By Chad Zimmerman
"Even if you're the fastest guy on the court, you can't be slowest to reactyou need both reaction time and quickness," says Alan Stein, co-owner of Elite Athlete Training [Germantown, Md.] and expert basketball strength coach. Take a comprehensive approach to improving your reaction and quickness with Stein's cone drill below.
Four-Cone Reaction Drill
Set up four different-colored cones at corners of lane; place one cone outside each elbow and one outside each box
Start in middle of lane in defensive stance (X) and have partner stand at top of key (O)
Partner calls a color or shows a colored card
Slide to proper cone; return to center as quickly as possible
Partner can stand at top of key or walk around arc of three-point line. If partner moves, work your defensive principles, and rotate to see the ball and your man.
Set up the cones further on the wings or lower on baseline to represent where offensive players might be.
Sets, reps and rest time
To improve your agility and quickness, perform 3-4 sets of 4-5 cone touches. Rest 5-10 seconds between touches. For conditioning, complete 3-4 sets of 30-45 seconds reacting to rapid-fire calls. See how many cone touches you can get.
Stay in a low defensive stance, keep a good base, don't cross your feet, and always keep your hands up and active.
Change the drill by performing sprints, backpedals or defensive slides between cones. For example, sprint to the two cones at top elbows and backpedal to the center. To the bottom two cones, use a defensive slide, like you would to cut off the baseline to take a charge, then sprint back to the center.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock