Agility Drills to Improve Basketball Performance

July 12, 2013 | John Cissik

During games, basketball players must be able to move quickly and change directions on a dime, all while controlling the ball. The drills in this article are meant to develop speed, agility and ball control, and teach basketball players to do this in a way that makes ball control automatic.

Figure 8 Drill

  • Set up two cones in a line about five yards apart
  • Stand behind the first cone and dribble around it, moving to your right
  • As you reach a position in front of the first cone, move diagonally toward the second cone
  • Moving to your right, go all the way around the second cone until you are facing the first cone
  • Move diagonally toward the first cone and dribble around it
  • As you perform this drill, remember to stay low to the ground and keep the ball to the outside of the cone

Figure 8 Drill

Figure 8 Drill

4 Cone Drill

  • Set up four cones in a straight line, covering ten yards
  • Get into an athletic stance and remain low to the ground
  • Begin by dribbling the ball in your right hand
  • Slide around the first cone
  • After you clear the first cone, shift the ball to your left hand and slide around the second cone (moving toward your left)
  • Shift the ball to your right hand, slide to the right, and move around the third cone
  • Shift the ball to your left hand and slide around the fourth cone

4-Cone Drill

4-Cone Drill

Weave and Shoot

  • Set up five cones as in the illustration
  • Stand next to cone 1 with the ball in your right hand
  • Get into a low athletic position and, while dribbling the ball in your right hand, sprint to cone 2
  • When you reach cone 2, turn around and switch the ball to your left hand
  • While dribbling, back up to cone 3
  • At cone 3, switch the ball into your right hand and spin around
  • While dribbling, sprint to a point between cones 4 and 5.
  • Stop, set your feet, and shoot a two-point shot from between cones 4 and 5
  • For variety, set up on the opposite side of cone 1 and begin the drill by dribbling the ball with your left hand

Weave and Shoot

Weave and Shoot

Perform each of these drills five to 10 times.

Once you are able to move through the drills without losing control of the ball, make the drill more challenging by replacing one or more cones with a live person. In this variation, the live person cannot move from his or her spot, but he or she can reach out and try to disrupt your control over the ball—which reinforces the need to keep the ball outside and away from the defender.

During each speed/agility workout, perform one of these drills. A typical speed/agility workout for a basketball player would be set up like this:

  1. Warm-up (low intensity 400-yard run, 10-15 minutes of mobility exercises)
  2. Technique exercises (10-15 minutes)
  3. Sprints, 3-5x
  4. Agility drills without the ball (slide, backpedal, stop/start, etc.)
  5. Agility drills with the ball (e.g., one of the drills in this article)
  6. Any conditioning work
  7. Shin splint/hamstring exercises
  8. Stretch
Get faster on the court with these basketball speed drills:

Photo: Jordan Brand on YouTube

John Cissik
- John M. Cissik is the president of Human Performance Services, LLC, which helps athletes solve their strength and conditioning problems. He has worked with athletes...
John Cissik
- John M. Cissik is the president of Human Performance Services, LLC, which helps athletes solve their strength and conditioning problems. He has worked with athletes...
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