In our never-ending quest to jump higher, agility ladder drills are a mainstay on our list and have been around for quite some time. In a game like a basketball, the quicker you can change direction, the better you will be both offensively and defensively.
This is why so many coaches like ladder drills – the focus is on developing quick feet and the ability to change direction quickly and explosively.
Basketball Agility Ladder Drills
Ladder drills are a great way to improve multiplanar movement, which is important for basketball players as they need to change direction quickly and often. These drills are also a good addition to any conditioning workout as they can get the heart pumping and muscles working.
But it should be noted that these drills alone are not great for speed training. Speed is the result of power exerted over a distance – quick feet will not increase power. Stronger leg muscles will – which is why so often the quickest players on the court also have the highest verticals.
If it is the speed you are looking for, get your players to increase the strength of their leg muscles – use a program such as the Jump Manual, a program specifically set up to improve players’ vertical jump but which I have always regarded primarily as a great, effective strength workout for leg muscles.
But, ladder drills are still a very worthwhile exercise to add to your workouts to improve your ability to push off in different directions and to help condition the body. They use minimal equipment – just the agility ladder – although adding some ball handling in adds benefits.
Use these drills for a few minutes at the beginning of practices as a warm-up and get the blood flowing.
Left Thrust Drill
The left thrust drill relies on the left leg to do most of the work driving you along the ladder.
- Lifting your left knee high and swinging your left arm back, step into the ladder with your left foot.
- Bringing your left arm high in front, thrust forward to the right, sliding your right foot ahead one step, and remaining inside outside the ladder.
- Lift your left knee high as your arm swings back, step, and forward one rung.
- Again, bring your left arm high in front and thrust forward to the right, sliding your right foot ahead one step outside the ladder.
- Continue the length of the ladder.
- Complete 4 lengths in total, and then move on to the right.
Right Thrust Drill
The same as above, but with the right leg doing the majority of the work.
- Lifting your right knee high and swinging your right arm back, step into the ladder with your right foot.
- Bringing your right arm high in front, thrust forward to the left, sliding your left foot ahead one step, remaining ing outside the ladder.
- Lift your right knee high as your arm swings back, and step fand forward one rung.
- Bring your right arm high in front and thrust forward to the left, sliding your left foot ahead one step outside the ladder.
- Continue the length of the ladder.
- Complete 4 lengths in total.
Ladder drills are great for warming up in a sport-specific manner, and for improving footwork, agility, and coordination.
They are great for overall fitness, but in a game like a basketball that is so dependent on the change of direction and quickness, they are a great weapon in the quest to improve the skills that make a real difference in the sport.
These particular drills focus on just the basics, but many programs that focus on improving speed and quickness include agility ladder drills.
They can be an integral component to any jump training program – programs such as the Vertical Explosion program that promises six to ten inches improvement in your jumping ability in about two months.