How to change direction and speed in basketball like a pro

In basketball, the ability to pull off a quick change in direction and speed will not only throw the opponent off balance but will also position the player to make the basket.

Top professional basketballers – especially the offensive players – are experts at spontaneously changing speed and direction in play. Such capacity is central to an attacker’s dribbling efficiency and higher reactionary speed for defenders.

These are the skills count when bookmakers like Betking (readily accessible on the betking app) look out for players that decide the outcomes of basketball fixtures.

That said, to efficiently change speed and direction, the player needs impressive footwork, body balance, and good coordination between the upper limbs and lower limbs.

Thankfully, this skill can be learned by performing the following drills.

The three-cone drill

The three-cone drill works on your ability to stop a run abruptly and pick up pace almost immediately while changing directions too.

To do this, arrange the three cones in a straight line. Each cone should be six yards away from the other. Starting from the first cone, run to the middle cone and stop abruptly, then bend down, touch the ground, and sprint backward, still facing the same direction.

Back at the first cone, sprint forward again, this time to the third cone, stop, bend done and touch the ground, then sprint backward.

Do this repeatedly till you get accustomed to it. You can also time yourself to observe your progress in each lap.

Single Leg Hop

Arrange four cones, three in a straight line and one a few yards behind the center cone. Stand on one leg beside the lone cone and hope in the direction of the cone in front of it.

As you land, quickly hop again, changing direction to the left cone. Now from the left cone, reverse the procedure ending at the lone cone.

Repeat the procedure but this time, head toward the right cone and then back to the lone cone. Do this drill for both feet to get optimum results.

Quarter arc Sprint

While watching a basketball game, you may notice that a player who was moving straight suddenly starts running in an arc. This change in direction is done to create enough space for receiving the ball. This drill will help in perfecting this skill.

Arrange five cones in the shape of a quarter arc. Sprint off from one end of the cones while maintaining a forward shin angle. As the cones start to curl, keep close to the cones and tilt your head in their direction.

When you reach the other end, turn around and sprint forward, keeping close to the cones as your curl around them.

The Lateral Shuffle

The lateral shuffle improves footwork, lateral power, and your body’s capacity to absorb the force that comes with a quick change in direction. This is how to perform the lateral shuffle.

Three cones should be placed in a V shape, 2.5 yards apart. Get into an athletic stance with your knees slightly bent and your feet wider than shoulder width.

Starting from the left cone, shuffle to the middle cone and halt. Then from the middle cone, shuffle up to the right come. Repeat the procedure from the right cone to the middle cone. Halt, then up to the left cone. Be sure to keep your feet wider than hip-width and refrain from clicking your heels.

Measure the time you use in completing each leg and try to beat the previous record every day that you try it out.

The Zigzag Drill

This drill requires as many cones as the length of the court can take. Arrange them in a zigzag manner starting from one end of the court to the other.

From one end, sprint from cone to cone while dribbling, doing your best to keep the ball in motion as you change direction. You can start slow but increase your speed with every lap.

In-and-out drill

This drill also requires multiple cones that will soon the length of the court; this time, they should be closely arranged in a straight line.

To perform the drill, start from the end of the court and run through the space created by two cones, weaving your way in and out and each space. Do this first without the ball in hand and then repeat the procedure, dribbling your way with the ball in hand.

Repeat this procedure back and forth. You can also time yourself, increasing your speed with each turn.

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