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Speed and Agility Training

Speed and agility training is very important in any sports training, especially basketball. But even though this site is for basketball training, these drills are great for any sports agility training.

These particular basketball drills are more geared toward lateral quickness. Why? Because both basketball offense and basketball defense require quick changes of direction to be played effectively.

Other sports also require changes of direction like football and hockey, so pay attention to your sports agility training!

As with every other aspect of basketball, remember to stay low. Staying low increases your muscle efficiency and overall speed and agility.

Yet another regret from my younger training years is that I only focused on my vertical. I wish they would have had these lateral power boxes when I was younger. They are great as an overall workout because not only can they help improve your cross-over and defensive quickness, but they provide a great cardiovascular workout as well.

I think that using the plyometric lateral power boxes may be one of the best lateral quickness training exercises I've found. Get the Lateral Power Boxes Here. (under "Speed/Power")

Speed & Agility Training Exercises

As noted in other sections of this site, a great exercise for helping you to stay low is the wall sit:

Wall Sit

  • Find a wall with enough space in front of it that you'd be able to set a chair there and sit down. You're NOT going to use a chair, though.
  • Stand with your back toward the wall, about 2 to 2 1/2' away from the wall, then lean your back against the wall.
  • Now, keeping your back and head straight and still against the wall, slide down until your knees come to a 90° angle with the floor.
  • Hold this position (90° at the hips and 90° at the knees) for a set time or as long as you can.

You should basically be in a position similar to sitting in a chair, but without the chair. You will feel it mostly in the quads, but other areas such as the hips, will feel some strain as well.

Depending on your routine and abilities, you may shoot for holding the position for a certain period of time. An example may be 60 seconds when you first begin. As you develop more endurance, though, you will want to extend this time a great deal.

This exercise is a great start to your speed and agility training, but only that, a start. Continue on!

These drills should also be included in your speed and agility training:

The Finish Line
  • Hexagon Drill
  • Jumping Rope
  • Line Jumps
  • Dot Drills

Hexagon Drill
The Hexagon Drill is great for speed and agility training because you are going in 6 different directions (of course with "hex" implying 6-sided)

You will need enough space on a floor or exercise mat to have a hexagon with sides of approximately 24" each. It is not recommended that you do this on a cement court without additional support as there is no give. Exercise mats can be helpful in reducing the strain on your knees, back, and other joints. You can also use them in a number of ways.

Start in the center of the hexagon and jump to one side of the hexagon, then immediately jump back to the center. Proceed to all other sides of the hexagon. You can do this in order around clockwise, then counter-clockwise and either for a specific number of trips around the hexagon or for a specified amount of time.

For added difficulty:

  1. Increase the distance from the center to the sides (make the sides longer). Or,
  2. Have a training partner pointing in different directions for you to jump instead of going in order

Jumping Rope
Jumping rope can also help your speed and agility as well. Of course there's regular speed rope jumping, which can help your jump speed, but you can also use jumping rope in your sports agility training.

How can jumping rope be added to your speed and agility training? Simple, modify it so that you're not staying in one place. Jump side to side, in a square, and whatever other creative way you can think of that isn't just up and down.

Line Jumps
Line jumps are another great exercise you can add to your speed and agility training, and can actually be used to help warm up for other jumping exercises.

Use a jump rope on the ground (preferably not cement), the lines on the court, or the fold on an exercise mat as a line to jump across for each of the line jump exercises.

  1. Lateral Quickness Jumps
    Stand with your feet together, pointing parallell along the line. Jump quickly sideways over the line and, upon landing, jump back across sideways. Repeat this at as fast as you can for a specified number of jumps or amount of time.

    For Added Difficulty: Jump with just one foot, but remember to repeat the exercise with each foot.

  2. Perpendicular Line Speed Jumps
    This exercise is just like the Lateral Quickness Jumps, except this time you are jumping over and back the line while facing it perpendularly. In other words, point both your feet toward the line and, feet together, jump forward over it and then backward over it as quickly as possible. Repeat this for a specified period of time or number of repetitions.

Dot Drills
Have you ever seen five circles 2X1X2 off on the baseline or sideline of your local gym's court? Wondered what they were for? They're for basketball footspeed or speed and agility training.

Of course, not all gyms have this available, so if they don't, you may need to find a dot drill mat or make one of your own using an exercise mat (perhaps the other side of your hexagon drill mat thay you've made). Two dots on the top, one in the middle, and two on the bottom. Basically make a rectangle with the two top and two bottom circles and place another circle in the center.

  1. Figure 8 Dot Drill
    This drill is great for speed and agility training because it is designed for quick changes of direction.

    Start on the center dot with both feet together, keep them together and jump quickly dot to dot. Follow this order:

    Get an exercise mat for all of your jumping exercises to save your knees, then throw your own dots on it or this dot drill mat on top to perform these dot drill exercises.

    1. Top Right
    2. Top Left
    3. Middle
    4. Bottom Left
    5. Bottom Right
    6. Center
    7. Repeat

    For Added Difficulty: Do the drill on one foot, then repeat with the other.

  2. 3-Dot Dance
    This dot drill resembles some early 90's dance steps such as the Hammer Dance and possibly Vanilla Ice (I didn't pay that close attention to how their feet were moving at that young age, but I'm just saying).
    You're only going to be using the bottom two dots and the middle dot for this drill.

    1. Start with your right foot on the bottom right dot, and your left on the bottom left dot.
    2. In one motion, move your right foot to the center and your left to the bottom right dot.
    3. Go back to the starting position (both feet on respective bottom dots).
    4. In one motion, do just the opposite of step 2. Move your left foot to the center dot and your right to the bottom left dot (in one motion).
    5. Repeat for specified time or repetitions.

    Of course, this should be done with as much speed as possible and as little time between jumps/position changes as possible.

Other Ideas
Check out the defensive conditioning drills such as the figure eight (not to be confused with the figure 8 dot drill) and defensive slide drills.

It may sound strange, but if you're into video games, get yourself Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) as well. It can really help with your footwork. I think I saw a preview for a football movie where the coach has a player using it to improve footwork.

SPARQ Agility Web System also has some great speed and agility training products, like the Agility Webs on the right. And Amazon has a number of different products that can help improve your speed & agility (some of my suggestions highlighted below). But, I know not everyone can afford something like that. Take a look, though, these can be very effective when used with some of the drills above or with the training DVDs some come with.

If you can't afford some of these speed and agility training aids, don't worry, use the free or inexpensive speed and agility training exercises I've provided for you above...there will be more coming soon!

Basketball Conditioning.
Basketball conditioning ideas that include defensive drills designed for lateral quickness.

Top Basketball Exercises
More Training to Imporve Your Athletecism, including speed and agility.

GNC Live Well

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