What is Lateral Speed/Agility? - It’s the ability to change direction with minimum loss of speed and is part of a comprehensive soccer-specific speed development program.
The 3 Skills of Lateral Speed/Agility
- Ball Possession Skills - Better ball control, faster the change in direction.
- Reaction/Anticipation Skills - The faster the player anticipates and decides where to go the faster the change in direction.
- Athletic Skills - The quicker the player can decelerate, control the body and re-accelerate the faster the direction change.
Exercises to Improve Agility and Quickness
For effective soccer play, athletes must be able to keep their bodies under control in small spaces and during change of direction. It is important to start with proper biomechanics of footwork and multi-directional movement. Once players have mastered the mechanics, they should work to build foot speed, acceleration and coordination. Finally, add linear, lateral and change of direction movements.
Start with Dynamic Warm-up/Flexibility Routine
#1 - Lateral Two-Legged Hop
Stand with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly flexed. Initiating the movement from the ankles only, hop as high as possible laterally. As soon as feet contact the ground repeat the action as quickly as possible moving back over the line in the other direction. Movement is side to side. Emphasis is on quick lateral movements while minimizing the time the feet spend on the ground.
#2 - Lateral One-Legged Hop
Stand next to the line on the right foot and hop laterally over the line landing on the left foot. Upon contact with the ground, return as quickly as possible to the starting point, landing on the opposite foot. Do this with both legs.
#3 - Scissors
Start with one leg in front of the line and the other leg in back. Hop and then switch legs.
#4 - Hop Sequence
- Grasp soccer ball with both hand and hold at chest.
- Perform double leg hops in eight different directions. Vary the distance by use of cones or other objects as markers.
- For advanced level players, do the sequence with ball extended and/or single-legged.
- Repeat for required number of reps.
- Soccer Speed Development System Based on the Movements of the Game
- Using Free Weights as a Tool to Improve Lateral Movement Performance in Soccer
- 10 Exercises to Improve Agility and Quickness
Performance Conditioning Soccer’s mission is to improve soccer performance through the conditioning process. This process includes providing soccer-specific educational information for the 14 areas of conditioning including: developing power, strength/stability, speed, agility, endurance, proper nutrition and recovery methods, testing, injury prevention and more. Find out more at http://performancecondition.com/soccer.