One staple in the game of basketball and conditioning has long been the jump rope. While every tool has its place, the jump rope is a tool that I use regularly for two reasons:
• The natural rhythmic pattern of having to turn the rope and jump/bounce at the same time, there is a major coordination factor involved.
• Quick contacts with the feet force athletes to stay on the front half of their foot - thus improving the "elasticity" of the lower leg (this means quicker and more explosive!).
Here are 5 of my favorite and most effective jump rope drills:
While this isn't the most exciting variation of jump roping, it's perhaps the most important. You will simply start with both feet on the ground at the same time while you're turning the rope as quickly as you possibly can. Do not underestimate the effectiveness of this drill. This is a great starting point if you aren't able to currently jump rope and if you are a master you can always work at improving your quickness.
Lateral Quick Feet
This variation is the exact same as the above drill except you're going to move side to side instead of just up and down. This will help improve your ability to move laterally. This is a great starting point for improving the foot/ankle complex to control stability (balance and control) while being quick.
With this drill you will start with your feet staggered (one foot forward and one foot backward). You will then jump up and switch the feet so that you now have your other foot forward. Continue in this pattern working at contacting the ground at the same time with both feet.
The Ali shuffle will help greatly with learning to recover with one foot forward (much like defense).