Breakthrough Basketball Newsletter:
The Larry-Luka Connection

September 9th, 2021

If you look at Luka Doncic and Larry Bird, you could argue that they're not the most athletic basketball players... the traditional sense of top-end speed, explosiveness, and vertical jump.

You would be correct.

However, basketball is not a track & field event or a weightlifting competition. The characteristics of athleticism in basketball are different.

But first, let me tell you a personal story to paint a clearer picture.

When we did traditional PE tests, I was never the best.

I couldn't jump the highest.

I couldn't lift the heaviest weights.

I wasn't even great at short sprints of 10m, 20m, and 50m.

However, I was respected by my peers as an athlete on the basketball court, so how could that be...

In PE class when we did shuttle runs, I was always one of the best.

When we ran yo-yos in basketball practice, I would consistently finish first.

So how come I wasn't the fastest or most explosive in those sprints...

But excelled in runs that involved changing direction?

That's because both the shuttle runs and the game of basketball heavily depend on different aspects of athleticism than top-end speed.

Aspects like...

  • The ability to STOP (deceleration) and change directions in a quick manner!
  • Then EXPLODE out in the first few steps (acceleration).

And if you can start and stop in almost any direction from a variety of body positions, that makes you even more effective!

Now let's imagine what you can do with this type of athleticism...

If you explode quickly on your first few steps, you create separation from the defense!

If you stop on a dime, you create separation from the defense!

Then, if you can quickly accelerate in a new direction after stopping on a dime, you can shake almost any defender.

This helped players like Luka and Larry become legendary offensive players. (Of course, their anticipation/IQ, hand-eye coordination, and skill sets are extraordinary as well.)

Just watch game highlights of Bird as he cuts, finds holes, and steps back. You'll see it.

It's true that every athletic development program and vertical jump program teaches you how to get more explosive.

But how many programs teach you how to improve your movement patterns, so you can stop (DECELERATE) on a dime?

If you can't stop on a dime, your first step speed and vertical jump greatly lose their value on the basketball court.

The ability to stop is one of the most overlooked aspects of athleticism.

This is precisely why D-1 Performance Coach Cody Roberts (Kansas, Iowa, Bradley) has sections in his Athletic Development Program that include...

  • Acceleration (Starting)
  • Deceleration (Stopping)
  • Reactive Acceleration and Deceleration (Starting and stopping based on reactions like the game of basketball)

This is the type of athleticism you need to become a high-level player!

You can also find three different workout programs based on whether you're a beginner, advanced, or don't have access to equipment:

  • Foundational 12-Week Program
  • Intermediate 12-Week Program (Extension of Foundational Program)
  • Advanced 12-Week Program for College / Professional Athletes
  • 9-Week Program with No Equipment Required

If you want to become "sneaky athletic" like Luka and Larry...

...then go to the following page to learn more:

All the Best,

- Joe Haefner
Breakthrough Basketball