Agility is a crucial element in just about any sport and using these best ladder drills for basketball can dramatically improve your game. We all know basketball is a game of constantly changing direction. For most of us, the movements in basketball are not natural and require some training. Agility ladder drills are a key element to developing that range of motion, quickness, and directional changing that is so important in the game. Here is the most complete list we can possibly create for ladder drills. However, there are so many variations you can do to increase efficiency.
- 1 Efficiently Adding Agility Drills In Practice
- 2 The Best Ladder Drills For Basketball
- 2.1 BEGINNER LADDER DRILLS
- 2.1.1 1. Two-Foot Run
- 2.1.2 1-B. Two-Foot Double Run
- 2.1.3 2. Ladder Taps
- 2.1.4 3. Lateral Single Leg Hops
- 2.1.5 4. Single Leg Forward Hops
- 2.1.6 5. Two Foot Lateral Run
- 2.1.7 6. Fight Shuffle
- 2.1.8 7. Skier Jumps
- 2.1.9 8. Carioci Shuffle
- 2.1.10 9. Lateral In-In-Out-Out
- 2.1.11 10. Two-Foot Lateral Hops In-Out
- 2.2 INTERMEDIATE LADDER DRILLS
- 2.3 ADVANCED LADDER DRILLS FOR BASKETBALL
- 2.3.1 1. In-In-Out-Out
- 2.3.2 2. Icky Shuffle (In-In-Out)
- 2.3.3 3. Icky Shuffle Variation (In-In-Out-Out)
- 2.3.4 4. Heisman Shuffle
- 2.3.5 5. 2-In-2-Out Lateral Weave
- 2.3.6 6. Forward Backward Hop
- 2.3.7 7. Cross Behind
- 2.3.8 8. Backward Cross-In-Front
- 2.3.9 9. Quarter Turns
- 2.3.10 10. Two-Forward One-Back Hops
- 2.3.11 11. Hopscotch
- 2.3.12 12. Single-Double Rotations
- 2.1 BEGINNER LADDER DRILLS
- 3 Wrapping It Up
Efficiently Adding Agility Drills In Practice
Every coach is limited in time with the players, so how do you efficiently and effectively sneak ladder drills into an already packed practice? The key lies in combining the ladder portion with another drill you’re already going to do. For example, a youth team will likely practice layups at some point right? You can efficiently put a ladder drill out near half court and have players then sprint to do a layup after finishing the ladder drill. It only adds a few more seconds, but can massively increase the positive outcome of the drill. It’s these subtle additions that can make a huge impact long term on player development. Think of a few unique and creative ways you can incorporate these ladder drills for basketball into practice.
Check out this video for some clever ideas of incorporating agility drills into practice:
The Best Ladder Drills For Basketball
We found this amazing YouTube video documenting the 30 best ladder drills and we’re breaking down each of them in this article. These will bring incredible results to your team, and if you incorporate them within other drills as mentioned above, you an kill two birds with one stone. Here’s the video:
BEGINNER LADDER DRILLS
1. Two-Foot Run
This is the most basic ladder drill. Simply run forward from one end to the other tapping one foot in each square of the ladder as you go. You can vary the difficulty by bring your knees up to your chest while you run.
1-B. Two-Foot Double Run
The same concept as the two-foot run, except for one thing. This time, you tap both feet inside the same box before moving on to the next. You can vary the difficulty by bring your knees up to your chest while you go.
2. Ladder Taps
Have players start so the side of the ladder is in between their feet. Take a step forward and have the inside foot (closest to the ladder) tap inside the first box. Continue moving forward tapping in each box with the closest foot. Repeat for both sides.
3. Lateral Single Leg Hops
Start with the your body lined up with the side of the ladder. Hop forward and inside one box. Then hop outside the ladder in between the first and second box. Next, hop back inside the ladder into the second box. Repeat both directions with both legs.
4. Single Leg Forward Hops
Start facing the ladder as normal. Using only one foot, hop into the first box and then into the next. Use the same foot for all jumps going down. Repeat with the other foot. Increase the difficulty by going backwards with both feet after going forward.
5. Two Foot Lateral Run
Turn sideways so the ladder is on the right side of your body going away from you. Step into the ladder with your right foot in a shuffling motion. Simultaneously move your right foot out of the square and move your left foot in to replace it. Repeat all the way down and back for one rep to work both left and right. Again, the high-knee variation on this drill can add some extra difficulty if needed.
6. Fight Shuffle
Get into a fighting stance while facing the side of the ladder. (A fighting stance is one leg in front of the other while your body is facing mostly forward, but slightly rotated). Hop forward with only your lead foot tapping into the first box. Hop backward out of the box. Then, move down and hop into box 2 again only tapping your lead foot into the box.
7. Skier Jumps
Start off slightly off-set on the ladder on the left side. Jump over the ladder landing your left foot inside the first box and your right foot just outside the ladder. Then, jump back the other direction over the ladder again. This time, land your right foot inside the second box and left foot just outside the ladder. Repeat all the way down and add the backwards direction for difficulty.
8. Carioci Shuffle
Turn sideways in front of the ladder. Put your inward foot (closest to the ladder) in the first box. Then step over with your outside foot into the second box. Next, bring your inward foot around to the third box. This time, take your outside foot behind your inward foot to the fourth box. This creates a a sideways shuffle motion. Repeat both directions to work both sides. This drill is very similar to the Lateral Cross-Over Shuffle. The big difference is the swing behind the foot half way through.
9. Lateral In-In-Out-Out
As with all lateral drills, you are going to move sideways down the ladder. This is similar to the Basic Gallop except on the side of the ladder. Start by putting your inside foot into the first square followed by outside foot. Then, bring the inside foot outside the ladder followed by the outside foot. Repeat into the next square and until the end. Do this for both directions.
10. Two-Foot Lateral Hops In-Out
Start facing the ladder as you do for single leg hops. Jump with both feet together into the first box. Then, jump out of the ladder with both feet together. Next, jump back into the second box with both feet together. Repeat.
RECOMMENDED: Basketball Drills For Beginners
INTERMEDIATE LADDER DRILLS
1. High Knee Run
This is simply the Two-Foot Double Run but including a high knee movement with each step.
2. Straddle Squat Hops
Players face the ladder and get into good defensive position. Their butts should be down and feet spread about shoulder width apart. Have players hop outside the ladder. Then, they hop into the first box of the ladder with both feet, maintaining good defensive position throughout. Repeat going backwards for additional difficulty.
3. Quick Hopscotch
Face the ladder and hop into the first box with one foot. Then hop outside the ladder landing on both feet, but keeping your body centered over the ladder. Then, jump into the second box with your opposite foot. Next, jump outside the box again. Repeat.
4. Two-Foot Lateral Hop
Start on the side of the ladder, but keep the ladder facing forward. Hop with both feet into the first box. Next, hop outside the ladder opposite from the side you hopped in. Then, jump back inside the second box and out again on the opposite side. Repeat.
5. Ali Shuffle
Similar to the Fight Shuffle, line your body up laterally to the ladder. Tap one foot inside the first box. Then simultaneously move your forward foot back out of the box and tap outside the ladder while you also bring the back foot forward and tapping inside the box. You want a fluid motion of moving both feet while you hop in the air. Repeat all the way down.
6. 180-Degree Rotations
Start facing away from the ladder with one foot inside the first box and the other foot outside. Jump up and rotate around 180 degrees so you face forward. You should also swing your feet around so your inside foot always stays in the next box as you go down the ladder.
7. Jumping Jack Variation
Very similar to the Straddle Squat Hops. However, this includes a jumping jack motion for your upper body.
ADVANCED LADDER DRILLS FOR BASKETBALL
Start facing the ladder. Put your right foot in the box first followed by your left foot in the same box. Then, take your right foot and bring it outside the ladder on the right. Then take your left foot and bring it outside the ladder on the left. Now move forward and put your right foot inside the second box followed by your left. Repeat.
2. Icky Shuffle (In-In-Out)
Start normally facing the ladder. Put your right foot in the box first followed by your left foot in the same box. Then, take your right foot and bring it outside the ladder on the right. The left foot moves forward to the next box and your right foot (which is outside the ladder) comes next into the same box as the left. Now the left foot goes outside the ladder while the right moves forward. The left foot jumps in the same box as the right. Now you repeat by moving the right foot outside the ladder again. Add difficulty by doing it backwards on the return trip.
3. Icky Shuffle Variation (In-In-Out-Out)
Start as you did for the regular Icky Shuffle. Only this time when you tap the outside foot on the outside of the ladder, also tap the inside foot next to it. So both feet should tap inside a box and then outside a box.
4. Heisman Shuffle
Nearly identical to the Icky Shuffle Variation above. However, the key difference is when you reach the outside of the ladder, raise the inside knee to mimic the Heisman move. Then continue shuffling to the next box. The full drill starts on the outside then taps both feet inside the box, then both feet outside the box with the high knee at the outside.
5. 2-In-2-Out Lateral Weave
Start in the lateral position facing the ladder. Tap one foot inside the first box. Then tap the other foot inside the same box while simultaneously moving the first foot across the ladder and outside it.Bring the second foot out to match the first foot (outside the ladder). And simultaneously move the first foot to tap backward into the second box. Follow with the second foot and simultaneously move the first foot backward outside the ladder. Repeat.
6. Forward Backward Hop
This drill is the same motion as the 2-In-2-Out Lateral Weave. The only difference is now you hop with both feet together inside and then outside the boxes. Repeat down and back.
7. Cross Behind
This one is a bit tricky. Start just like the Icky Shuffle. Only this time, cross your outside leg behind your inside leg and step into the box. Then bring the inside leg around and tap outside the ladder again. Bring the foot currently inside the box out to match the other. Repeat using the new outside leg crossing behind and into the box.
8. Backward Cross-In-Front
Start like the Icky Shuffle, only face backwards because you will be going backward for this drill. Do nearly the exact same motion as the Cross Behind except the outside leg can cross in front of your inside leg now. Follow that with the inside leg going behind the other leg and tapping outside the ladder. Now bring the foot inside the box out to match the other. Repeat using the new outside leg crossing in front of the other and into the box.
9. Quarter Turns
Start with one leg inside the first box and the other leg behind the ladder so your body is facing the side. Rotate your body 90 degrees so your outside leg taps outside the ladder just next to your other foot. Now continue rotating the same foot to land inside the second box. Now rotate the behind leg 90 degrees outside the ladder and tap just next to inside foot. Repeat the rotation.
10. Two-Forward One-Back Hops
Start normally by the first box. Jump with both feet up to the second box and land in it. Immediately hop backward one box. Now again hop forward up two boxes again (skip the in between box) and then hop backward one. Repeat.
Just like the game, start behind the ladder as always. Hop on one foot forward two boxes (jumping in each box). Then hop forward but now land both feet outside the ladder completely. Next, hop forward into the open box with the opposite foot and go forward two boxes. Repeat.
12. Single-Double Rotations
Start normally facing the ladder. Hop into the first box on one foot then immediately rotate your body 90 degrees so your other foot lands in the second box as your body faces the side. Now hop on the second foot and rotate your body 180 degrees the opposite direction and lands in the third box. Repeat this rotation all the way down.
Wrapping It Up
So here is the video one more time showing the best ladder drills for basketball:
It’s even more important to have agility these days than even vertical jump. Steph Curry is lighting up the NBA not by being the most explosive leaper, but by being the quickest (and most creative) player with the ball. It goes the show how much basketball is shifting to a “skill” game versus a talent game. Agility is one area that can separate you from the masses of “epic leapers” and still make you very competitive in every game.