Develop a Killer First Step

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When you have the ball, you are in control of the game. The defense is at your mercy. You know where you want to go and when you want to get there. This alone gives you a decided advantage. Adding an explosive first step to your arsenal will take your game to another level.

Quickness is one of the most important traits for basketball players to have—the quicker you are with the ball, the more of a threat you are as a scorer.

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When you have the ball, you are in control of the game. The defense is at your mercy. You know where you want to go and when you want to get there. This alone gives you a decided advantage. Adding an explosive first step to your arsenal will take your game to another level.

Quickness is one of the most important traits for basketball players to have—the quicker you are with the ball, the more of a threat you are as a scorer.

If you want to boost your first-step quickness and blow past defenders, you need to do three things:

Add Lower-Body Strength
Strengthen your leg, hip and core muscles from a variety of angles. Multi-angular Lunges are an ideal way to strengthen all of the muscles of the legs and hips in a very functional way. When you blow by a guy, you are actually in a Lunge position for a split second [see images of Forward Lunge and Lateral Lunge, above].

Improve Power
Performing a variety of safe plyometric drills is the most effective way to improve your power. You want to be comprehensive in your training. Choose some drills for height, some for quickness, and vary between jumping off one foot and jumping off two feet.

Hone Offensive Skills
I am not a basketball skills instructor, but I know that you need to be proficient out of a triple threat position, as well as off a dribble, to maximize your first step. This can only be accomplished by hours and hours of game-like repetitions.

As a veteran basketball-specific strength and conditioning coach, it is my job to help players improve their performance on the court. If you follow these three suggestions, you will have a quicker first step!

Alan Stein is the owner of Stronger Team and the head strength and conditioning coach for the nationally-renowned Nike Elite DeMatha Catholic High School boy's basketball program. A performance consultant for Nike Basketball as well as the head conditioning coach for the annual McDonald's All-American game, the Jordan Brand Classic and the Nike Summer Skills Academies, Stein is also a camp coach at the prestigious NBA Players Association's Top 100 Camp and the Chris Paul CP3 Elite Backcourt Camp. You can follow Stein at twitter.com/AlanStein and Facebook.com/StrongerTeam.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: BASKETBALL TRAINING | AGILITY TRAINING | COACH | POWER | FIRST STEP | STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING | JUMPING