One staple in the game of basketball and conditioning has long been the jump rope. While every tool has its place, the jump rope is a tool that I use regularly for two reasons:
• The natural rhythmic pattern of having to turn the rope and jump/bounce at the same time, there is a major coordination factor involved.
• Quick contacts with the feet force athletes to stay on the front half of their foot - thus improving the "elasticity" of the lower leg (this means quicker and more explosive!).
Here are 5 of my favorite and most effective jump rope drills:
While this isn't the most exciting variation of jump roping, it's perhaps the most important. You will simply start with both feet on the ground at the same time while you're turning the rope as quickly as you possibly can. Do not underestimate the effectiveness of this drill. This is a great starting point if you aren't able to currently jump rope and if you are a master you can always work at improving your quickness.
Lateral Quick Feet
This variation is the exact same as the above drill except you're going to move side to side instead of just up and down. This will help improve your ability to move laterally. This is a great starting point for improving the foot/ankle complex to control stability (balance and control) while being quick.
With this drill you will start with your feet staggered (one foot forward and one foot backward). You will then jump up and switch the feet so that you now have your other foot forward. Continue in this pattern working at contacting the ground at the same time with both feet.
The Ali shuffle will help greatly with learning to recover with one foot forward (much like defense).
Start with one leg off the ground with the knee up toward waist height. You will hold that leg up and in position while hopping up and down on the other foot.
This drill is great for improving single-leg power and elasticity. Make sure you start with shorter times (or fewer reps) with this drill as the stress on the lower leg is MUCH higher than the double leg versions listed above. Too much single-leg jump roping can cause shin splints!
Lateral Hurdle Step
This is exactly the same as above except you are jumping side to side while on the one leg. This is very challenging as it incorporates stability in the foot/ankle complex.
Bonus Exercise - Double Jumps
If you're already good at jump roping and you're looking to improve your jumping ability one of the best drills I know are the double jumps. Start like Quick Feet except instead of doing only one turn of the rope you will make two turns of the rope each time you jump.
Because of the height you are jumping it works great at improving the power in the lower leg (picture higher jumps).
As a general rule I like jump roping drills to last about 10-30 seconds if you're trying to improve your quickness or jumping ability. As you get better, do more sets/reps of the 10-30s intervals and shrink your rest time in between sets. Below you will find a sample 10-minute program:
- Quick Feet: 3 x 30s, rest 15s between each 30s rep
- Lateral Quick Feet 3 x 30s, rest 15s between each 20s rep
- Ali Shuffle 3 x 30s, rest 15s between each 30s rep
- Hurdle Step 3 x 5s, each leg, rest 10s
- Lateral Hurdle Step 3 x 5s, each leg, rest 10s
- Double Jumps 2 x 10 (20 total)