3 Drills for an Explosive First Step

\nWhen you have the ball, you control the game. The defense is at your mercy. You know exactly where you want to go and when you want to go there. This alone gives you a decided advantage over the defense. But adding an explosive first step to your arsenal can give you an even bigger advantage. Quickness is one of the top three traits for a basketball player. The quicker you are with the ball, the more of a threat you are as an offensive player. In order to be quicker with the ball you need to utilize game speed ball handling drills and quickness/reaction drills in your training program.

\nThese drills, from StrongerTeam.com, add an element of reaction. The ability to read and react to visual and audible cues is important in the game of basketball.

\nThe following three drills will improve your quickness, agility and reaction time. Perform two to three of these drills twice a week during the offseason. The time each drill is performed and the rest time between sets can transform each drill from a quickness drill to a conditioning drill. Because there’s a time and place for conditioning, make sure to stick to the prescribed times to keep these drills improving your quickness so you can achieve the most benefit for your first-step and scoring ability.

Ball Drop

Benefits: Footwork, hand quickness, eye-hand coordination

Reps: 30 seconds

Sets: 4-6

Make sure you're in a defensive stance.

Rest: 60-90 seconds


  • Stand arms length away from partner in defensive stance
  • Partner holds tennis ball in each hand
  • Sprint to ball after partner’s throw
  • Catch ball before second bounce
  • Toss back to partner and sprint back to starting position
  • React and sprint to next throw from partner
  • Partner should vary distance, direction and speed of throws

Coaching Point: Your partner should vary the hand he uses on throws and constantly change-up the pattern. For example, throw left hand, left hand, left hand and then right hand because it’s much more unpredictable then throwing left hand, right hand, left hand. This forces you to react faster and improve your first-step.

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