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Basketball Speed Training

Basketball Speed Training - Quickness Training
The unique combination of agility, speed and power that a basketball player requires poses a unique challenge for the coach. How does one create a basketball speed training program that teaches the athlete to accelerated and maintain maximum speed while also recognizing that this athlete will have to stop on a dime and potentially pivot his entire weight in the exact opposite direction?

One of the most amazing things about basketball is how players that top the scales for height, men and women often well over six feet tall, can move in such precise, quick and concise movements that most ordinary people (much closer to the ground) would find difficult, if not impossible.

An unusual training problem, to be sure. For decades, if not centuries, track athletes have been perfecting the art of speed training and quickness. Track runners, however, don’t generally face the added challenges of both agility and leverage. Therefore, the successful basketball coach must combine tried and true speed and quickness training with agility and height leverage training to create the optimal basketball speed training workout.

To start, sprints from one end of the court to another are both an excellent athletic testing device as well as a training drill. Athletes should start from a completely upright position, sprint to one end of the court, quickly change directions at the end of the court and sprint back. This drill will not only improve speed, but also quickness, or the measure of time between the stimulus to go and the body’s response.

Next, an excellent drill to begin training the basketball athlete for increase agility is the carioca drill. The athlete will make his way laterally across the court, bringing one foot in front of the other and then behind it for a challenging variation of a lateral shuffle. One he reaches the end, he will perform the carioca drill back to the starting position, leading with the opposite leg. Coaches will also want to test and train their athletes for backwards agility, since this skill often comes into play during game time.

For lateral agility, coaches can set up cones alone the sides of the court and instruct their players to move laterally and diagonally across the court from one cone to another as quickly as possible until they reach the last cone. Lateral stability is a surprisingly undertrained skill, especially considering how often it is actually required in sports.

Plyometric training will give the basketball player a base of function power to aid in quickness and also to aid in jumping leverage. Recommended drills for basketball players include plyometric skips (skipping with exaggerated height) up and down the court, two legged and one legged plyometric hops and, once the athlete has mastered the others and is ready to progress, challenging plyometric lunge hops and squat tuck hops.

As in any program, these drills should be proceeded with a warm-up and followed with dynamic and static flexibility work. Careful attention must be paid that each athlete is working at his or her potential, but also maintaining proper form and exertion levels.


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