The Playmaker Project

Speed Training | Basketball Players | 4 Week Free Training Program | Defense Wins Championships

Speed Training Article Mission Brief:  The Goal of this article is to provide basketball players with a Free 4 Week basketball training program focused on improving speed and dynamic athleticism when playing on the ball defense.


● Improve Gameday “On-Ball” Defense Speed. Specifically, improve your Ability to sustain near Max Slide Velocity over and over.
● Activate more Fast Twitch Muscle Fibers
● Increase Time to Exhaustion by at Least 33%
● Strengthen Tendons
● Improve Lateral Agility
● Improve Peak Power
● Lower Stress
● Boost Immune System


This program is 4x days a week for 4 weeks. The 4th week is a rest and recovery week. 2 days of the Week you will be doing Iso-Explosiveness training, 2 days of the week you will be doing Dynamic Athleticism training. The program is science-based and the program is focused on Results.

Have Fun and Enjoy getting Better!


The problem with most on the ball defensive training is that coaches focus strictly on conditioning for man to man defense. Conditioning is a Factor in your man-to-man defense ability but more importantly, is your Dynamic Athleticism. This is your athletic ability to stay in front of your defender no matter his/her size or speed. This program trains that!

Defense Wins Championships. Nuff saidLEBRON STORY: THE BLOCK

It was Game 7. Through nearly 333 minutes played in the 2016 Finals, the cumulative score between Cleveland and Golden State was 699 to 699. The first to 700 would end up winning it all. And getting there was exhausting and excruciating. For the next two and half minutes, tense and tired offense met resolute defense. Nine shots went up between the two teams and nine shots went awry. LeBron missed three times, falling into the isolation that is a signature of high-pressure moments. But Curry missed too, as did Thompson, Green, and Iguodala.

There were no timeouts called. Back and forth they went, the building tensing each time a shot went into the air. In Cleveland more than 15,000 were watching inside Quicker Loans arena, squeezing into seats around the construction of the stage for the Republican National Convention. Outside, thousands more watched on giant screens, craning out of parking decks, and herding around televisions at bars across downtown. Each shot meant tension and release as it missed.

The ninth miss came on a floater by Irving with two minutes left and the scoreboard still locked 89-89.

Iguodala picked up his dribble and tossed a chest pass ahead to Curry, who caught the pass and immediately fed it right back, bouncing the ball off the floor as he followed the fundamentals of executing a fast break. Iguodala caught it in stride on his way to the hoop. At this point, Smith was scrambling to defend both players, and committing a foul wouldn’t have been the worst decision. Because of the pass, Iguodala had an angle on him.

What Smith didn’t see was James in a dead sprint to get back into the play. One of the fastest ever to play because of long strides, James made up ground but was still three or four feet behind as Iguodala took to the air with the ball in his right hand. Smith struck his hands straight up, not fouling, and Iguodala adjusted, moving around him to get a clear shot.

It was clear. And then it wasn’t…

James came steaming into the lane, zooming past Curry with his eyes wide in a mix of determination and desperation. He flung both hands into the air, not knowing what the crafty Iguodala was going to do, which side of the basket he was going to go to. But Smith in addition to slowing Iguodala slightly, shielded the approaching James from Iguodala’s view and he never say it coming.

It happened so fast that people in the arena couldn’t even clearly see what took place. James pinned Iguodala’s shot against the backboard. It went from a sure hoop, and a Warriors lead on their home floor, to nothing…James had executed chase down blocks dozens of times over the years, but nothing like this. It may have instantly become the greatest play of his career. It combined all his talents – his speed, his size, his athleticism, his competitiveness, his intelligence—to size up the angles and close the distance. He’d gotten a matchup with Curry and tried to exploit it, but his touch was off. Iguodala came out with the ball and tore off to the other hand, trying to manufacture a scoring chance with speed. It was a smart play—the Cavs were sluggish—and it quickly turned into a two-on-one fast break with Iguadala speeding down the floor along with Curry and only Smith back for the Cavs.

“I would definitely rank it No. 1” James told Business Insider later that summer. “Just because of the magnitude of the game, what was going on at that point in the game and I had to run through a couple of guys, and get around a couple of guys to get to that position. You know, it was a big moment, not only for that particular moment in the game but for Cleveland sports history. Now that you can kind of look back on it, a lot of people are saying that.  For me, I think a lot of people will base a game-winning jump shot, or a dunk, or something that happened offensively {as their most memorable play}. For a staple play for my legacy to be a block, something defensively to help us win, that’s the ultimate for me.”

It would become known as “The Block.



Many players lean their torso in the direction they are moving. When you’re doing defensive slides and start leaning and your man changes direction, it takes too much time for you (to change direction) and slide.

If you keep your torso centered while you’re moving your feet, you’re ready to go either direction your opponent might take you. You need to think about staying in the middle. The upper half of your body needs to stay centered and balanced


Never let your opponent get comfortable. One of the best ways to do that is to keep a good lower-body form when sliding, but also make sure your hands are straight harassing the ball-handler.

“You want to keep your hands active, all the time. Up, down, side to side, jabbing at the ball.


Many young players, when doing defensive slides, don’t have their feet wide enough apart, so they don’t get as low as they should.  If you keep your feet further apart, you have a wider base so your man can’t change direction. Keep your base wide, and if your opponent changes direction, then you are still with them.

Widening your base when doing defensive slides might be a little uncomfortable at first, but it is the best way to play lockdown defense.
Keep your feet really wide apart, even as you stride.

☑ Swipe Relentlessly
☑ Drive the Opposing Player into Traffic
☑ Have this Mantra Rolling through your Head. “My opponent will do one of three things. I will make him pass, make him turn it over, or make him quit.”ATTACKING THE ATTACKER

Former Arkansas basketball Coach Nolan Richardson is one of my favorite basketball coaches of all time. His story about the adversity he overcame as a black coach in a racist state like Arkansas is really inspiring

Arkansas’s basketball program was crappy before he got there and it has been crappy ever since he left.

Yet somehow he led Arkansas to the National title in the mid 1990’s.

How did he do this?


When Richardson coached the Razorbacks they would put their opponents through Hell. They would be on you for the ENTIRE GAME, 94 Feet, constantly….

Most teams would say that is “40 Minutes of Hell”. It’s how they played basketball. Pressure, Pressure, Pressure….

Check out this Training Video on how you can bring this Mentality to all aspects of your life here.


Your 4 Week training program consists of 2 components:

✔ Dynamic Athleticism Training: Do This 2x a Week
✔ Iso-Explosiveness Training: Do This 2x a Week


1. Do 3 Fire Hydrants with Each Leg
2. Start at the Center of the Free Throw Line
3. Drop into your Defensive Position as Fast as you Can
4. Squeeze your Abs, and Glutes as Hard as you Can
5. Slide to the Right Elbow and then Slide Back to the Left Elbow as Fast as you Can
6. Rest 10 Seconds and then Repeat going the Opposite Way
7. Do this 6x
8. Rest 3 Minutes
9. You have just completed 1 set. Do 3x to 6x sets in total.
10. Stretch your Hip Flexors for 30 Seconds Each Side.

See Instagram Video of This Movement


1. Do 3 Fire Hydrants with Each Leg.
2. Drop into your Defensive Position as Fast as you Can.
3. Squeeze your Abs, and Glutes as Hard as you Can for 6 Seconds.
4. Rest 10 Seconds and then Repeat.
5. Do this 6x.
6. Rest 3 Minutes and then Repeat.
7. You have just completed 1 set. Do 3x to 6x sets in total.

8. Stretch your Hip Flexors for 30 Seconds Each Side before doing the V-UP HOLD.SINGLE LEG V-UP HOLD

1. Place your palms and feet on the floor and your butt in the air, legs straight, hands as close to your feet as possible, so you are in an inverted V position.
2. Raise on your toes as high as possible, tuck your chin.
3. SQUEEZE YOUR GLUTES AND ABS as HARD as Possible for 6 Seconds.
4. Rest for 10 Seconds.
5. Repeat 5x.
6. You have just completed 1 set. Do 3x to 6x sets in total.


Raising the temperature of water by one extra degree means the difference between something that is simply very hot and something that generates enough force to power a machine— this metaphor should be on the front of your mind every defensive possession. Consistently pushing us to make the extra effort in every possession, every closeout, every slide.

It reminds us that seemingly small things can make tremendous differences. I want you to attack each rep. in this program at a 212 degree intensity. This will get you better. This will get you dominant.

At 211°, water is HOT.
At 212°, it BOILS.
And with boiling water, comes STEAM. And steam can power a LOCOMOTIVEIt’s your Defensive Game. You are responsible for your results.
It’s time to turn up the heat.

CONCLUSIONAs an athletic trainer and sports performance coach Tim Grover is someone that I have always looked up to.

Grover of course is the performance architect who trained Michael Jordan, Dwayne Wade, and Kobe Bryant. I want to end this program with a quote from his book Relentless.

“Every Dream you Imagine, everything you see and hear and feel in your sleep, that’s not a fantasy, that’s your deep instinct telling you it can all be real. Follow those visions, dreams and desires and believe what you know. Only you can turn those dreams into reality. Never Stop until you do. The greatest battles you will ever fight are with yourself, and you must always be your toughest opponent. Always demand more of yourself than others demand of you. Be honest with yourself, and you’ll be able to meet every challenge with confidence and the deep belief that you are prepared for everything. Life can be complicated; the truth is not. I truly believe I have zero limitations. You should believe the same about yourself. Listen to your instincts. They’re telling you the truth. I want the satisfaction of knowing every move I make takes me further than anyone else has ever gone and drives me. Whatever drives you, let it take you where you want to
be. Everything you want can be yours. Be Relentless. Done. Next.”

Just reading that fires me up, let’s do this!

I have a favor to ask? I love feedback because helps me get better. Please DM me on Instagram, or comment below and let me know your questions about the program, and what else I can do to help you be successful.

Let’s get better today,
Coach Jackson

Coach Jackson
Coach Jackson
Master’s Degrees in Education (Specializing in the Work of Abraham Maslow and Human Potential) and an MBA in International Leadership and Coaching. He is a N.A.S.E certified Speed and Explosion Specialist and Optimize Coach.
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