Speed/Quickness Training for Basketball

A newbie question here, but I appreciate any responses:
I would like to know of some methods for improving basketball speed/quickness. Traditional methods have been the use of jump rope, ankle weights, and plyos. I would like to know if any other methods would help in improving short range speed.
My personal problem on the court is my initial first step on a drive to the basket. From a standing position, trying to beat a defender while dribbling a ball is something I have trouble with (especially against a shorter opponent). I think one of the factors that is hurting me is the fact that I’m 6’4 and my legs are very long (longer levers take more time to move). Although, I do have a decent vertical (30" standing) but my first step acceleration has remained one of my weaknesses. Can anyone give me some suggestions as to improving this area?

can you post these agility drills youre speaking of. thanks

As well as the selection of individual training tasks, you must think in terms of the overall program and the emphasis placed on different aspects of the game. In my opinion, basketball is a game of pure power, mixed with the need for reasonable aerobic conditionning. There is no requirement for special end at all, and work in the SE realm will adversely affect the required qualities.

i believe after i started doing a strength cycle and power cycle i have become quicker on the basketball court. My legs are stronger and i feel stronger.

You seem to have the tools to be quick, just not the mindset. You need to think more agressively than you do now and beat your man to his outside foot.


First step quickness is highly dependent on strength and speed-strength levels. I would try hitting the weights hard, especially focusing on the posterior chain. If you have someone who can show you how do do them properly, I would also think about incorporating cleans and snatches as well.

Finally, don’t neglect the skill aspect of beating a defender one-on-one. You often see a “slower” player beat a quicker guy in basketball simply by making a good fake or anticipating a defender’s reactions and using it against him. (Think Larry Bird!)


In Basketball, agility is the most important type of speed, more so even than power acceleration- sprinting type speed. the beutifull thing about agility is that it can be improved quicker than “pure speed”.
This is becuase agility is SO dependant on movement patterns and balance. You want a host of special agility drills to be in your arsenal of training. Even jump stops, followed immediately by “half pivots”, “full pivots” some in reverse, some forwards are fantastic for B-ball player. A number of footwork and agility drills should be done in the key aswell (or area the size of the key.) When I played basketball there were a number of players on the team that could out sprint me. However, when I started incorperating agility drills in to my personal program I started beating them to the basket! It was beutifull and quite shocking. I started doing things in the game that I had not even practiced simply becuase of strong moter patterns established form certain agility drills. It was effortless and required almost no thinking in the game. This brings me to a point mentioned in one of the above posts. In basketball especially, the more something becomes instinctive, the faster it will be. The confidance goes up with the speed and visa versa.

Well said, goose! :clap:

There are so many to choose from, it would be impossible to list them all. I’ll simply list and describe the drills that I did to improve the speed of my game. You can make up your own names for these drills.

  1. Jump stop series.

    One of the most important positions in basketball is the “ready” position. Stand, with bent knees with your feet reasonably wide apart. Slightly wider than shoulder width/ you should find your best spread. The knees are bent in a position that would allow you to jump up quickly if you had to. Your hands will be in front of your chest/diaphram area, a “ready to catch” position that you could immediately switch to a shooting position if neccesary. Your shoulders must be leval and facing square on. Your back must be upright and straight. This is the jump stop position and form this position, one can catch, pass, jump shot, turn, pivot or drive. This simple but effective position MUST be mastered as it is a FUNDAMENTAL body position from which the rest of your game will improve. You will shock yourself.

  2. Jump stop series.

A) run a few steps forwards, gentle jump of one leg and land PERFECTLY in a jump stop position. You must land with both feet at EXACTLY the same time. You must land IN the bent knee position, with hands in front of you, (as if ready to catch a ball) shoulders leval perfection. Honestly, I would be more strict than a dam ballet coach on this one. When you land there should be no more movement, you should just be in the perfect position, M.r. FREEZE. (note; the land is not from a hieght, you merely jump slightly forwards & land.)

B) Jump stop with reverse pivot.
The same as above, except, after you land, you pivot of the left foot, and swing around 90 degrees. When you swing around, you must stay the same hieght as when you landed. Shoulders/hips/knees all stay the same hieght, when you turn around, hands aswell. No deviation, you just reverse pivot 90 dgree and now you are facing the wall which was previously at right angle.

C) Same as above, but now you reverse pivot off the right leg instead. M.r Freeze is on your ass so get it right.

D) Jump stop with 180 degree reverse pivot. (of left leg.)

E) Jump stop with 180 degree reverse pivot. (of right leg.)

F) Jump stop with 90 degree forward pivot. (right pivot)

G) Jump stop, 180 degree forward pivot.
-(right leg/pivot)

H) Jump stop, 90 degree forward pivot. (left leg/pivot.)

I) Jump stop, 180 degree forward pivot.
(left leg/pivot.)

  1. “Jump & Touch”.

Touch the free throw line, turn, run, jump up and touch rim, land, run back, bend & touch free throw line, run back, jump & touch rim – As many times in 30 seconds as possible.

  1. Choose a marked point on the gorund, this drill can be done anywhere.
    Touch the point, turn, (AS you turn around to sprint the other way, bring the trail leg across yourself aswell as forwards to encourage whole body to turn quick.) Run to a marked point 10 meters away on the ground, touch it and run back, touch center point, run off in a differant direction (90 degree to the first run) touch point 10 meters away, run back etc… You keep going of in a direction 90 degree from the on before, so you are doing a “cross”. Do as much as possible in 30 seconds. TIP; Don’t always drive of the same initial leg, don’t always turn to left, or turn to right, when you turn around to sprint.

  2. Dynamic strength/agilty.

A) Draw a (roughly 2 foot across.)Hexagon, 5 sided shape on the ground. Stand inside it, then jump double legged to outside, immediately spring back in and immediately spring back out. When you spring back out, spring over the next side in the shape. Work your way round clockwise, fast, for 30 seconds.

B) Same as above, but now anti-clockwise.

  1. Key drill.

    Stand back left corner of the “key” area.
    Hold skipping rope in hand, if you don’t have rope, then imagine you have one.

Skip forwards, double leg hops, to end of key, now run SIDEWAYS, good knee lift/alternate legs whilst sturning rope. When you get to othe side of key, skip backwards, double leg hops, going in backward direction. When you get to back of key, run sideways again, whilst turning rope - back to where you started. 30 seconds,(More than one revolution) but make sure your form is nice.

  1. Step up series.

Choose a normal size step, the kind people walk up and procede with;

a) Right leg goes on, left leg goes on, right off, etc. running through it fast. 30 seconds.

b) Now left leg goes on first- 30 second drill.

c) Right leg goes on and when it lands on step, you then use your right leg to push your body upwarsds a bit more, then left leg lands on step, right leg returns to ground, left returns to ground, then left leg goes up first on to step, left leg then pushes your body upwards, then right leg lands on step, left returns to ground, right returns to ground, right back up etc. FAST for 30 seconds.

I know that the last drill in particular will develope your ability to suddenly change pace on the “drive”.