Drill: Reactive Running

Reactive Running is a drill designed to emphasize speed and change of direction, while helping to develop acceleration and deceleration.

This drill is used to teach young athletes how to change direction and accelerate/decelerate while improving speed and stamina. Stopping, cutting and changing speeds quickly are all critical to a player’s ability to consistently keep opposing defenders on their toes, and these skills can also be applied to many different sports outside of basketball.

There are a few points of emphasis to focus on when running this drill. Coaches should teach athletes to lean forward and take powerful steps to speed up, and drop their hips and take quicker steps to slow down. Coaches should also challenge players with abrupt or unpredictable changes in speed. To further challenge players, feel free to implement any of the variations outlined below.

Figure 1
  • Divide the court into sections using lines or cones (see Figure 1)
  • Have the players space out along one baseline
  • Explain that you will call out “Walk”, “Jog”, “Run”, or “Sprint” at each line
  • Players move across the gym at the speed called by the coach – call out different speeds as players approach each line
SKILL FOCUS Footwork, Balance, Speed
AGE (STAGE) 6+ (FUNdamentals, L2T)
EQUIPMENT Cones (or lines on court)
VARIATION: Use different commands such as “Change direction” or “Backwards”

Add basketballs to develop dribbling skills on the move

Have the players make a cut at each line (moving down the court in a zig-zag pattern)

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