Before we get into our agility training programs, we first set a strong foundation in balance, stability, body control, rhythmic movement. We use ladders and cones as markers and targets, so our players can focus on foot placement and positioning. We then begin to move through our foundational footwork progressions (like the cone crossover progression shown in the video below):
In the video above, the player is focused forward, keeping her feet pointed ahead, and using the inside leg as a primary decelerator. Her focus is on getting into positions, from which she can accelerate out of quickly. This is one of the primary patterns in our phase one agility program, and this entire program can be downloaded by clicking HERE.
4 Soccer Specific Agility Categories:
- Bent Runs
- Sharp Angle Runs
- Checking Runs
- Hesitation or Set Up Runs
The first two categories (bent runs and sharp angle runs) utilize more of a “change of pace” strategy, where the player will go from a shuffle, jog or run to a full speed sprint in an attempt to separate from a defender or run onto a played ball. These runs utilize a quick cut (less than 90 degree), change of direction maneuver, and usually require a hard plant on the outside leg as the player quickly accelerates into space.
The third agility category is what we call checking runs, where the player will check back to the ball or cut back with another player who is trying to cut into space space. These runs are a little more complex, and require the player to make more than a 90 degree change of direction. These runs require the player to use the inside leg as the primary decelerator. This is a technique that we cover in detail in our Agility Foundations program. The video below shows two players performing a 180 degree change of direction. The first player demonstrates great body control and use of the inside leg, while the second demonstrates poor foot placement and body position, resulting in a weight shift to the outside leg and a slow, risky change of direction.
The fourth category of agility patterns, hesitation or set up runs, blend the previous three categories together. The player will change pace and direction as they bend runs, check away and then accelerate into space with quick bursts.One of the many patterns we use for this category is our diamond (shown at the right). In this pattern, we have created a progression that integrates almost every type of change of direction into a single series.
Adding a Situational Emphasis:
We can modify the drill by changing where the player focuses their attention, which can significantly impact the drill. This also can lead us into a “situational” emphasis with some reactive skill work as well. In the video below, you will see an example of what I am referring to:
Over the last few years we have put programs together in an online format to share our programs and progressions. If you are interested in looking deeper into our agility, speed, or integrated speed/skill programs, we suggest you check out the programs below…