Any aspiring basketball player needs to become more powerful and explosive. By doing so, you will be able to jump higher to block or grab rebounds and will be able to accelerate faster so you can quickly grab loose balls or make fast breaks. Your explosive training should take into account both the upper and lower areas of the body.
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A Running Start
Make your running and acceleration more explosive. You may do this with a training partner and a couple of tennis balls. Strength coach Alan Stein, coach at the Nike Elite DeMatha Catholic High School, recommends two drills. In the first, stand between two blocks spaced 12 to 15 yards apart and face your partner. Your partner will roll a tennis ball to either block -- it's your job to sprint and grab the ball, throw it back and then make your way back to the start point as quickly as possible. For the second drill, have your partner stand with his arms outstretched to the side, a tennis ball in each hand. He will drop one of the balls and you must sprint to catch it before its second bounce.
The ability to jump higher is undoubtedly something no basketball player would turn down. You can develop this skill with explosive lower-body exercises. Physical therapist and strength coach Donald Chu suggests five exercises for increasing your jump height. These include a straightforward vertical jump, as well as a depth jump, where you step down from an 18-inch box before jumping. Along with these, look to a three-step vertical jump, a maximum one-rep maximum barbell squat and a five-rep squat test, for which you aim to perform five squats in five seconds using 50 percent of your body weight.
Upping the Ante
An explosive upper body can also be of great help in game situations, because it helps passing and shooting, for example. To increase upper body explosiveness, the medicine ball is a highly useful tool. Strength and conditioning specialist Ramon Williams of the Parisi Speed School in New Jersey recommends adding medicine ball chest passes, overhead throws, slams and backward overhead throws along with clapping pushups into your routine.
When performing explosive exercises, form is key. Your focus should not be on the amount of weight you're lifting. You need to perform every rep as powerfully as possible, while maintaining perfect technique. In "Complete Conditioning for Basketball," the National Basketball Conditioning Coaches Association writes that plyometric moves with proper form will reduce your risk of injury and help you learn how to move your body in the most efficient manner. Do one running drill and two exercises for the lower body and one for the upper body in each session. For each exercise, perform five to eight sets, with three to five reps in each set, while focusing on generating maximum power. Do this as a stand-alone session or before a weightlifting workout or team practice.