15 Youth Speed Training Drills  
for Basketball Players

basketball conditioning drills

Try these 15 youth speed training drills guaranteed to improve your quickness, agility, and reaction time. These speed and agility sports training drills will help you get up and down the court faster.

Speed can make a huge difference come game time!

The ability to beat your opponent to a loose ball, sprint back in time to stop the fast break, or push the ball down court for a breakaway lay-up could mean the difference between winning and losing.

Don't worry if you weren't born with the quickest set of feet or reaction times because research shows that speed can be developed.

The secret is a good youth speed training program!

Ready to improve your speed and quickness? Give these speed and agility training drills a try!

The first group of drills concentrate on improving your reaction speed with your hands and feet, and they require working with a partner.

The last group of sports training drills focus on improving your running and directional speed of movement. The nature of the game of game basketball demands players to be able to move quickly in all directions, so these drills will help you move your entire body forward, backward, sideways with greater speed. You can do them on your own without a partner.

Youth Speed and Agility Training Drills

1. Mirror Your Partner

Stand on the baseline and have your partner stand at the free throw line facing you. 

Sprint forward toward your partner while he backpedals. 

Stop and backpedal as your partner stops and sprints forward toward you. 

Work your way up the court going backward and forward.


2. Quick Step

Get in a defensive stance facing your partner. Your partner points in a direction, and you react by taking a quick first step in that direction.

Just take one step, bring your foot back to the starting position, and get ready to go again.

For even more fun and a greater challenge, add a SKLZ Reaction Belt Breakaway Trainer to the drill.

These belts are similar to flag football belts, and they each have a Velcro strip at the end that attaches both belts together.

youth speed training

SKLZ Reaction Belt Breakaway Trainer 

Partners begin by standing directly in front of and facing each other.

One partner stries to mimic the movements of the other by following his moves from one side or the other. If he reacts too slowly or moves in the wrong direction, the belts will break apart.

Your kids will have fun with this very challenging and fun youth speed training drill!

3. Quick Hands

Get in a defensive stance facing your partner.

Your partner points in a direction as if passing, and you react by sticking your hand quickly out in the passing lane.

sports training - reaction ball

This youth speed training drill gets a lot more fun and challenging when you add a reaction ball to it.

speed and agility training

Reaction balls are high-bounce rubber balls with 6 sides that bounce unpredictably in all directions. They can be used on all hard surfaces and walls.

They are awesome for general sports training and help improve hand-eye coordination, quickness of hands and feet, and reaction time no matter what sport you play. 

You can have a partner toss the ball to you or you can toss it against a wall to yourself.


4. Move on Command

Get in a defensive stance.

Your partner gives you a directional command, and you move quickly in that direction.

The commands can include sprint, slide, carioca, backpedal, quick feet, jump, hit the floor, etc.


5. Blind Toss

Stand in a defensive stance with your partner behind you.

Your partner tosses a tennis ball over one of your shoulders without you looking, and you have to sprint and catch it before it bounces twice.


6. Dodge Ball Against a Wall

dodge ball

Stand against a wall and have your partner try to hit you with a soft dodge ball while you quickly dodge out of the way.

Have your partner throw high and low and side to side, so you can practice bending, jumping, and moving quickly in all directions.


7. Gears

high school basketball court

Use the free throw, half-court, free throw, and full-court lines.

Start at one baseline and change your speed between each line.

Run slow (1st gear), 1/2 speed (2nd gear), 3/4 speed (3rd gear) and full speed (4th gear). 

Mix up the order of the speeds on each trip.

8. T-Drill

Start at the baseline under the basket and sprint up the middle of the court to half-court.

Slide sideways to the right sideline, touch it with your right hand and slide all the way across to the left sideline.

Touch the line with your left hand, and slide back to center court.

Backpedal back to the start.

You should make the shape of the letter "T."


9. Half-Square Carioca

Start on the baseline in the right hand corner.

Sprint to half-court, reverse pivot, and carioca across the half-court line to the left sideline.

Reverse pivot when you reach the sideline and backpedal to the baseline.

Reverse pivot and carioca back to the start.


10. Triangle Drill

Start on the baseline in the left hand corner.

Sprint up the sideline to half-court, make a sharp turn and sprint at a 45 degree angle back to the baseline to the right hand corner.

Make a sharp turn and sprint down the baseline to the start.

You should make a right-triangle.


11. Zig-Zag Run

sports training - cones

Place cones in a zig-zag pattern up the court about the width of the key and about 3-4 feet apart.

Sprint diagonally to the first cone, plant your outside foot, and run around the cone to the next one.

Continue zig-zagging around each cone until the end.


12. High Skips

Try to skip as high as possible while driving hard with the arms and driving the knee upward as high as you can.


13. Long Skips

Try to skip as high and as far as possible while driving the knee upward as high as you can.

Drive hard with your arms, too.


14. High Knees

Run while lifting your knees high into the air.

Drive hard with your arms and move your legs up and down as quickly as you can.


15. Carioca

Face sideways with your left shoulder toward the court and your feet about shoulder-width apart.

  • Step with your right foot over the left leg.
  • Step with the left foot to the left.
  • Step with the right foot behind the left leg.
  • Step with the left foot to the left.
  • Step with your right foot over the left leg.
  • Repeat the steps, alternating crossing in front and behind.

View FREE videos with more youth speed training drills

Youth speed training is just one part of your overall conditioning for basketball. Try some of our other basketball conditioning drills that will definitely help your game.

If your interested in youth speed training, you might also be interested in the following topics:

Basketball Agility

Strength Training

Resistance Bands

Add Up to 12 Inches to Your Vertical Jump!


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