How to Change Direction and Speed in Basketball

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Basketball Drills to help you Change Direction and Speed

Written By Lamar Hull @ Google+

change of direction in basketball

At 5’9′ I had to find other advantages versus bigger players. My advantage was my speed and change of direction (a.k.a COD) in basketball. By being quick and having a sense of deception, I was able to compete with some of the best from an offensive perspective. One thing to note, I know this article is about having speed and the ability to change direction, but if you could only do one or the other, I would saying being deceptive is super important. Being able to change direction effectively will always keep your defenders guessing. Look at Steve Nash and John Stockton, two of my favorite point guards. Neither were super fast compared to some of the guards that we see today, but that didn’t matter when they played. Both could get their shot off when they wanted, get pass their defender, protect their dribble amongst the best defenders, and set their teammates up with an assist. This is because of their basketball IQ and their ability to utilize the speed that they had and change direction. So, let’s discuss some drills that will help you become better at enhancing your speed and changing direction in basketball.


Importance of Speed

Speed plays an important role in almost every sport, but is particularly important in basketball where the transition from defense to offense is completed at a fast rate. The ability to change direction and speed in an explosive way is something that can turn an average basketball player into an even better one, a basketball team whose players are capable of turning and moving in fast movements can have a distinct advantage over their opponents. It is possible to use basketball drills and training techniques to improve the ability of players to explosively change direction and speed as quickly as possible.

Just how do you go about altering your ability to change speed and direction quickly?

Basketball drills can be a great way of changing and improving athletic performance, classic drills can be used in a bid to improve the athletic agility of an individual player. Stadium stair running is often seen as a great way improving stamina, but the different movements required in taking the small steps involved in running up and down stadium stairs can improve footwork that allows players to change direction quickly and at high speed.

The stadium stairs drill begins with the player and coach deciding which way the player will be required to move towards; backwards, forwards, left and right movements can all be practiced with stadium stairs running. The drill begins with the player running up the stairs placing their feet on each individual step, after completing the first run the player rests for two minutes. The second repetition requires the player to run up the stairs placing a foot on every other step, a rest should be taken between each repetition. Coaches can add extra work to the drill by changing the lead foot from right to left to help improve the ability of the individual to change speed and direction quickly no matter which leg they are starting from.

The ability to change speed and direction quickly and efficiently from either leg is an important skill for every basketball player and should be a part of practice each week. For example, individuals can work on this important physical skill for about 20 minutes twice a week and reap vast rewards in their athletic ability. What is important in basketball training is to make sure every individual has the ability to move as fast as possible in any direction that may be required.

Importance of the Change of Direction

Changing direction is positioning your body to go in a different direction. This movement always keeps the defender off balance. Changing direction and speed can be assisted with the inclusion of the three cone drill in any basketball practice. The three cone drill and its many variants have been used for many years and have improved the athletic ability of many top players, with the ability to move at high speed while traveling backwards or forwards an essential part of any basketball players repertoire.

How to complete the three cone drill?

To complete the three cone drill the coach must first place three cones in a straight line from five to seven yards depending on the age and abilities of the players being coached. Players move in turn from the first cone and sprint forwards to the middle cone, where they stop, bend and touch the ground. The player then runs backwards from the middle cone and returns to the first cone, again they bend and touch the ground. Finally, the individual sprints forwards from the first cone to the third cone and again touches the ground before running backwards to the first cone and touching the ground to complete the drill. If desired, a coach can time these drills to track how improvements and speed changes over the weeks the drills are completed. Both these drills should assist players in seeing an increase in both their overall speed and ability to change direction at a fast pace. I would also recommend adding a basketball to this drill. Perform the same drill, but have the player dribble while running. This will help the drill become more situational where the player has to control the basketball while changing speed and direction.

Another dribbling drill that I would recommend is the COD Drill

4 basic ways that you can change direction with your dribble are the following:

  • Crossover
  • Behind-the-back
  • Between the legs
  • Spin

Three Cone Change of Direction Basketball Drill Video

The three cone change of direction basketball drill video is great for you to practice so that you can become deceptive and utilize your change of direction skills. What are you waiting for?

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