Today, I’m going to take some time to share some excellent youth basketball drills that are perfect for training and conditioning your players.
Free Jumps and Hops
Start with ankle flips. Keeping the leg straight and the hips tall, pull up the toes and spring off the ground.
Next, do ankle skips. These are done with a two-bounce rhythm. Pull the toe up and then snap the toe down to the ground as you have the skipping rhythm.
Next are bunny jumps. Keeping your feet together, just simply bounce up and down like a bunny rabbit hopping through the field. This is good for working on quick response to the ground.
Next, have your players act like a pogo stick. They should stand up as tall as possible and be sure to avoid letting the knees and hips bend. They should just bounce with two feet up and down as quickly as possible.
Still with the pogo stick in mind, have your team do pogo hops, one leg at a time. We want to pop off the ground for good quickness and explosion. Make sure to work each leg equally. What you do with the right, do with the left.
The next youth basketball drill dealing with free jumps and hops is Russian short hops. These are one foot hops–rapid fire as fast as you can go. Remind your players to keep that toe pulled up and pop off the ground
For all of these free jumps and hops, use the distance from the baseline to mid court. Down and back is one repetition. Do three sets of three repetitions.
Box Jumps and Hops
Use a 6-12″ box for these youth basketball drills.
Start with down ups. From the top of the box, drop down, quickly respond to the ground, and get back up onto the box. We want that quick stretch reflex. Don’t spend a lot of time on the ground. We want that quickness of response, load and explode, load and explode.
Now have your team do runs. Put one foot up on the box. Jump up and switch feet. After your team gets that rhythm, have them get the faster rhythm of running, simply tapping the box as they pop off the ground. Do three sets of 10 for each of these first two youth basketball drills.
Next are side to sides. Put one foot in the middle of the box. With this drill, you’re going laterally, side to side. Both feet touch at the same time. Most of the work is done with the outside leg, pushing off the ground for our lateral movement and change in direction.
This next drill deals with box jumps using multiple boxes. We want to get that quick explosive pop off the ground. Remind your players of the following:
- Pull the toes up toward the shins.
- Use the arms.
- Suck your belly button in and tuck in your back.
- Have a stable core as you pop off the ground.
- Elevate those hips as high as you can.
Next have your players do one foot hops. This adds a degree of difficulty. Make sure your athletes try and jump right to the middle of the box. We want good power and explosiveness off of each leg.
Balance by using each leg equally. We don’t want to overdevelop just one leg. We want to balance out power from each direction. This makes for great athletes. Great athletes make for great competition.
Obstacle Jumps and Hops
Use a 6-12″ obstacle for this series of drills–a cone or a mini-hurdle.
First have your team do side to sides, with both feet working together as they go side to side. You force a little bit extra lift with the obstacle, bouncing off the front part of the foot. Remind your players to maintain good control of the core by sucking in the bellybutton and tucking in the back.
Next, go to one foot hops. Pick your toe up so it comes up toward your shin. This cocks and loads the ankle so that you can respond quickly to the ground.
Now go forward and back. Both feet go straight up over the top of the hurdle.
Now do them one foot at a time, over and back.
Now you can go to multiple objects. Start with two foot jumps right down the center of the hurdles. Quickly respond to the ground. Use the arms in rhythm and sync with the legs. Explode and pop off the ground.
Now do hops. Isolate each leg. One leg at a time, hop over the hurdle or the obstacle. Pop off the ground. These are great for teaching that stretch reflex response out of the muscles.
Next is the multiple jump and sprint youth basketball drill. Here we want to do two foot jumps over the hurdles. After our last jump, explode into a sprint.
After your two foot hops, go to one foot hops. Explode into a sprint. This overloads one leg, and then turn it loose for greater power and explosiveness.
Do you think your players would react well to these youth basketball drills as far as conditioning is concerned? If so, be sure to share this post with your fellow coaches and players.