Speed Is King
There really is no team sport where being fast is not critical in one’s success as an athlete. Whether you are chasing the ball or the puck, quickness is really crucial to excelling in a team sport.
Through the course of a typical game, no matter the sport, players must react quicker than their opponent to win the one-on-one battle that ultimately separates wins from losses. Improving one’s first step quickness is one of the most trainable speed skills that there are.
As such, those who are willing to put in the time and effort will have a giant leg up over their not-so-hard working competitors. First step quickness drills are able to help with:
Building up one or more of these skills can make you quicker almost overnight, making you more effective in your sport and more confident in your abilities. When developing first step quickness, it’s important to understand that it is more than just a physical skill.
Instead, through these drills, it is a way to see and anticipate sudden changes during a game which will allow you to react faster and make you appear quicker than you actually are. Here are a few first step quickness drills that will help improve your overall quickness.
Box Drop With Sprint
This drill requires the use of a plyo box and yourself. To start, one should assume an athletic stance on top of the plyo box. Next, you should step forward off the box and land softly on the ground with knees slightly bent. After that one should immediately decelerate from landing and explode into a nice sprint. It’s important for the athlete to keep his/her body under control upon landing. It is recommended to perform 6 sets and try to engage in this exercise at least 2-3 times per week in order to achieve maximum results.
This exercise starts by assuming a push-up position with one’s body in a straight line. Next one must place one foot under his/her hips and press the ball of the foot into the ground. As weight is loaded on the front leg, one must explode out into a sprint for a specified distance. One should keep hips below his/her shoulders when going into the sprint and should maintain a forward lean throughout, as this will make the sprint a little easier to achieve. The recommended distance for the exercise is 20 yards and 3 sets performed 2-3 times per week should be carried out in order to see optimal results.
Non-Countermovement Box Jump
With this quickness drill, one should start by assuming an athletic quarter-squat position with arms at his/her side. Without lowering further into a squat, one must drive through ground to explode up onto a box. It’s important not to lower into a squat or use a backward arm movement to jump. Next, the athlete should land softly on the box with knees bent. Once completed, one can step down slowly and return to the start position. It is recommended to complete 3 sets and 6 reps of this drill.
No matter the sport that one is training for, having impeccable focus is really what is needed to succeed in both these first step quickness drills as well in the sport at hand. Focus is really a habit, and with any habit it can be improved through repetition. Practicing with focus leads to playing with focus. As such, athletes should look for small ways to pick up as much as he/she can from a drill in practice. As one runs these drills, the athlete should dial in mentally as to what is going on around them. The faster the pace of your sport, the more important focus and anticipation will be to an athlete’s success.
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