6 Essential Lateral Agility Drills for Basketball
Basketball is Not Played in A Straight Line!
What is the fastest way to get from point A to point B. The obvious answer would be in a straight line. Yes, sometimes this is all you need to do, move quickly in a straight line. But when you play basketball, that is not how you normally must move on the court to be effective. Lateral movement and agility is used during every possession in basketball.
Let me briefly give you a few typical basketball scenarios that occur on offense and defense.
- Flaring or V cutting off a screen to catch and shoot a 3 point jump shot
- Weaving between defenders down the court and finishing with a Euro step at the rim
- Attacking with a double move off the dribble and finishing with a step back 3
- Making the offense zig zag the ball up the floor as you dog them defensively
- Going over and under multiple screens to deny their best offensive player the ball
- Sliding laterally to cut off the drive and taking a charge
These are not unusual movements in the game of basketball. You see examples of lateral agility during EVERY possession of a basketball game. These scenarios are typical movements in the game of basketball. Each one of the plays described above becomes easier for you the more agile your body is.
With more agility, you will become smooth on the court. Fans won't say you are AGILE on the floor, you will hear them say that you are SMOOTH (you will know that you look smooth because of your lateral agility!) Improved lateral agility is a tremendous benefit to any basketball player. It will help make you look smooth and fluid on the basketball court. Ultimately it will help you make more plays!
Characteristics Of Agility
When you talk about agility you are talking about something that is complex. There are many different characteristics of what makes up agility. Some of those characteristics include:
If you are looking to improve your lateral agility and athleticism, make sure you are doing a workout that is designed specifically for this. Don't guess about what to do! Follow a program that has exercises specifically designed to improve lateral agility such as The Cody Roberts Athletic Development Program.
Experts like Cody Roberts have researched exercises and have designed programs that are research based to benefit athletes of all levels.
6 Essential Basketball Agility Drills
1. Shuffling Scoop – This exercise focuses on having a wide stance and staying low to the ground. It puts you in a great athletic position for quickly moving laterally. By keeping your chest up and heels apart, your lateral agility will improve with practice.
2. Single Leg Lateral Leap & Hold – A great exercise for developing lateral power and control in each leg. This exercise focuses on creating maximum lateral force while helping your body learn to manage that force with the opposite leg. This is a progressive drill. As you get comfortable with the drill, challenge your body more and more with each rep that you complete.
3. 2-4-6 Shuffle With A Stick – With this drill, you are working on perfecting acceleration and deceleration mechanics. It will challenge your balance and control while allowing for reactivity in the drill. Each time you come to a stop (stick), make sure you reset to the proper position (low, wide, toes pointing forward) in case you are off a little each time you come to a stop.
4. 1-2 Crossover & Stick – Excellent drill for learning to accelerate and decelerate quickly, covering as much ground as possible. Also working on turning the hips and maintaining control through the torso. Start slow with this exercise and gradually add speed.
5. 2-4-6 Reactive Shuffle – You are now working on applying technique with maximal intent, focus and speed. Throughout this drill you need to be quick, as well as keep your feet apart.
6. Partner Mirror Shuffle - This drill challenges your reactive lateral movement. Make sure to keep your feet wider than your knees as you mirror the lateral movement of your partner.
Lets Get Uncomfortable
Being low and wide is key to lateral agility. Being low and wide is an uncomfortable position for most athletes. The positions that these drills put in you will make you feel uncomfortable... at first. The more you perform these exercises, the more comfortable you will get in these uncomfortable positions.
More Agility = More Success
Agility helps performance in activities that require quick change in direction while maintaining balance, speed, strength, and body control. It is an important aspect in many sports. Good agility can translate into better performance and faster response, and can give one an edge over their competition. And these equals more success for you as an athlete!!!
If you told me you were trying to improve your agility because you play a sport, it would probably take me 20 questions to figure out what sport you were talking about. Lateral agility is a key component to being successful at any sport.
I gave you several examples of the importance of lateral agility in basketball, but the same can be said about the importance of lateral agility in almost any sport.
Whether you are...
- Stealing bases in softball or baseball
- Sliding to dig a volleyball
- Shuffling through defenders to make a tackle in football
... lateral agility is key!
Why do great athletes make sure their off season workouts improve their agility?
The more agility you have, the more success you are likely to have in any sport. So even if you are working on your lateral agility to make more plays on the basketball court, ultimately it will end up benefiting you in any sport you play in the future.