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Agility Training for Soccer
By Patrick Beith, CSCS, PES, USATF Lv. II
With soccer season coming up and the agility conditioning of your athletes is unknown, are you looking for new exercises to have your team explode onto the scene?
Fortunately, there are 10 tried-and-true exercises that are guaranteed to get your players ready and in late-season shape in no-time!
1) Funnel Drill
Need 6 cones. The first 2 cones are next to each other 2 yards apart. Place the cones 3 and 4, 3 yards away form the first 2 and separate them 4 yards apart. Cones 5 and 6 are going to be 3 yards away from cones 3 and 4, and they will be separated 6 yards apart. The cones should form a shape of a funnel.
To start this drill, you should stand in an athletic position in front of cone #1. On a command of a coach or training partner, laterally shuffle to cone #2. Touch the top of cone 2 then sprint diagonally to cone #3, touch, then shuffle to cone #4. Touch cone #4 then sprint diagonally to cone #5, touch and laterally shuffle to cone #6. Touch cone #6 then sprint forward 5 yards to the finish line.
***Progressions: There are many different variations to this drill. You can add different cuts and moves to the funnel pattern. You can add different commands (audible or visual) to start the drill or to have the athlete perform different movements. To make this drill even more challenging, you can add an opponent or a ball, while making sure you are not compromising the technique of the drill.
2) 5-10-5 (Pro Agility)
There are three cones set-up 5 yards apart. The athlete starts at the middle cone (cone #2) facing the cone with cones #1 & #3 on the right and left side. The athlete turns and sprints 5 yards to cone #1, plants and runs 10 yards past cone #2 to cone 3. The athlete plants again and runs 5 yards back to the start (at cone #2).
Set the cones up to look like a T. The athlete starts at the bottom of the T (cone #1). Sprint forward 10 yards to cone #2. At the cone side shuffle left 5 yards to cone #3. Plant at cone #3 and side shuffle 10 yards to cone #4. Plant again at cone #4 and side shuffle 5 yards back to cone #2. Cut at cone #2 and sprint back to the beginning to cone #1.
Set the cones up in a square pattern with each cone 10 yards apart. The athlete starts at cone #1 and sprints 10 yards to cone #2. At cone #2 the athlete plants and sprints diagonally to cone #4. Cut at cone #4 and sprint 10 yards up to cone #3. At cone #3 the athlete plants again and sprints diagonally back to cone #1.
5) Tennis Ball Drop
A coach or training partner holds a tennis ball shoulder height. When the ball is released, you must catch the ball before it bounces a second time. The coach/training partner can change the distance they are standing or change the height of where they drop the tennis ball.
Variety: By changing your starting position, you can make this drill more challenging. Positions: athletic stance, push-up position, on one knee, athletic position faced sideways, only have the athlete shuffle to get the ball, opponents (first one to catch the ball wins).
6) Ali Shuffle
Start with your right foot in the first box facing the ladder from the side. Now rotate your hips quickly and replace your right foot with your left foot. Your right foot is now outside of the ladder. Rotate your hips quickly again and bring your right foot into the second box (this will move your left foot out of the first box and outside of the ladder). Repeat sequence to the end of the ladder.
7) Icky Shuffle
Starting on the right side of the ladder, take a side step with your left foot in the first box of the ladder. The right foot follows and steps in the same box while the left foot takes a lateral step outside the ladder. The right foot then advances up to next box and is quickly replaced by the left foot, while the right foot is stepping laterally outside the ladder. Repeat sequence to the end of the ladder.
8) Brake Run
The left foot will start in the first box of the ladder and the right foot will head into the second box. Repeat this sequence until you are halfway through the ladder. At the halfway point, now you are placing two feet in each box until the end of the ladder. Repeat leading with your right foot next set.
9) In/Out Lateral
Start facing sideways towards ladder with your right foot in the first box. Quickly place your left foot in the same box. You right foot then moves out of the ladder and the left foot follows. The right foot leads into the second box and the left foot follows in the same box. Repeat sequence to the end of the ladder. Next set lead with your left foot.
Start sideways at the beginning of the ladder. Your right foot will move into the first box where your left foot will follow. Your right foot will lead all the way to the end of the ladder placing both feet in each box. Repeat facing the opposite direction with your left foot leading.
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