In Basketball, speed can be defined as the player’s quickness in running, dribbling, and shooting the ball. Speed in useful in any sport like basketball. If you move quickly, it would be difficult for your opponent to guard you. Another thing is if you are quick you can easily establish a position desirable for you to pass or shoot the basket; or, you can have significant chances on penetrating and driving towards the basket. You can have numerous advantages among the others if you have the speed.
This skill is difficult to achieve if you do not exercise the necessary workouts to improve it. There are relevant ways which you can make use of in order to develop and enhance your speed. Consider the following ten tips on how to improve your speed:
1. Muscle stretching
Do warm–ups first before engaging any other activities. Stretch the muscles in your arms, hips, abdomen, neck, and legs, and feet. Muscle stretching can help you establish a more flexible muscle. Flexibility is essential for you to get your limbs, or any part of your body, in proper position. In addition to that, when you stretch your muscles, you are conditioning it to a certain level of stretch. It is dangerous to quickly settle your muscles in activities that needs total muscle functioning. Your muscles may experience abrupt stretch more than it can handle, causing them to break their fibers. This muscle injury can cause a much serious problem.
2. Sprint workouts
You can practice sprint for about 10 to 50 yards, or 9 to 46 meters. Try to run back and forth to establish a great speed. You cannot develop your speed in one single sprint alone. At times the maximum speed can be achieved if you continue to make a series of long distance run. In other words, the peak of your speed is determined in the middle of your sprint when you already maintained a certain level of speed. Moreover, this exercise can enable you to establish a run at a faster pace.
3. Do plyometrics
You can perform this drill by running up and down a stair. I do not mean that you have to run an entire staircase. Just make use of one single staircase. While on the ground, raise your dominant foot first on the single staircase, follow your non-dominant hand, then step your dominant foot down the staircase, and then follow your non-dominant foot. You can use a big stable rock, or wood, as alternative for the staircase. Repeat the steps as far as you can tolerate.
Plyometrics can help you move your feet and legs at a faster speed. Your agility will also be improved. Speed and agility are essential for a basketball player to make quick changes of position and direction.
4. Do one–leg hops and frog hops
In one leg hops, stand on one leg and hop for a distance, maybe around 10 yards. And then switch on the other leg and do the same hops. On the other hand, frog hops can be performed by imitating the stance of a frog. When you get to that stance, hop like a frog for the same distance as above. You should have a specified distance in order for you to set up the goal of reaching such distance. These exercises can help you strengthen the muscles in your legs which includes the back of your thighs (hamstrings), front thigh (quadriceps), inner upper thigh (adductor), lower back of the thigh (biceps femoris), and calves (gastrocnemius and soleus).
In basketball, strong legs are necessary to run quickly and shift gears.
5. Improve your speed acceleration
Acceleration is the term used to describe as you start to sprint down and increase your speed. Your acceleration pushes you up to a good start. The relevance of enhancing your speed acceleration is for you to get into a position swiftly than your opponent. Not all runners who have high speed have high acceleration. The same is true with cars. There are cars which have high speed but low acceleration, which means they start slowly, and then eventually get faster. That should not be in basketball. In order to get your guard nailed on their feet, you must exert quickness every time you start your move. The thing here is that you must be the first one to be positioned in an area where you want to take your shot.
6. Keep up with your endurance
Endurance gives you the energy to keep your speed in a maintained pace. There are a lot of exercises for this one. You can jog around for longer distances, or run on a tread mill. In addition to that, you can do stationary or outdoor biking.
7. Set up cones or chairs and dribble around them
This is a drill to help you enhance your speed and agility. You can line up the cones, or chairs, in a zigzag pattern. Use enough number of cones/chairs. Do not make it too long since you will be running back and forth. Start running in between them until you get to the last one, and then go back again until you reach the starting line. The cones/chairs are positioned in a zigzag pattern. And so, it is expected that you also run in a zigzag direction. Level up this drill by using a ball. By this time, you do not just run. Instead, you run and dribble the ball. Be sure not to get in contact with the cones/chairs. Set up a timer to monitor your improvement. The smaller the time of completion, the faster you are.
8. Jump rope drills
You can make use of a jumping rope. It is just like playing with it. This drill will help you enhance you foot speed. The quickness of your feet movement is important to the development of a more solid footwork.
9. Parallel Squatting
This exercise helps you develop a much stronger hip and leg muscles, most especially the muscles of your thighs. In parallel squatting, you bend on your knees to a 90 degree angle while keeping your back erect. Your thighs should be parallel to the ground. This can also condition you to get used to moving in a low position when you are playing basketball.
10. Keep a high level of energy
Energy is the ultimate and vital key to the execution of the tips for speed enhancement. Keep a high level of energy by eating the right kind of diet, and getting enough sleep and rest.
Keep on exercising the above tips. It is wise to perform them on a regular basis to maintain and keep your speed up to the next level. You cannot maximize your speed if you stop at some point. Try to keep on improving. Do not settle down if you think you have already established a certain degree of speed. Be competitive enough to out speed not just your opponents, but you yourself as well.