A sharp change of direction and lightning quick reaction speed will make all the difference on the pitch, says Performance specialist, Nick Grantham:
"Team sports are characterised by a high number of brief, high-intensity movements. More than 150 of these happen per game, lasting from 2-6 seconds. These movements can often be game changers.
More after the break
During a match, individual players perform up to 700 changes of direction so it’s no surprise that agility is one of the most important indicators of talent.
It’s high on the list of qualities coaches look for when recruiting players. A football player’s success on the pitch relies on their ability to react to a stimulus and change direction so that they can gain and maintain possession. The good thing is, this can be trained...
The arrowhead agility drill works on a player’s agility, acceleration and deceleration. It challenges them to complete a range of different cuts at different angles, directions and distances.
If you dedicate some of your training time to improving your ability to change direction effectively, you’ll have a huge advantage over your opponents."
TURBOCHARGED CHANGE OF DIRECTION
Mark out a start/finish gate with two cones. Place another cone 10m in front of this gate. Then position cones 5m either side of this middle cone. Finish up with one more cone, 5m in front of the middle one.
The player accelerates out of the start gate and sprints to the middle cone. They turn around this and run towards one of the side cones. After cutting around it they burst towards the far cone and then back through the finishing gate.
You can progress this drill by giving the player a ball to dribble around the arrowhead. The coach can call out which cones he wants the player to use to make them pay extra attention to sudden changes of situation.
Want some equipment to go with these drills? Lucozade Sport's Kit-Out Project can help. Visit www.lucozadesport.com/kitoutproject to find out more.