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Importance of Footwork in Youth Basketball


Footwork is one of the most important fundamental skills in basketball. Controlled, coordinated movements strengthen a player's ability to defend opponents, make rebounds, create space for their shot and much more. Even basic basketball skills, like ball handling and dribbling, become more effective and easily learned when a player has quick, efficient footwork.


It is essential to implement footwork drills and practice proper technique at a young age. Building a solid foundation will positively impact overall athletic performance for years to come. You can bet that NBA players still devote countless hours to agility drills to maintain and improve their speed up and down the court.


The great thing about footwork is that it can be easily practiced at home! Below we have provided a routine featuring Box Drills, which are easy to set up and focus on balance, speed, quickness and movement in multiple directions.



Box Drills

Set up a square box by using 4 cones and placing them 10 yards apart from each other.


Sprint & Backpedal

Be sure to stay in control and move in straight lines between the cones. Plant hard and quick when transitioning between forward and backward movements.


  1. Start at cone 1 and sprint to cone 2

  2. At cone 2 transition into a backpedal towards cone 3

  3. At cone 3 transition into a sprint to cone 4

  4. At cone 4 transition into a backpedal to cone 1

  5. Repeat x4, resting 30 seconds in between each set



Defensive Shuffling

Similar to the drill above, but focusing on sideways movements (shuffling) instead of backpedaling. This is crucial for playing strong defense. Remember to stay low with your chest up while shuffling.


  1. Start at cone 1 and sprint to cone 2

  2. Shuffle from cone 2 to cone 3

  3. Sprint from cone 3 to cone 4

  4. Shuffle from cone 4 to cone 1

  5. Repeat x4, resting 30 seconds in between each set


*Face in the same direction throughout the entire drill so that each time you shuffle, you are leading with the opposite foot



4 Cone Test

This is the infamous "4 Cone Test" that was once used in the NFL Combine. The various movements of this drill address agility, speed, quickness, change of direction and overall body control.


  1. Start at cone 1 and sprint to cone 2

  2. Shuffle from cone 2 to cone 3

  3. Backpedal from cone 3 to cone 4

  4. At cone 4, turn to the inside of the box and sprint to cone 1

  5. Repeat x4, resting 1 minute in between each set



Always warm-up and do some dynamic stretching before going full speed in these drills. To see improvement, start implementing footwork-focused drills into your training routines a couple times per week. Spend 10 - 15 minutes on footwork before heading into ball handling exercises.


Note: the number of sets and amount of rest time can be adjusted to accommodate your desired level of difficulty.


We hope you enjoy these box drills! Get out there and EARN it!


If you have any questions about footwork technique, shoot us a message on our contact page or DM us on Instagram or Facebook.


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