As the AAU basketball season is upon us, I am reminded of watching our high school girls team — including my daughter — play their first tournament games of the season. They did some things well and, of course, there were some areas that required improvement.
Invariably, the areas for improvement must start at practice. At times, much of what the players did, especially offensively, looked hurried to the point that it adversely affected their execution. It looked like the speed of the game made the players (think they had to) rush their shooting — jump shots and layups — as well as their offense in general.
My point is this: Finishing a layup, when you’re moving at full-speed, in “traffic,” is a tough thing to do. If, when you practice layups, your drives to the basket are done at about 75% speed and uncontested, it’s unlikely you’ll develop the focus and muscle memory to control your body and shoot with the proper “touch” when you’re driving to the basket, full-speed, in a game situation. It’s essential to practice like you play… at game speed.
The same principle applies to your speed and agility training. When you perform your exercises and drills, it’s important to get yourself moving at full speed. If you practice and train at less than full speed, what do you expect to happen in game situations?
If you’re a coach or trainer, here’s a speed and agility training tip: You must allow adequate time for full recovery between exercises and drills. If we want athletes to perform these drills at 100% effort, allowing for full recovery is necessary. Otherwise, what we’re doing is conditioning. There’s nothing wrong with conditioning, if that’s your goal, but it’s different from speed and agility training.
Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!