Soccer Skill Drills: Footwork and Agility
Some soccer skill drills focus on one distinct area at a time, but others, like this one, allow soccer players to tackle multiple challenges and multiple areas of development in a few simple moves. To build soccer speed and agility while staying in control of the ball and handling defensive traffic, soccer players need to elevate their game in several areas including strength, speed, coordination, situational awareness, and technique as they send the ball into a drive or pass. In the video below, the Kbands trainers demonstrate a set of soccer skill drills that help soccer players improve in each of these areas of focus. Soccer coaches can work these drills into a regular weekly training plan and watch their teams gain skill and confidence on the field.
Soccer Speed and Agility: Setting Up the Drill
This set of soccer skill drills will require an speed ladder, four agility training cones, a ball, and a set of Kbands resistance bands for each soccer player. Cones, ladders, and Kbands are all available for purchase under the products tab towards the top of the website.
To set up the drill, soccer coaches can lay the agility ladder flat on the ground with the starting cone placed about four yards from one end. At the other end of the ladder, the three remaining cones can be placed in a line perpendicular with the ladder length and about two yards apart from each other. Before running through the drill, soccer players should attach the Kbands straps securely around the upper legs and then clip the resistance bands to the straps. Players should be sure to clip the long band to the rings in the front and attach the short band in the back.
Soccer Speed and Agility: Moving Through the Drill
Soccer players will begin the drill at the starting cone, and when the signal is given, they will move down the agility ladder in a shuffling motion. The player will begin on the left side of the ladder and will place the right foot between the rungs. Then the left foot will come down inside the rungs and the right foot will rise up and move outside the ladder on the right side. The move can be repeated from the right side, with the feet coming down inside the next rung of the ladder, and then the next, and so on. The faster players can move down the ladder while staying in control of foot placement, the more they’ll get out of this part of the agility drill.
As the soccer player reaches the end of the agility ladder, he’ll move at a run toward the three training cones and weave in and out of them in a figure eight pattern. Soccer players should think of the cones as a line of defenders, and should use this part of the drill to concentrate on maneuvering through traffic.
After weaving in and out through the training cones, the soccer player will move back to the ladder and will shuffle back down through each of the rungs toward the starting cone. As they move down the ladder, players should be working their hips and legs in a lateral motion against the resistance of the Kbands. The tension of the bands is designed to target the glutes, hip flexors, and lateral leg muscles, so the greater the tension soccer players feel in the legs, the more benefit they’ll gain in terms of soccer speed and agility.
After reaching the end of the agility ladder, the soccer player will approach the starting cone, turn past it, and head for the ball. Players should imagine they’ve been set up for a shot and should approach the ball for a controlled drive in a chosen direction. Technique will be very important at this stage in the drill. Soccer players should concentrate on keeping the plant foot (the non-kicking foot) pointed in the direction of the target. Then they should bring the kicking foot forward and make contact between the ball and the laces on the top of the foot. The more squarely the ball connects with the laces, the more control the soccer player will have over the force and direction of the kick.
With short rest periods between each repetition, soccer players can feel free to repeat the drill multiple times with different footwork variations and shuffles down the agility ladder. No matter which form of motion and footwork soccer players choose, they should follow through with accuracy and speed, and they should stay focused on control, coordination, and generating tension in the muscles responsible for lateral movement.
After a several rounds of the drill from the starting cone, down the ladder, through the line of cones representing defender traffic, back down the ladder, and toward the ball, players can stop to remove the resistance bands. Each band can be disconnected from one leg and secured to the other so it stays out of the way as players move through the drill again. A temporary feeling of lightness will happen in the legs for a few minutes after the bands have been unclipped, and soccer players can take advantage of this feeling to generate quickness as they complete the drill a few more times.
After each player has completed several rounds of the speed and agility drill both resisted and unresisted, the configuration of the ladder and cones can be reversed to give soccer players a chance to favor the other side of the body.
Soccer Speed and Agility: Final Notes
For more soccer speed and agility drills like these, soccer players and coaches can feel free to visit the training tab towards the top of the website. The site includes several training videos and sample drills as well as technique tips and sport-specific guidance for both beginner and advanced soccer players. The resources on the site are designed to help players at any level increase their scoring potential, and the targeted training benefits of the Kbands can help. Learn more about the principals behind the bands and how these simple tools can have a powerful impact on soccer training and performance.