In many of my recent posts, I have focused on injuries and recovery.  I am going to start a new series today on improving speed and agility.  You see, even though I consult with hundreds of clients every year on injuries, I also train many athletes for peak performance who are well athletes seeking to maximize performance and stay injury free.

While I will be the first to admit I may not be the most innovavtive coach out there when it comes to unique drills, I do get great results and have very few of my athletes get hurt.  I believe this stems from a sound understanding of biomechanics/kinesiology as well as understanding how force application affects the body.  It is the application of exercise that makes a great coach “great.”

Getting it “just right” takes an exact formula and this is not a universal formula for athletes, even if they play the same sport.  With that said, they are fundamantal issues I see athletes tend to struggle with or need improvement on such as:

  • Poor running form
  • Inefficient planting and cutting
  • Inability to decelerate quickly and efficiently
  • Difficulty maintaining a low center of gravity
  • Difficulty changing direction quickly

To address these issues, we use certain drills in our speed camps, clinics and athlete performance training.  I thought I would spend the next few blog posts showing you some of the very drills we use to improve performance, reduce or eliminate the weaknesses mentioned above and of course dramatically reduce injury risk.

Repetition is key as we want to fine tune the motor patterns and give the athletes the proper patterns to feed forward in practices and games.  This can only really be accomplished through proper instruction, proper selection of drills and reinforcement of proper form with lots of repetition.

In today’s video, I included a 2 cone figure 8 drill that we used in a 2 hour lacrosse clinic.  It is a realtively simple drill, yet so many athletes struggle to decelerate efficiently, round the cone tightly and then move toward the next cone.  Making large turns reduces speed and often decides who wins on the field.  Learning to stay low and turn properly improves quickness and reduces knee injury risk.

This drill is usually done for 15-30 seconds (2-3 sets) to work on conditioning but allow for enough time to get the repetitions desired.  Start with the cones no more than 10 yards apart and as the skill level and form dictates, move the cones closer to increase the difficulty of the drill.  Be aware that the demand is higher with a shorter distance and you should judge distance based on the athlete’s ability to do the drill properly.

Stay tuned as I will share more videos of drills I use in the coming days and weeks to make you or the athletes you train more effectively.