game" shots up as possible.  I'll address any guys with personal stretching and some guys in the past have even jumped on a bike in order to re-break a sweat.

Minutes 1-0:

Coaches and Athletes huddle to address any last changes.

• Art Horne, Northeastern University

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