Gotta take into account what you've been doing throughout the day, the day before, and even what you're eating. Other times, you're probably feeling super fast because your muscles are well-rested, you ate good, and your nervous system isn't taxed by stress or whatever, and on other days, could be the complete opposite.
1. Good meal + water 3 hours before playing
2. Take the best bathroom break possible
3. Warm up
I only stretch my legs and arms after I warm up. Otherwise I find stretching just increases injury risk for non-professional athletes.
Also, make sure you are on a solid lifting and cardio schedule to tune your body. That will help your consistency, among the other important benefits.
Also, you may not be bending your knees enough when dribbling all the time. Makes a big difference on your first step.
Solid post. Two things you mentioned I often find to be underrated: 1) Pre-game hydration and 2) Bending one's knees.
To be very honest, there's many times where I don't think much about water until my first game is coming to an end. By then, it's probably too late. There's a dramatic difference between arriving hydrated versus constantly chasing hydration.
The knees are also big for me ... in terms of actually using them. I've definitely had days where I don't warm up intensely enough, resulting in a sluggish start where I get into the habit of playing straight up i.e. not bending my knees enough when I run or dribble. I often like to bike to the basketball court or do lunges prior to activate and remind my body to stay low. The explosion I gain from bending my knees is dramatic. Suddenly I feel like everything is dunkable.
I had to quote this one more time. I often play basketball right after I get off of work. I don't usually drink very much water at work because the fountain is too cold and the sink water does not taste too great. Also, for whatever other reason, I just didn't feel like bringing in a bottle for work purposes - I'd just save one in my car for basketball.
Anyway, obviously, not drinking much at work would clearly leave me in need of water before I even do a single thing on the basketball court. As such, I decided to switch it up on Friday and tried drinking a ton while at work, maybe more than I thought I needed, prior to basketball. And as it so happens, I had my springiest day of basketball all year. I'm usually not a consistently emphatic two-foot dunker but suddenly they were going down (with two hands) with ease, alongside my regular dunk occurring with more authority.
To be clear, I've fallen for the placebo effect before. The first time I ever dunked on someone, I ate hot dogs an hour before the game, so for a while I thought whatever horribleness was inside hot dogs somehow amped me up. But I feel like the water experiment could be a stronger correlation. I'll continue hydrating and try to see what happens from here.