Many coaches would argue that strength is the key to success in athletics today and not Agility. However, since most programs incorporate strength training, the edge has shifted to athletic programs that not only weight train but incorporate agility training and drills into their conditioning programs. Of the many important components of fitness within basketball, agility should be at the top of every coach’s list. Agility is defined as the ability to accelerate, decelerate, and change direction quickly while maintaining good body control. Basketball is not played in a straight line, but instead requires constant changes of direction. Therefore, acceleration is an extremely important aspect of agility.
Although agility is a key component, it is often an overlooked component of the game. Basketball is an extremely fast game that requires continual agility. Frequently, the game is played in short bursts of a few feet or less before a change of direction is required. One needs agility to be able to explode when penetrating to the basket, get into position to take a charge, or to catch up to an opponent after a turnover in a fast break situation. An individual, or team, who is extremely agile, will excel on fast breaks, defence, and pressing. Agility training will help gain fractions of a second on that first step and those fractions of a second can be the difference between an uncontested layup and a turnover.
The agility drills outlined below require the ability to stop quickly and accelerate in a different direction and have been proven to be successful in developing agility. However, do not limit yourself only to these agility drills. Changing the order, or making small changes in the drills themselves, will help to keep players mentally fresh. Make sure to consider the concept of specificity when designing the agility training for your basketball program. The footwork encountered by a point guard is going to be different from that of a forward or center. You may want to divide your players into groups based on the positions that they play on the basketball court. Agility training will help your team win more games but it can also have a very positive psychological effect on the athlete. The players will approach the game with more confidence in their physical ability.