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Basketball Drills for Girls

These Basketball Drills Can Help Prevent Injuries in Girls

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Updated December 08, 2010

Girls who play basketball can improve performance and reduce risk of injuries by doing these basketball drills. The best basketball drills help improve muscle strength and stability, coordination, speed, and shooting technique.

1. Jump Training Instruction Drills

Basketball Jump Drills
photo (c) Darren McNamara / Getty Images

Learning proper jump technique can dramatically decrease knee injuries in girls who play basketball. Women generally have a greater Q-angle than men, and will often land a jump with the knees rolling inward (a higher knee valgus angle). This increased angle can lead to an increased risk of knee ligament injuries in women. Learning to land a jump with the knees properly aligned is the first step to preventing injuries in any sport that requires a lot of jumping.

Also see: ACL Injury Prevention Training Program

2. High Jump Drills

High Jump Drills
Nick White/ Getty Images

Once girls know the proper way to jump and land without the knees rolling inward, jump training using simple drills, such as the tuck jump, can improve agility and power for basketball.

How to Do High Jumps

  • Stand with feet shoulder width and knees slightly bend
  • Bend your knees and powerfully jump straight up bringing your knees toward your chest.
  • Grasp your knees quickly with your arms and let go.
  • Land softly and keep knees aligned with hips and feet (avoid rolling inward or outward)
  • Upon landing, sink down to a squat and repeat the next jump.
  • Build up repetitions slowly, starting with 3 and working up to 12 reps)

3. Balance Skills Training

Single-Leg Balance
Photo (c) B2M Productions / Getty Images

Researchers have found that athletes who can't balance with their eyes closed for ten seconds while standing barefoot on one foot are significantly more likely to have an ankle sprain. But simply practicing balance training can reduce the risk of ankle injuries during all sports. Because ankle sprains are one of the most common basketball injuries, girls should add these two drills to their workout routine:

  1. Practice balancing on one foot for five minutes, 3-5 times each week. 
  2. In addition, girls should practice balancing on one foot with eyes closed for 10 seconds up to a minute, several times per week.

4. The One-Leg Squat-and-Reach Drill

One Leg Squat and Reach
Photo � E Quinn

The one-leg squat-and-reach exercise helps girls improve dynamic (moving) balance, while improving ankle and gluteus muscle strength, and core stability. Girls who play basketball can use this drill to challenge the muscles that are used during dribbling and shooting.

How To Do the One-Leg Squat and Reach

  1. Stand on one foot and squat down and reach forward to touch an object on the floor in front of you. 
  2. Return to the start position without loosing balance. 
  3. Repeat the drill 10-15 times per leg and switch sides.

5. Forward - Backward Sprints

Sprint training
photo (c) Mark Dadswell / Getty Images

Sprint training is essential for girls who play basketball. Add backward sprinting drills to develop explosive speed and quickness on the court.

How to Do Forward - Backward Sprints

  • Set up two markers about 15 yards apart.
  • After a good warm up, sprint forward from the first cone to the second.
  • Stop at the far cone and run or jog back to the start.
  • Stop and quickly accelerate in a backwards sprint to the far cone.
  • Repeat for ten repetitions.

6. Speed Ladder Drills

The speed ladder drill is a very common drill used by field and court athletes to improve foot speed and endurance.

  • Forward Running, High-Knee Drill: This drill is ideal for improving foot speed and endurance for basketball. Run with high knees forward through the ladder, touching every ladder space. Land on the balls of the feet and drive forward with your arms.
  • Lateral Running, Side-to-Side Drill: The lateral movement of this drill is great for developing foot speed and knee and ankle stability on the court. Keep a low center of gravity and step side-to-side through the ladder one foot at a time. Touch in each rung of the ladder with both feet. Land on the balls of the feet and repeat right to left and left to right.
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7. Shuttle Run Drills

The shuttle run is a standard agility and speed drill used by basketball coaches to build power and foot speed during stop-and-go sports basketball.

How To Do the Shuttle Run

  • Set up two markers about 25 yards apart.
  • Sprint from one marker to the other and back. That's one repetition.
  • There are a variety of different ways to do the shuttle run, including side-to-side runs, forward-backward runs and forward-touch-return runs.

The shuttle run is an easy way to add some high intensity drills into a basic exercise program while you build speed, stamina and endurance.

8. Dot Drills

Dot Drills are great for girls who play basketball. These drills develop dynamic leg strength and increase knee and ankle strength and stability. This is a great agility drill for learning to make quick changes of direction and landings, without getting injured.

How to Do Dot Drills

  • Use a Dot Drill Mat or place "X" marks with tape on the ground in a pattern of a Five on a Dice.
  • After a good warm up, jump from dot to dot with both feet at a time.
  • Progress to one foot hopping and follow a specific jump pattern
  • View a video of the drill on YouTube
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9. Spot Shooting Drills

Spot shooting drills are a pretty standard part of any basketball practice. Simply mark several spots on the court from which to take a shot. Have your teammate quickly pass a ball to you to take a shot. The goal is to make 5 shots in a row before moving to the next mark.

10. 3-Person Drills

This drill required three player players: a shooter, a rebounder, and a defender. The shooter moves between two and three marked spots to shoot. The rebounder passes to the shooter once she hits the target and the defender shadows the shooter's movements and attempts to block the shots. This is a very simply, but effective drill.
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