Getting a Faster First Step
Depending on the position that you play, quick feet can make or break your success as a football player.
Running backs and wide receivers particularly benefit from quick feet as they allow them to quickly shift their weight to avoid tackles and sprint past defensive backs to the open field. At the same time, it is just as important for cornerbacks and safeties to have quick feet as it is their job to keep up with the running backs and receivers who are trying their hardest to juke or run past them.
With this in mind, it is easy to see why one of the most common training goals for football players in these positions is to develop quick feet. Below are a few drills and exercises that will help you do just this.
Focus on Calf Muscles and Ankles
Your calf muscles and ankles take the brunt of the force caused by explosive starts and sudden stops.
The entire weight of your body is thrust onto these areas as you make quick directional changes, planting your feet and applying force in a different direction. Because of this, it is important to focus on improving the strength in these areas with the following exercises:
- Calf Muscles – Stand while holding a weighted bar or dumbbells on your back. Stand up on your toes by pushing the weight of your body (plus the additional weights) upwards with your calves. Three sets of 15-20 reps is a great start for most.
- Ankles – Sit in a chair. Keep your feet on the ground and lift your toes up while keeping your heels firmly planted. It is a simple exercise but it builds the muscles around your shins. These muscles are essential to quick feet.
Develop Your Nervous System
Having quick feet is all about getting your body used to such sudden movements. By developing your nervous system, you improve the relationship between your brain and the fast twitch muscle fibers responsible for moving your body.
The drill below ensures that your body will respond to your brain’s commands when it comes to game day:
- Machine Guns – Start in a standing athletic position. Your feet should be shoulder width apart, your knees slightly bent, your butt back, your ankles bent, your shoulders forward, and your head up. Rapidly alternate your feet in a similar manner as running in place. Don’t lift them higher than 3 inches off the ground. Perform for 20 seconds straight, 3 to 5 times per training session.
Utilize the Quick Foot Ladder
If there is a single tool that can help you develop quicker feet, then it is the quick foot ladder.
This exercise tool was created with foot quickness and body coordination in mind. Athletes can perform literally dozens of different drills on such a ladder that improve foot quickness.
Select five different drills and perform them 3 times each during each of your workouts. The variety will help your feet become accustomed to many different movements and become faster and more agile in each of them.
Quick Feet Drills for Football Players
Though they will be most beneficial for wide receivers, running backs, and defensive backs, football players of every position should occasionally use quick feet drills.
No matter what your job is on the field, improving your foot quickness can help you perform it better. The three drills/exercises looked at above will help you increase your speed and foot quickness so you can blow by defenders for a big catch or shut down receivers looking for the pass.
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