A little shooting trick from Steph Curry’s trainer - How to get beyond game speed

This article is for advanced players. In most situations, it is not suitable for youth basketball players. Now, to the article...


Game speed isn’t good enough when you practice.

When the adrenaline of the game hits, your game speed during practice will not feel like ACTUAL game speed. It will feel slow. And this could possibly result in more turnovers and more missed shots.

That’s why you need to get beyond game speed in your workout drills. You need to practice faster!

And I’m not talking about simply getting outside your comfort zone. I’m not talking about making the uncomfortable comfortable. You should already be doing that.

I’m talking about taking it to another level.

You might be thinking… “Yeah. I have enough problems getting my players to get out of their comfort zone. How the heck am I going to get beyond that?”

It’s actually pretty simple... you trick them.



A little trick that Steph Curry’s trainer possibly uses to push beyond game speed

Here is something called contrast training (more about this below)...

You simulate the game-like action with resistance for a few reps. Then you remove the resistance and have them do the same thing. I also let them shoot after you remove the resistance.

This will literally trick the body into moving faster than it did before.

I'm not sure of the objective with the drill below with Steph Curry. However, this would be an example of contrast training with resistance bands. I have used this same drill to improve acceleration out of one-dribble jump shots.

Also, it appears Steph talks about this in an interview about his training.

But it’s, like, basketball-specific explosive movements and resistance. And I do all my moves that I do in games and even some new ones I try to come up with, with all that resistance on me. And then I take it off right after to kind of contrast my normal body weight.



Why this trick (Contrast Training) helps you accelerate faster than before?

Contrast training is when you load the athlete. Then immediately afterward, you remove the training aid and repeat the drill.

As a result, your muscles will fire more explosively like there is still resistance.

This increases speed because you have a neuromuscular response that recruits more fast-twitch fibers. The stuff that makes you run fast, move quickly, and jump high.

In other words, it tricks your body into moving faster and more explosively.

I have also done this with lateral movement, change of direction drills, and moving without the ball.

However, be careful! You can injure your athletes or accidentally make them slower. Read the tips below.


How to implement into a workout

Here are a few examples of different ways to implement contrast training into your workouts. You are certainly not limited to these examples.


One Dribble Pull Ups

If you want to practice one dribble pull ups, like above, you could do this.

1 - Dribble to right - three to four reps with resistance.

2 - Dribble to left - three to four reps with resistance.

3 - Remove resistance.

4 - Practice a variation of drills that work on one dribble pull ups.

You want to keep the reps low and rest high. Your focus should be on speed and quality, not quantity. You may only do four or five reps each set before we rest.


Dribble Move Shots

If you want to improve accelerating and shooting out of dribble moves, you could do something like this.

1 - Dribble move to right - three to four reps with resistance.

2 - Dribble move to left - three to four reps with resistance.

3 - Remove resistance.

4 - Practice drills with dribble moves.


Moving Without The Ball & Game-Like Shots

You can practice moving without the ball and emulate game-like cuts.

This will improve your speed and create more space to get more open shots. It will also get you accustom to moving faster, so the speed of the game will feel comfortable. Thus, you will make more shots during games.

For example, if you want to work on corner to wing cuts, you could do something like this.

1 - Cut from the corner to wing - three to four reps with resistance. No jumping or shooting.

2 - Remove resistance.

3 - Then practice corner to wing shots.



Tips for speed work and contrast training


  • Use weighted vest instead?

    As long as you follow the 10% rule below, you might consider using a weighted vest to lower the risk of injury by removing the bands.


  • Don’t jump and shoot with resistance.

    I don’t like to jump and shoot with resistance training. The elasticity of the band will bring players down with a greater force.

    When you shoot the ball, the athlete’s focus is taken away from landing, increasing the chance of a poor landing and injury.

    If we’re simulating a motion that typically leads to a shot, I have the athlete stop at triple threat.


  • Don’t overuse this training! 2x per week / 48 hours rest

    You should not do this more than twice per week. And you should give at least 48 hours of rest in between sessions. You need proper recovery to gain the benefits.


  • Need to move properly first!

    If you have poor movement mechanics, you need to improve that first. This training will just make things worse and increase your chance of injury. So if you have very little background on athletic development and movement mechanics, you might want to avoid this training or consult with a professional.


  • Suitable for advanced athletes with a high skill set… probably not for youth athletes

    Also, if you don’t have an advanced skill set, your time is probably better spent on other aspects of skill improvement.

    For example, if the athlete can’t make a one-dribble jump shot, can’t dribble down the court in three or four dribbles, can’t make a lay up, lacks footwork to make game shots, can’t make 50% to 60% of three-point shots unguarded, or doesn’t understand offensive and defensive concepts, your time is better spent working on those skills first.

    In most cases, this training is probably not suitable for younger athletes. You have to examine each situation. You might find a 13 year old who is ready and another 18 year old might not be ready.


  • Do one set every 10 minutes?

    There is also some research possibly indicating that the neurological effects that help you move quicker may subside after 5 to 10 minutes. So you might use this drill once every 10 minutes to keep the effect.

    If the athlete is fatigued, I wouldn’t do this training. To be safe, you may want to avoid it altogether in the second half of the workout.



And here are some more great tips from Vern Gambetta. If you’re interested in reading all of the tips on speed development, check out this podcast. It’s great stuff. It also has some additional resources to check out.


  • Do this when you’re fresh and near the beginning of a workout.

    “It should be at a time when your body is in a non-fatigued state. Therefore, plan your speed development emphasis at the start of the workout, following an easy workday or a day of complete rest.”

    “In your session, develop speed before speed endurance (microcycle and macrocycle).”

    “Speed work demands a high level of motivation and concentration.”


  • The 10% rule is critical. Don’t use too much resistance! You don’t want to train to be slow.

    “Remember the 10% rule. Never add more than 10% of bodyweight... A corollary to this rule is that you should never slow the movement down for a particular distance more than 10% slower than the athlete's best time. Greater than 10% in resistance or time will change the dynamics of the movement and speed development will be negative.”


  • Don’t do a bunch of reps and get enough rest. The goal is to move faster, not to fatigue the athlete.

    “6-8 reps is the optimum number for speed development work.”

    You also might take a little more rest than normal between reps and sets. This isn’t about quantity. It’s about quality. You’re working on speed development not speed endurance.


Well, we hope this gives you another tool in the toolbox to help you and your athletes raise their game to the next level.



Resources for Shooting and Workouts:

Elite Guard Camps

Shooting Camps

Attack & Counter Workouts - Sample and Customized Workouts




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Flo says:
3/14/2017 at 3:04:06 PM

Nice Article :)

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