5 Drills to Develop Laser-Like Lateral Speed

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Are you unhappy with your lateral speed and feel like your feet are stuck in quicksand?

Would improved change of direction dramatically improve your stock as an athlete?

Here is a list of some of my favorite lateral speed development exercises. I have divided them into lateral strength and speed development sections for ease of use and implementation into your current training protocol.

If you practice these drills two or three times a week, with one day of rest in between, I guarantee you will transform yourself into the best athlete that you can humanly become.

Note: It is all about the quality of the movement when it comes to these exercises. If you start to feel clumsy or unsure in your movement patterns, then do not proceed any further and rest appropriately before moving on to the next exercise.


Lateral Resistor Power Slide

  • Position yourself in an athletic stance with a lateral resistor band secured comfortably around your ankles.
  • Emphasize a strong push from your trail foot, and step slide for 10 yards.
  • Work on using active hands as you power slide. Move the hands in a wax-on wax-off motion (like the Karate Kid) to develop highly efficient lateral movement mechanics.
  • Repeat in opposite direction.
  • Rest up to 60 seconds and repeat 2-3 times for best results.

Lateral Lunge

  • Position yourself in an athletic stance.
  • Perform a lunge step to the side while keeping your thigh parallel to the ground as you descend.
  • Return to starting position and perform a lunge step to the opposite side.
  • Back and forth is one repetition.
  • Always remember to keep your body balanced and under control throughout the execution of this movement.
  • Rest up to 60 seconds between sets and perform 2-3 sets of 6-12 reps per leg.


Body Weight Lateral Speed Slide

  • Position yourself in an athletic stance.
  • Mark out a distance of 5 to 10 yards away from your starting position.
  • Perform a lateral speed slide as fast as possible while staying under control to the marker, and back to your starting position.
  • Rest up to 60 seconds and repeat for desired reps.

Body Weight Lateral Crossover Step Drill

  • Position yourself in an athletic stance.
  • Mark out a distance 10 yards away from your starting position.
  • Execute a lateral crossover step as quickly as possible to the marker, and immediately change direction and crossover step back to your starting positon.
  • Rest up to 60 seconds and repeat for desired reps.

Partner Mirror Drill

  • Two partners face each other in an athletic stance.
  • Two cones are placed 10 yards apart from one another.
  • One partner is the initiator, the other partner is the reactor.
  • On the initiator's first move, the reactor must react and mirror the lateral movements of the initiator.
  • Perform this drill for 10-20 seconds and rest 1-3 times the amount of time worked.
  • Athletes may perform lateral speed slides as well as cross over steps.

Contrary to popular belief, lateral speed and strength are very trainable skills, and if you follow the game plan that I have laid out for you, you will notice immediate improvements in the way you move. Remember knowledge is power, but only if you use it and apply it to yourself will you actually reap the rewards of improved athletic ability.

Always strive to be the best you can be, and with persistence and attention to detail you will surprise yourself and your coaches by taking your lateral speed to levels you never thought you could achieve!

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Mike Mahon is a professional basketball performance consultant who is the creator of the Basketball Experts Professional Player Development System. Basketball Experts features 12 of the world's top basketball experts who have worked with some of the best basketball players on the planet. If you want to know the secrets the pros use and transform yourself into the king of the court, visit BBallExperts.com.

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