As our off-season program has started a month early due to the current situation, we have a little bit of extra experimental time with our players. Our practice agenda at the moment consists mostly of topics players can join rather than team practices. Players can choose weekly to sign up for skill development sessions, master shooting with our shooting coach, conditioning teambuilding sessions, Saturday morning Tai Chi in the park, etc. etc.

One of the topics within the Athletic Development training is power exploration to improve basketball specific footwork. Power exploration you could think of as investigating the ability to move with explosiveness in complex sports-specific patterns.

A simple power movement could be a vertical jump, a more interesting move would be a first step – and even more complex a rhythmic basketball dribbling move.

One of the tools we use to make the connection from the “gym” side of things to the court is the 9Speed Tool. It’s a light weight tool (2.2KG) that allows for powerful swinging, throwing and striking motions. Perfect to practice “athletic fragments” seen in the context of basketball.

The cool thing about the tool is that it exaggerates mistakes you make: for example if you’d swing the tool a bit too far you’ll lose your ground so through repetition it really teaches you to make your footwork more and more precise and sharp.

Below you see three of our players engaged in a combined practice session: a session where we combine athletic skill work with basketball skill work. The players practice a simple side, front and back stepping motion with the tool – then making the connection dribbling the ball.

Deacon, the middle player has a little bit of experience with the tool, the others are new to it. All of them are aiming to make the moves sharper, use more rotation of the hip – and in the end… add more speed.

What I like about this tool in contrast to kettlebell training for example is that it allows more complexity, variety in rhythm and “fine” work without the risk of a heavy weight.

After the session, Deacon and I decided to record a short loop you can practice as an athletic development training in itself or use as a “teaching moment” during basketball skill work to help players understand and feel better foot placement to create space in multi-directional steps.

In the video you can see how we separate the move and then combine it all together:

  • side step
  • loaded step
  • returning to higher position

If you are interested in buying a 9Speed Tool or a set of them for your team or club, you can get them at where I’m educated as an instructor. If you use ELITEATHLETESONLINE as a coupon code you get 5% off.