Most athletes are not blessed with supernatural ability. The great majority must work hard to reach their goals.
If you want to improve your basketball skills over time, take advantage of opportunities to train with plyometrics. Plyometrics involve stretching the muscles before quickly contracting them to generate power. When used properly, they can help you develop a solid strength base, increase your vertical jump, improve your speed on the court and hone your ability to decelerate.
When beginning plyometric training, you must progress slowly in order to avoid injury. Start by performing jumps with both legs and advance to single-leg jumps after you have developed sufficient strength and coordination.
One of the most common mistakes with plyometrics is "jumping" into them too fast, before your body is ready. Here is a sample plyometric progression, which you should only attempt to implement over time.
1. Arm Swing Squat
2. Jump Squat
4. Weighted Jump Squat
5. Box Jump
6. Depth Jump
7. Single-Leg Box Jump
8. Single-Leg Bounding
9. Single-Leg Depth Jump
Below is a plyometric exercise program for basketball, which, if added to a weight program, will build strength and explosiveness while preparing your body to run faster and jumper higher. Preface the workout with a proper warm-up. Plyos can be hard on the joints, so be sure to thoroughly stretch using a dynamic routine.
1. Depth Jumps: 2 x 10
Assume athletic stance on a secured platform or box. Step forward and land toward your forefeet; then, as quickly as possible, jump back up straight into the air. Repeat for specified reps.
2. Skip Jumps With Heel-to-Toe Push
Sit back on heels in chair position with arms stretched in front. Jump side to side without moving your upper body. Gain momentum to jump by starting at your heels and driving through your toes. Repeat for specified reps.
Sets/Reps: 2x10 each direction
3. Squat Jumps
Assume athletic stance. Lower into squat position. Forcefully extend hips, knees and ankles and swing arms up to jump as high as possible. Land softly and repeat for specified reps. Replace with Weighted Squat Jumps for an additional challenge.
4. Reactive Double-Leg Bounding
Assume athletic stance. Swing arms forward and leap forward as far as possible. Land with soft knees and immediately repeat for specified reps.
1. Linear Cone Jump
Assume athletic stance with a single cone in front. Hop forward and back over cone as quickly as possible. Repeat for specified reps.
Assume athletic stance. Bend hips and knees and sit back into quarter-squat. Exaggeratedly swing arms back, then quickly swing arms forward and simultaneously explode with legs to jump forward as far as possible. Land with stable base; absorb impact by allowing body to return to start position, and immediately repeat for specified reps.
3. No-Arm Standing Long Jump
Stand in relaxed-and-ready position with hands behind head. Bend hips and knees and sit back into quarter-squat. Explode with legs to jump forward as far as possible. Land with stable base; absorb impact by allowing body to return to start position, and immediately repeat for specified reps.
As you progress, so can your routine. Feel free to add more advanced jumps and weights, but only after perfecting the basics. Each exercise should be done with max power. Remember, as long as your mind is telling your body to move fast, it will benefit. These plyometric exercises for basketball will vastly improve your athletic ability.