3 Things Every Striker Must Do to Stay a Step Ahead
Every top striker is not only fast but is also very quick. The footwork of a striker can be the difference maker in being that one extra step ahead or behind.
Here are three easy and very effective speed drill you can do to maintain that extra step.
1. Up Hill Speed Ladder
We’ve all done the speed ladder drills many times. But, doing them up hill magnifies the intensity and really focuses on the strength and stamina in your legs and really gets the footwork on point when your muscles start to tire so quickly.
A great one to start with is to shuffle side to side. Step in and out of the main square going right foot and then left foot into the center square and then outside and then the opposite left foot goes in and so on. Continue going up and down through the ladder touching each foot into and outside the square.
Variations: Hopscotch switching which foot you land on in each box. Double foot jumps, jump up two boxes and back one. Try single foot jumps focusing on balance and core strength.
2. The three cone drill
Also known as the “L” drill, it is used in a lot of football combines, it’s also very effective for the striker position and improving your agility, speed and footwork. Take three cones and put one five yards from the next. Then take the third cone and put it five yards to the side of that cone, creating an “L” shape with the cones.
Start by exploding off the line and touching the line five yards out, explode back to the start and touch that line. Explode back to the line then cut sharply to the right, while leaning into your turn at the first cone. You then, with fast footwork, turn sharply by going around the third cone, making sure to lean into your turn and exploding off of your plant foot taking you back to and around the second cone, turning sharply around it and sprinting past the finish line.
This is great for a striker due to the explosive nature at which you accelerate and have to change directions all while paying attention to your footwork.
Variations: Add the third cone going the opposite direction so you work every angle, also have a friend, teammate or coach at each cone and as you approach, have them play you a ball forcing you to take different touches. One touch back, a header back, and third, turn with the ball and sprint with that ball over the finish line.
3. 5-10-5 shuttle run
Three cones are set up five yards apart. The striker starts straddling the line of the middle cone.
Sprint laterally (you can start going right or left) touch the line on that cone, reverse direction and sprint ten yards touching that line, change directions back to the original direction and spring the last five yards back to the middle.
Variations: Have a friend, teammate, or coach play you a ball at each change of direction. Playing one touch, two touch, or headers back. As this one becomes easier you can stretch out the cones to be a greater distance you’re sprinting.
Always try to include the ball as much as possible to create that muscle memory of reacting at full speed with a ball. All three of these drills are short and simple, but will drastically improve your speed and quickness as a striker.
An effective striker might only get a few yards to make the difference in the big game.