Lateral Movement – Mirror Drill

Coaches always want better ways to teach defense. To me, the Mirror Defense Drill is the best drill because it trains lateral movement and reactivity. In the drill below, the strength coaches demonstrate lateral movement with a rear-foot push-off as opposed to the basketball-specific step-slide. For lateral quickness, this is the best movement pattern to teach. Many basketball coaches are stuck in the old dogma and are unwilling to accept a rear-foot push-off or a crossover step because they teach defense in slow motion and from a static position.

In a game, players play defense at full speed and most movement starts with a change of direction – very rarely does a player receive a pass standing still with his defender an arm’s length away in a stationary defensive position. Instead, most on-ball defensive situations start from an off-ball situation with the defender moving to his man when he receives a pass.

The strength coach in the video below is a soccer coach and speaks about the drill’s importance for soccer, but the same things could be said for basketball.

By Brian McCormick
Author, Cross Over: The New Model of Youth Basketball Development
Director of Coaching, Playmakers Basketball Development League

4 thoughts on “Lateral Movement – Mirror Drill

  • This is a great drill… I have read a study (wish I could cite it at the moment) that details the average percentage of kinesthetic movements that a basketball player makes throughout the course of an entire game – and I found out that “Nearly 33% of the game is spent moving LATERALLY!!!” I personally use Agility Ladders, lateral resistors, and weight vests when doing these types of drills with my high school and AAU Programs… Whenever they get tired of doing them, I actually read a paragraph from the study out loud in front of all of them in the gym so they understand why exactly they are doing these types of drills. Most sports (All Sports) come back to lower body movements and explosive change of direction. As a Coach, you’re kind of crazy NOT to teach this stuff if you ask me.

  • Hi. Link isn’t working. Tried in different browsers and computers. Are you able to fix it please? Thanks.

  • Rich:
    The study is by Abdelkrim et al (2007) I believe or McInnes et al. (1995).

    Coach DR:
    Not 100% sure this is the same video, but it’s close. It should be working now.

  • I saw a highlight video of Alan Stein’s showing different uses of the Vertimax. The trainer in the video started to say “step-slide” and then quickly corrected it to “push-step” when describing the lateral acceleration segment. It was great to see this change in semantics. Alan used to use the term step-slide all the time and had drills showing it being performed in slow motion as a dynamic warmup. Even in slow motion, I think the emphasis should still be on the push and not the step. I like that he has come around. Hopefully, more coaches will come to use the term “push-step” instead of “Step-slide”.

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