Reaction time, Agility and 1v1s

By Jebreel Bubtana

This is a great exercise to work on your players reactions, endurance, agility and quickness, which are very important components for soccer players in order to get to a loose ball first.

Set up and directions:

Set up your field as shown below in figure 1. Split your players into two teams (you can set multiple fields up like this so that there is not much waiting time between goes) and they start behind the goal that they are defending. Mini goals or pugg goals are great for this exercise. To their right is a line of discs with a gate in front and to their left is a ladder with a gate in front. The coach will start with the balls in the middle of the area to one side.

Article 25 - Reaction time, Agility and 1v1s - 2

The next part you can do a number of ways but I will give you an example. When the coach shouts number ‘1’, the players must shuffle through the discs and enter the 1v1 area as quickly as possible to compete for the ball that the coach has passed into the middle. The aim is then to score a goal in the opposing team’s goal. When the coach shouts number ‘2’, the same thing happens but the players must go to their left and perform quick feet through the agility ladder before entering the 1v1 area and trying to score (figure 2).

Article 25 - Reaction time, Agility and 1v1s - 1


After each player has had a number of goes, it is now time to test them out a little. Now number ‘1’ will be for the ladders and number ‘2’ will be for the discs. This will get the players thinking again having got used to what the numbers had previously stood for. What you are looking for here is which one of your players can process the information quickly and react to get to the loose ball first.


You can get your players to perform different types of agility through the discs and agility ladder. If you do not have an agility ladder, you can use two sets of discs instead that are different colors. For example, use red discs to the right and blue discs to the left, which stand for a different agility.

By keeping the groups small in this exercise you will be working on your players’ endurance, reaction times and their agility and quickness constantly. They are all important aspects in soccer and by working on them with your players will help to improve their performances on the field. Focus is another important aspect for this exercise in order to be able to react quickly and do the correct agility before entering the 1v1. This must be emphasized to your players at all times as it is that kind of focus that will enable them to get to the ball first ahead of an opponent.

Jebreel Bubtana
Director of Marketing at BRASA – Brazilian Soccer Academy
NSCAA Advanced National Diploma
NSCAA Director of Coaching Diploma
Follow me on Twitter @jib1989

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