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 Deceleration 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 the drill 10m behind a full ladder that has been laid out in a straight line.
- Sprint to the ladder as quickly as possible using good technique.
- As you approach the ladder the athlete should shorten the stride length and start to sit back more onto their heels while still maintaining momentum forward, at the same time the athlete should also be 'sitting' their hips down so that their center of gravity is closer to the ground.
- Once the athlete is close enough to the ladder, they should fire their feet quickly and perform One Foot, where one foot touch's in each square as the athlete proceed's down the ladder.
Coaching Cues –
- Shorten steps
- Drop your hips
- Slow down on your heels prior to entering the next ladder.
- 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.
Athletic Focus –It is imperative that a large focus be placed on the transition between acceleration and ladder within this exercise. Athletes should already have a sufficient level of neural connection to complete the Ladder One Foot component well. It is important that proper deceleration mechanics including lowering the centre of gravity, slowing down through the heels and shortening the steps are emphasised. This exercise will assist athletes on the field when transitioning from sprinting or making a lead to receiving a pass from a teammate
Stewart Briggs, BHMS, M.Ed., C.S.C.S, PSP
Managing Director at Acceleration
For more Information: www.AccelerationFootball.com