6 soccer drills to teach players to improve their agility
Thursday, May 16, 2019
For soccer players, agility is a vital characteristic, almost equal to speed and strength. Developing better agility is not that difficult and does not require a lot of workout tools. We’ve put together our favorite six drills to improve soccer agility.
1. Jump Rope
As basic as it sounds, the age-old workout of jumping rope will do wonders for your agility.
For starters, it works your leg and ankle muscles primarily, which are the most important groups for soccer players. Simultaneously, you get a great cardio workout. Beyond that, jumping rope is a basic form of plyometrics, which are vital to creating agility.
Begin by focusing your efforts on getting good at the standard act of jumping rope (and not tripping over yourself). With a little practice, you should find it easy to get into a routine of several minutes or longer without messing up.
Move to jumping one-footed and rotate back and forth from foot to foot. Introduce side to side hoping for better lateral movement, and finish with hoping while twisting your hips.
Depending on how fast you move the rope, 2-3 minute intervals will work great. Rotate through these various types of rope jumping and stack several sets once you build your stamina.
2. Running Lines
Another simple exercise, running lines is often reserved as punishment for poor performance on a team, but is actually a great agility builder.
Run in 10-yard intervals, building up to the furthest distance you can go. Begin on the starting line, run 10 yards forward, and sharply cut back to the starting line. Continue this process, moving the next sprint to 20 yards from the starting line.
If possible, do this exercise outdoors on a football field with yard lines marked for you. Use your game pair of soccer shoes, as it will help you break them in and get used to cutting in cleats.
3. Squat Jumps
The squat jump is a true plyometric workout, and great for improving explosiveness as you move towards the ball. This jump focuses on a lot of the lower body muscles, while also incorporating the stomach and lower back muscles.
Bend your knees and move your body down into the full squat position. In one fluid motion, jump as high as you can, bringing your knees to your chest simultaneously. This isn’t a casual jump - you want to explode your body as high as you can.
Be careful to control your body as you land, as there is a risk that you’ll turn an ankle if you aren’t careful. Repeat this as many times as you can, building up your intervals and sets.
4. Agility Ladder
Our first drill that requires any extra equipment, an agility ladder is pretty basic, cheap, and easy to find.
Start by just working your way through the agility ladder as fast as you can. Once you perfect this, introduce more difficult techniques, such as high knees, double foot tap between each rung, and lateral hopping through each rung gap.
5. Cone Shuffle
Grab 4-6 cones and set up a mini-shuffle course for you to perform. You’ll want to create a diamond pattern. One cone at the top and bottom of the diamond will serve as the starting and ending point. The other 2-4 cones will go in the middle of the diamond.
Space the start and finish cones around 10 yards apart, with the middle cones several yards from each other. Sprint from the starting point to the first cone on the left, weaving your body throughout the middle cones. After you reach the cone on the far right, sprint to the finish cone.
Once you’ve mastered this, spread the cones further apart or increase the number of intervals and sets.
6. HIIT Interval Stairs
While you could jump on a stairmaster at your local gym, this is just as easy to perform at your local high school stadium bleachers. The key here is to sprint up and down the stairs in intervals, which changes the pace on your body.
Interval training is a wonderful way to increase stamina and agility in a very short period of time. Alternate your speed, while also alternating how far up the stairs you travel.
With these drills, you’ll be well on your way to improving your agility. The best part is that each of these drills requires minimal workout gear (if any) and not a lot of time.
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