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3 Drills on How to Improve Your Lateral Speed

3 Drills For Lateral Speed

Lateral Speed can be a game changer when it comes to your success as a basketball player, but this skill is often overlooked. People tend to focus more on being explosive and powerful and neglect how speed can improve your overall performance. Learning how to properly train in a way that works on all these skills is important as you grow as an athlete. A big mistake a lot of novice basketball players make is thinking that speed work and agility work are the same when there are key differences between the two. Agility is the capability to accelerate, stabilize and change directions at various tempos whereas speed work focuses on moving your body one direction, in this case laterally, as fast as possible. If your goal is to advance your game and grow as an athlete, we recommend implementing speed specific work into your training routine! Here are three lateral speed drills commonly taught at our Nike Basketball Camps.

  1. Full Court Sprints: Implementing full court sprints into your regimen three to four times a week will give you the most bang for your buck if you do them properly. Start on one baseline of the court and sprint as fast as you can to the opposite baseline. We highly recommend keeping a record of your time for each sprint to measure improvement. It’s crucial that your rest time between sets is at least four times longer than it takes you to complete the set. The goal here is to perform at your highest ability each set, not build endurance, so take your time and give it 100% each set.
  2. Banded Jab Drill: This drill will require a resistance band to be placed around both ankles, stand in an athletic basketball position with your knees bent and your legs shoulder width apart. Next, step forward using your right leg as quickly as possible and repeat 10 times. Using the same foot, step out diagonally 10 times. Repeat on your left leg. The band will increase the resistance between your legs utilizing the fast-twitch muscle fibers allowing for quicker performance when taking that explosive first step. Once completed, take the band off and perform the same drill, you will be able to feel how much quicker you’ve become.
  3. Defensive Slides: If you want to be quicker laterally, you need to train in lateral positions. Defensive slides down the court are an excellent place to start. Standing on the baseline facing sideways, bend your knees, extend your arms out and keep your feet wide apart. As you progress down the court focus on staying low, keeping your hips back and exploding off your back foot quickly. Down and back 10 times about 2-3 times a week will yield noticeable results that will carry over into game play.

Check out more basketball drills alike this one and learn more this summer at a Nike Basketball Camp!

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