No matter the sport, quick feet can be the difference between a good athlete and a great one. There are endless drills that can be done to improve a player's foot speed, and here are a few that will help you in any sport.
Things You'll Need
- Good cross-trainers or cleats
- Rope or tires
- Plenty of water
Tires. You've all seen the old football movies where players are running through tires, and guess what: it really works. High-stepping through tires or outstretched string forces the athlete to get their knees up, be precise with their feet, stay on the balls of their feet and keep their balance. To keep the athlete on the balls of his feet, try having him backpedal back to the starting point instead of just jogging.
The square. Set up four cones in a 10 x 10-foot square. Have the player start by shuffling (side-stepping) from left to right along the outside of one side of the square. Once she gets to the end, have them backpedal, then shuffle back the other way, right to left, and then have her sprint to the front and repeat. Depending on age and ability, have the player do this anywhere from five to 12 times. Make sure the player takes short steps as she shuffles and that she doesn't cross their feet. Also make sure as the player gets tired, that she keeps her knees bent and her torso upright.
The grid. There are endless drills that can be done with the grid and here are just a few. Set up six cones in a straight line a yard apart from each other. Then set up a cone on either side of the grid about a yard and a half away. These will be the “marker cones.” Have the player shuffle diagonally back and forth between the cones, going all the way to the marker cones. Have them go through the whole grid and then backpedal back to the starting point. Run the player through the drill 6 to 10 times. Make sure the player is taking short, swift steps and that they are not crossing their feet. Make sure the knees are bent and the player is low to the ground.
Hopping. Have the player hop over the cones in the grid, and then backpedal back to the starting point outside of the marker cones. Make sure his feet are together and that he is getting air with every hop. Have the player do this 15 times. Five with both feet, five hopping on the right foot and five hopping on the left foot.
Sprint back. Have the player line up facing the grid in line with the marker cone. The player will sprint forward through the first two cones of the grid until she is in line with the other marker cone, then backpedal directly back through the same cone. Have her step to the side and go through the next cones. After they make their way through the whole grid, have the player take an easy jog back to the starting point and repeat. Let the player go through three times and then take a 60-second break. After going through three more times, take a two-minute break and then go through six more times with a 30-second break after the third set.Make sure the player's torso is upright and their knees are bent. As they get tired, they will tend to lean forward and backward, or not go all the way to the cone. Make sure their legs are doing the work, and make sure they go all the way to the marker cones.
Tips & Warnings
- There are literally thousands of other drills or variations of these drills that can be done to increase foot speed. These drills are a good starting point for any sport, but make sure foot-speed workouts are different each time.
- Make sure the player stretches before and after. These particular drills all isolate one or two muscle groups and cramping can occur if the player is not properly stretched.
- Stay hydrated. Whether it's indoors or outdoors, staying hydrated is always important in a training session like this one. Make sure the player takes constant water throughout the session. This will also help prevent cramping.
- Always consult a physician before committing to any strenuous activities.
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