THREE MOVEMENTS TO BUILD A QUICK FIRST STEP
A quick first step, like Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo’s, is a valuable weapon on the basketball court. First-step speed keeps defenders from pressuring you too closely, since they want to avoid being burned by a drive to the hoop. That extra space gives you more opportunities to impact the game.
You can improve first-step quickness by training with specific exercises and movement patterns. Michael Atkinson, Elite Pro Performance national consultant and A.C.E. certified personal trainer, put together a series that can help any player get to the rim on a regular basis. “Speed can be found in the details of the movement,” says Atkinson.
Incorporate these exercises into a warm-up or pre-game routine, or use them in a speed workout two to three times per week.
Two-Inch Run With Ball
- Starting in athletic position, with ball in hand, begin dribbling on the baseline
- With each step, move two inches forward, keeping the ball in front of your body
- Take a hard dribble and a long stride at the free throw line, but don’t shoot
- Finish in an athletic position to train stability and balance
Walking Lunge to Triple Extension with Ball
- Descend into Lunge position while bringing the basketball to your chin
- Shift weight to lead leg while in Lunge
- Explode and push through lead leg to triple extension while driving opposite knee to chest
- Press ball up to ceiling, simulating a layup or dunk
- Hold form through extension for a split second, then drop into Walking Lunge and repeat on other side
Reverse Pivot Drop Step
- Face training partner in triple threat stance at the top of the key with back to basket
- Partner cues you by touching your shoulder
- React with a left or right reverse pivot drop, stepping in the direction of the cue
- Push through pivot foot and stride to rim
- Take last step and transfer energy while jumping to rim off a single-leg max jump
Photo: Michael Atkinson, Sierra Strength and Speed, draftexpress.com