If your athletes are changing directions greater than 90 degrees at full speed, in almost every situation, they should use their inside leg (athletes left leg in the pictures below) as their PRIMARY decelerator. This is not to say that the outside leg has no role in the deceleration. The outside leg needs to finish the deceleration and begin the push into the acceleration phase. When an athlete tries to use the outside leg as the primary decelerator the result is usually poor knee position and shoulder or postural sway (girl in pink, series of 4 pictures), which causes the center of mass to shift towards the outside leg, away from the direction the athlete is trying to run. This causes delays in the transition, or the ability to get out of a directional change quickly, thus making the athlete appear to get “stuck” in the cut.
This also increases the risk of injury. Planting hard on the outside leg utilizes a very risky strategy in regards to controlling momentum during deceleration. In this strategy their point of ground contact, is so far away from the center of mass, and is responsible for both deceleration into, and acceleration out of the directional change. For an athlete to do this they would have to be very strong in the hips and core, and as we are fully aware, this is rarely the case with young players. As you can see in the pictures of good technique (series of 4 pictures below), the primary decelerator is directly under the center of mass (good use of inside leg).
Training solutions for this strategy need to be performed in high repetitions and at varying speeds. We use many of these drills in warm ups, agility sessions and conditioning drills. Download one of our online training programs to get an inside look at how we develop soccer agility: