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Drill Fast to Play Fast

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I recently went to watch my daughter's high school team play and arrived at the gym in time to watch the second half of the JV game. Both teams warmed up with a standard, generic two line layup drill where each player jogged about half speed, caught a pass, took a couple of dribbles and shot an uncontested layup.

Not a single player traveled, dribbled the ball off her foot, or missed a shot. Then the second half started with both teams playing full court pressure man to man defense. The home team's point guard built up a head of steam and blew by her defender but lost complete control of her dribble as she crossed the half court line.

A visiting defender scooped the ball up and raced to the opposite end but had trouble managing her speed as she approached the rim. As a result, her layup attempt clanked hard off the backboard and bounced nearly all the way out to the free throw line.

A player from the home team grabbed the rebound and sprinted towards her own basket at the other end of the gym. She made it all the way to the opposite free throw line before she was blindsided and the ball was tipped loose from behind. Of course one of her opponents came up with the loose ball and back the other way all 10 players ran.

It was the most exciting, action packed, non productive 10 seconds of basketball I had seen in a long time! It was a remarkable contrast to the slow, easy going layup drill I had watched only a couple minutes earlier!

If you want to be an above average, varsity caliber player then you need the ability to control your body and the ball while moving at high speed. More specifically, you need to start quickly, run fast, stop suddenly and then eventually be able to do all three of these things while constantly and efficiently changing directions.

The key to improving in these areas is not so much WHICH drills you use but HOW you use them. Have you ever heard a coach yell "Stay under control!" to either you or one of your teammates? If you've been playing for any length of time I'm sure you have. Well while working on this set of skills is not the time to heed that advice.

In fact you need to run, dribble, and change direction so fast that you occasionally get out of control and have difficulty coming to a stop! As you run through your drills over and over at the fastest speed possible you will undoubtedly make several mistakes. However, as you become accustomed to the faster pace the mistakes will decrease and your efficiency will improve.

When that begins to happen you should increase your speed once again to the point where you are "out of control." Keep repeating the process and it won't be long before you are not only playing faster and quicker but you'll be doing so while staying under complete control.

There are lots of drills you can use to improve these skills but if you need some ideas look under the coaching articles or training articles pages on our site.

Remember, once you have mastered the basic fundamentals of a skill you should drill fast to play fast!

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