5 Easy Ways That Soccer Players Can Improve Their Agility
A player’s agility can help separate them from the average player. It can be measured in many ways, foot speed, balance, strength, lateral movements and so on.
Here are a few tips to help you stay a step ahead:
1. Grab six cones and place them two feet apart in a straight line. Starting at the first cone sprint to the third cone then backpedal to the second cone. Continue in sequence sprinting to the fourth cone, backpedal to the third, sprint to the fifth, back to fourth, sprint to sixth, back to fifth and sprint out past the sixth.
Variations: Do it backward and side to side for variety.
2. An agility ladder is a great way to work on footwork speed and your bodies balance. 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.
3. Using your corner flags (cones works just as well) set them up in a slalom course. Players run through them and emphasize the plant foot which is the outside foot and exploding the opposite direction towards the next flag. Start slow to emphasize the plant and balance on one foot and explosion to opposite foot and change of direction. Speed up continually as form continues to improve.
Variations: You can add a soccer ball once they have gotten this down. This will simulate a game realistic environment.
4. Back on the agility ladder again, a great way to work on their game recognition and reaction agility would be to add a soccer ball as they go through number two’s foot sequences. A coach, parent or friend can stand out to the right or left (or both if you have multiple people) and every other foot sequence the ball is passed to the player on the ladder and the ball must be played back.
Variations, one touch, two touch, different surfaces of the foot to be used.
5. A crowd favorite; the obstacle course. Depending on the age and overall fitness level of your player can depend on how much you incorporate. Hurdles with various jumps; burpees for core and body strength; flags/cones ten yards apart and just offset so sprinting forward around one and back pedal around another and so on. Six to ten works great.
This focuses on short game like sprints with forward and backward change of directions. Forty yard sprint with cones or agility ladder in the middle. Thus creating the player to sprint, slow down for footwork and sprint again.
Like anything you do in life, consistency and repetition will create muscle memory and with that comes more speed.