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Best Basketball Agility Drills

By Kaitlyn Fedor

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If you want to know how to get better at basketball, you might be surprised to learn that working without the ball may actually benefit you the most. Basketball is a fast-paced, dynamic, and aggressive game, which makes agility a critical component of successful basketball programs. The ability to change direction quickly while maintaining balance and speed is crucial to both offensive and defensive success. Our basketball training camps always include these drills to improve offensive movement and defensive coordination. Successful basketball players work on agility as much as they work on shooting. It's a skill that needs to be developed consistently and can be done anywhere, whether at home or in the gym. Keep reading to learn how to improve your agility.

Line Drills

Line drills require no setup and are easy to learn, making them great for beginners. While each drill varies slightly, the motion is always rapid movement across a line. In forward and backward line hops, players rapidly jump both feet over the line in a forward and backward motion. Side-to-side line hops, also known as ski drill, are performed the same way except the movement is side to side over the line. For X hops, players straddle the line and hop their feet across so their legs cross, then hop back out. Muhammad Ali line shuffles are performed by standing behind a line, then quickly stepping across the line with one foot, then the other, then back across with each foot. In each drill, the movement is repeated as quickly as possible while maintaining accuracy.

Cone Drills

Cone drills are an excellent way to improve agility. In our basketball clinics, we use cones to target bursts of speed and quick direction changes. Cone drills are helpful for working on a variety of movements, such as sprinting, backpedaling, and defensive slides.

Ladder Drills

A speed ladder is another great tool for working on agility. If you don't have a ladder, you can tape an area of the floor off to resemble a ladder. Rapid movements through the ladder can help improve speed, coordination, and body awareness. Just like line drills, ladder drills should be completed as quickly as possible while maintaining the accuracy of foot placement.

Agility can also be targeted in drills that combine the speed ladder and cones. An example would be to do hopscotch through the ladder, then sprint to the first cone at half court and move straight into W drill by alternately sprinting and backpedaling between the remaining cones. Incorporating a variety of agility drills prepares players with the speed and coordination to respond quickly and successfully to any of their opponent's moves.

Integrating agility drills into basketball skills training sessions is critical for overall player development. We emphasize the importance of agility in our basketball clinics and camps, but it's something that must be worked on consistently. We hope these drills are helpful in continuing your training at home, in the off-season, or during team practices.