Improve Your Footwork for Basketball

July 29, 2013 | Danny Wilkerson

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When working on your hoops game, you should never overlook footwork. Every movement in the game begins with your feet, whether it is coming off a cut on offense, stealing a pass on defense or boxing out for a rebound. You must also be able to play on your toes and not be flat-footed. Improving your footwork will make you quicker and more agile on the floor while also improving your balance and body control.

When working on your footwork, do not start off doing the drills at full speed. Instead, move at a pace that allows you to complete the drills consistent with your ability. As time goes by, you will naturally get faster and quicker in the drills. Like building a house, when we build a player, we start from the ground up and set a firm foundation. A strong base will help you get your shot off quicker, move quicker on defense and make you a better overall player

2-Ball Ladder Drills

Foot In

  • Start at end of ladder, dribble both balls (use any method you like)
  • Touch one foot in each rung of the ladder as fast as possible
  • Pass one ball to the coach
  • Take a pull-up jumper with other ball
  • Cut and receive handoff from coach and shoot the other ball or lay it up

Both Feet In

  • Start at end of ladder, dribbling both balls
  • Touch both feet in each rung of the ladder
  • Finish drill same as Foot In

Shuffle

  • Start on right side of ladder
  • Explode laterally with left foot into first rung of ladder; follow with right foot, then left foot to left side of ladder; follow with right foot
  • Repeat all way down ladder, moving laterally
  • Finish drill same as the first two

Coaching Points

  • On the dribble, switch between alternating and simultaneous dribbling.
  • Stay low and keep your head up to see the floor.

3-Cone Drill

  • Sprint to the first cone, backpedal around it. Sprint to the inside cone, weave through the outside cone
  • Come off the outside cone with your hands up in an athletic position and shoot a jump shot
  • Perform on right and left sides, mid-range and 3-point range. (Variation: Instead of weave on 2nd and 3rd cone, backpedal)

4-Cone Drill

  • Start on the baseline corner
  • Run a figure 8 through first three cones
  • Come off third cone in athletic position with hands up and shoot a jump shot
  • Sprint to the baseline and back to the cone at the free throw line
  • Come off the 4th cone and shoot a jumper or drive to the basket
  • Repeat on both sides and extend to 3-point range

Tips to Remember

  • Start at a slower pace until you can complete the drills with good footwork. Speed up each time you do the drills.
  • Always stay in an athletic position.
  • Keep your head up to see the floor.
  • When coming off the cones and ladder during the shooting part of the drill, play the game from a low to high position with your hands up and ready to score.

These drills will help you develop the footwork you need to add to your game.

Once you've mastered these drills, check out even more drills from the following two articles:

- Danny Wilkerson has coached basketball for nearly 20 years. He has coached several conference championship teams. He currently serves as the assistant boy’s basketball and...
- Danny Wilkerson has coached basketball for nearly 20 years. He has coached several conference championship teams. He currently serves as the assistant boy’s basketball and...
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