Many of my middle schooler basketball players have trouble staying on their toes. A fundamental aspect of being an athlete is founded on having active toes!
In the accompanying video I introduce some light plyometrics that are essential at building the groundwork for explosive, speed, and vertical jump training. These are especially important for basketball players at this age in order to build the foundation for the requirements of the sport and eventually more intense training.
These preliminary plyometrics set the stage for the vertical jump training program I'll be releasing in the coming month! So be on the lookout for it!
Universal Cues for Two Foot Basketball Plyometrics
Players must be able to bounce on the toe box and absorb force through the lower leg without breaking at the waist or losing body positioning. This is essential before we even begin looking to absorb greater amounts of force in a movement like the depth jump which I'll cover at a later time. Simplistically, absorbing force is essential before we look to apply it and transfer it in the other direction.
So even before you begin bouncing back and forth over the line in this video being able to simply get on the toes and spring off your toes one time may be a challenge. That's okay! Start there!!!
The goal isn't height with any of these. It's about barely getting over the line, absorbing that force and then redirecting back over the line.
Aim to not have a pause on your landing but instead rebound and redirect that force as soon as you can.
Eyes should be focused forward as they would be in the game scanning the other players and knowing where you are on the court. Looking at a basket is good to train this.
You should feel springy on these movements. This is the goal.
If you feel your form breaking down stop and regather. If it's still breaking down rest and call it a day. We never want to build sloppy motor patterns.
Bouncing backward and forward
Simply hop over line and then hop back starting on toe box, and specifically big toe side.
Follow universal cues above
Side to side
Same hop just lateral movement now
Focus on keeping weight through big toe side
Follow universal cues above
Universal Cues for One Foot Basketball Plyometrics
For the one foot variations simply bring your weight into the one leg and hold the same structural integrity outlined above for both feet.
Specifically begin all of these balancing on one leg through all 4 corners of the foot. Keep your focus and weight distribution through the toe box and especially the big toe side of the foot.
Hips extended standing straight with the glutes engaged, feeling rooted into the ground. Then begin your hops.
Remember as on the two feet don't look to jump too high or too far. Keep your center of gravity and focus on the activity of the toes. This will help you create the spring board effect.
Hopping forward and back over line
Focus on the big toe especially when you feel yourself losing balance
And remember, when you feel yourself losing your balance use that force and redirect where you're looking to land
Hopping side to side over line
When you're landing side to side there will be a tendency to land on your pinky toe side. Be sure to work on everting your foot (bringing big toe side closer to the ground) so you land more on your big toe side and have more weight distribution here. This also allows you to adequately redirect that force.
Final Thoughts on Basketball Plyometrics
These may seem too "simple" or "basic" at first, but an active toe box is the most essential aspect for an explosive athlete. Being light on your feet is something some players may be more naturally "gifted" at, but all players can train this skill. The calf and toe box is quite adaptable at building what's called power endurance. Add these into your training session and you will be well on your way to increasing your explosive capabilities on the court.