The ability to pick up and put down the feet in an efficient and controlled manner (footspeed) is a highly important component within a soccer player’s field conditioning. Simple drills allow a soccer player to develop the skills to be able to adapt to a specific situation on the field to give and receive the ball on the run or evade pressing defenders. One such footspeed drill is ½ Ladder – One Foot.
Purpose – This improves the neural component associated with picking the feet up and putting them down quickly (footspeed) as well as improving the athlete’s awareness of staying up on the balls of the feet during running and allowing the athlete to practise their acceleration and deceleration mechanics to replicate a breakdown scenario in play
- Start behind the ladder.
- Place one foot in each rung of the ladder as you progress forward through the ladder, as quickly as you can.
- At the end of the first half of the ladder sprint to the second half of the ladder and repeat in the second half of the ladder using the same foot pattern.
- This drill is performed twice, alternating which foot you lead with when you start.
Coaching Cues –
- Bend your knees to keep centre of gravity low.
- Hands kept above hip level with elbows at 90 degrees.
- Fire feet as fast as possible.
- Only lower body moves, upper body remains relaxed.
- Stay high on the balls of the feet.
- Initial steps short and powerful to lead into full stride.
- Powerful arm action with hands cheek to cheek.
- Stay low and gradually come out of it.
- Lean forward.
- Knee to hip level and pull heel to butt.
- Limit any dropping or rotating around the hips.
- Torso strong, chest up.
- Shorten steps
- Drop your hips
- Slow down on your heels prior to entering the next ladder.
Athletic Focus –It is imperative that a large focus be placed on the transitions within this exercise from ladder to acceleration and then from that acceleration back into the ladder. Athletes should already have a sufficient level of neural connection to complete the Ladder One Foot component well. It is important that proper acceleration and deceleration mechanics are emphasised. This exercise will assist athletes on the field when transitioning from sprinting to receiving a pass from a teammate or alternately from giving a pass into accelerating into space.
Stewart Briggs, BHMS, M.Ed., C.S.C.S, PSP
Managing Director at Acceleration
For more Information: www.AccelerationFootball.com