If you want to move quicker and blow by players on the court or become a lockdown defender, then it’s essential to have great lateral speed and mechanics. Before we go into my top 5 lateral speed drills for basketball, there are tons of lateral drills to help you become faster laterally but keeping it simple has always been the most effective.
Your ability to move well laterally on the court can help you change directions faster, hop around to finish, and create separation to get open.
TOP 5 LATERAL SPEED DRILLS FOR HOOPERS:
1. ANGLED DROP STEP
This is a great movement to work on acceleration, and cutting on an angle. Start by accelerating diagonal then quickly hop to reposition your feet to angle your shins to the other directions. This can be done as part of your movement preparation for your agility warm-up.
2. MEDICINE BALL FAKE THROW
When you think of changing directions and lateral mechanics, you often only focus on the lower body. The upper body also plays an important role for lateral speed mechanics. The stiffer your torso when moving laterally, the better you will be at decelerating and re-accelerating to move to the other direction. This is also a great movement preparation warm-up. To do this movement, start in a athletic position with the medicine ball by your shoulder area, then you’re going to fake the throw to the opposite shoulder by quickly stopping momentum.
3. MEDICINE BALL FAKE THROW SHUFFLE
This is similar to the movement above except you are just adding a shuffle before the fake throw. You are now putting it all together by shuffling laterally and creating stiffness in your torso to help you change directions quicker.
4. REACTIVE LATERAL SHUFFLE
This is a great movement to improve lateral shuffle/crossover and reaction time. You’re going to setup 3 cones, 1 as a start position and the other 2 as markers to shuffle towards. Depending on what cones are called, you are going to shuffle short or longer.
5. BANDED LATERAL SHUFFLE
Using a resistance band will allow you to load the lateral movement without compensating movement technique. The band does a great job of giving you quick feedback because if you don’t push off hard then the band will pull you out of position. It’s a great lateral drill and self correcting tool for athletes.