Speed Drills for Basketball: Get Faster On Court in 3 Weeks

STACK Expert Bill Rom outlines a three-week program of speed drills for basketball players that's designed to help them move fast in every direction.

Basketball Speed Training

To succeed in basketball, you need power, explosiveness and strength. But all these mean little without speed. You need more than just straight-line speed, though—basketball is played at all angles, and your speed should be developed with that in mind.

One of the biggest mistakes athletes and coaches make is thinking that speed and conditioning work are one and the same. You must train quickness and agility at near maximum levels. Workouts should be intense and explosive with complete recovery before you begin again.

For example, with Wind Sprints, you sprint down the court, turn and sprint back. If you rest for only 10 to 15 seconds and go again, you will build your endurance but not your top speed. When training for speed, you need to rest for at least four times longer than it takes to complete the set. Minimum rest for a five-second sprint, for example, is 20 seconds before you run again.

Basketball isn't played in a straight line. Your speed training should reflect that; mix up your methods. L-Drills, 5-10-5 Agility Runs and Speed Ladder Drills are all valuable to improve lateral speed and quickness.

Here is a three-week preseason training protocol for basketball speed and quickness. This will improve your performance and get you ready for tip-off.

Do this basketball speed program before practice or a strength training session. Don't skip the warm-up.

Warm-up (do before every session)

  • Jog to half court, backpedal back - 3x
  • Shuffle to half court, shuffle back - 3x
  • Drop-step skip to half court, jog back - 3x
  • World's Greatest Stretch - 4x each side
  • Knee Hug - 6x each side
  • Leg Cradle - 6x each side
  • Inchworm - 8x
  • Quad Stretch - 6x each side
  • Lateral Lunge - 6x each side
  • Plank - 30 seconds
  • Single Glute Bridge - 10x each Side
  • Active Straight Leg Raise - 10x each side

Week 1

Athletic Base Hold - 3x30 seconds

Inline Lunge Chop and Lift (with Basketball) - 3x12 each side

Ankle Mobility - 3x8 each side

Speed Ladder Circuit

  • 1 foot in each box - 2x
  • 2 feet in each box - 2x
  • Lateral 2 feet in each box - 2x

Half-Court Sprints - 5x

Shuffle - baseline to foul line and back - 6x

Week 2

Vertical Jump - 3x5

Standing Inline Chop and Lift (with Basketball) - 3x8 each side

Ankle Mobility

Speed Ladder Circuit

  • 2 feet in each box - 2x
  • Lateral 2 feet in each box - 2x
  • Icky Shuffle - 2x
  • 5-10-5 drill - 4x

Sprint to Lateral Shuffle - 5x

Week 3

Double Contact Jump - 5x3

Reverse Lunge with Rotation (with basketball) - 5x5 each side

Ankle Mobility

Speed Ladder Circuit

  • Lateral 2 feet in each box - 2x
  • Icky Shuffle - 2x
  • Cross over and stick - 2x

Mirror Drill. Follow partner's movement and stay within a required distance - 5x5 seconds on offense and defense

Backpedal to Sprint, with Visual Cue. Each athlete starts on one end of the court and backpedals and shuffles in the direction coach points. On cue, the athlete breaks down and sprints back to the start - 5x

I recommend you do these workouts two to three times per week in conjunction with regular strength training. They will improve the carryover for your lifting and increase your speed and quickness in the fastest time possible.

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