Once the swing is developed, coaches can teach the appropriate arm angle. The athlete bends the elbows to a 90- to 105-degree angle and swings the arm from the shoulder, focusing on moving the arms forward and back in a straight line. The elbow angle does not change excessively. Releasing the arm angle excessively decreases leverage power and diminishes corresponding leg drive. The hands should not move past the hips on the backswing and should never
102 ■ Developing Speed go higher than the chin or shoulder on the forward action. Athletes can practice these techniques in front of a mirror so they can self-correct their arm action. Arm action is closely linked to leg action. Effective leg action is the ability to drive the leg forward through the hips and then cycle the leg through to enable a subsequent action. This requires hip strength and mobility. Tight hips limit the ability to fully flex the knee, which shortens the stride, provides less drive, and ultimately hinders sprint speed. Sprinting is a rhythmical losing and gaining of one’s balance. Proper body lean is crucial in maximizing the efficiency of this phenomenon. The running stride can be broken down for teaching and training purposes into three drills or the ABC drills: high knee lift (A drill), foreleg reach with active pull-back (B drill), and back leg extension (C drill). The A and B drills develop the techni- cal aspects of maximal speed. However, their use with more senior athletes is limited because athletes at this level should focus on the application of speed to basketball, which requires more acceleration-based exercises. The drills that focus on running mechanics can be performed every day as part of the warm-up. Seated Arm Swing Aim To develop an effective arm action. Action The athlete sits on the ground with legs extended and pumps the arms quickly, imagining each hand is hitting a bongo drum positioned at hip height. “Beating the drum” en- courages quick, powerful arm action. The harder the arm comes back, the harder the opposite leg pushes back- ward to the next step. When proper arm action and force are applied the athlete slightly bounces off the ground. The elbow angle should not change much during the drill. Coaching Points • Emphasize the drum at the hip and keeping the arm as close to the torso as pos- sible by sliding on the shirt. • Remind players that arm action is important because arm speed governs leg speed. • Hands should come to shoulder level on the upswing and the hip on the backswing.
Basketball ■ 103 Fall Forward Aim To develop proper posture during acceleration. Action The athlete stands on the balls of the feet, with the arms at the side of the body and bent, ready to run with the first step (photo a ). From this start position, the athlete falls forward with a whole body lean into the first step of a run (photo b ).
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